Walking Lunges Challenge: Developing Strength For Runners

Walking Lunges Challenge: Developing Strength For Runners

In case just running, or just performing lunges aren’t enough for you, we’re here with a challenge. Put those two elements together and you get walking lunges. What the heck are those, you may ask?

Good question.

Walking lunges are a great workout for strengthening your entire lower body and core. These are the best type of lunge for runners because they’re a dynamic movement that’s an exaggerated form of running.

Below, we’ll walk you through walking lunges, how to do them, and how to incorporate them into a workout.

Walking Lunges Keep Training Simple

Sometimes the best thing distance runners can do for their training plan is to step away from all of the fancy equipment at the gym. It’s easy to feel like you have to do it ALL and then never actually start anything.

Instead, get back to the basics of one (maybe two!) movements to challenge your strength. Keep it simple and efficient and it’ll be a whole lot easier to include some strength work in your running and encourage proper form using your own bodyweight.

Walking lunges require no equipment, meaning you can do them at the trailhead or in your living room.

Do I have to strength train?

Now, if you’re wondering why you need to include strength training at all, then check out Coach Nate’s thorough 3-part series all about why runners should strength train. If you’re not ready to watch just yet, then let us summarize briefly for you here:

  • Strong runners don’t break down as often. Their muscles and joints do additional work beyond just running to bear the brunt of the impact associated with the miles, helping you run faster.
  • Increased coordination can help improve running form for more efficient movement.
  • Strength training can supplement the movement patterns of running. Instead of just moving forward, you’re also moving sideways, up and down, and perhaps even rotating.
  • Stronger muscles help reduce your risk of injury and can help promote weight loss.

Certainly, that list isn’t exclusive, but it helps us keep in mind that running doesn’t just require aerobic stamina. We need muscular strength right along with a robust set of lungs!

The Walking Lunges Challenge

Just to show you how easy it can be to integrate some strength work into your run training, we’ve set up a walking lunge challenge for you!

It’s quite simple (but not necessarily easy!).

You’re going to perform 5 minutes of lunging, alternating legs on each rep. Performing these lunges consecutively (without break) requires your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads to fire and STAY FIRED from start to finish.

Walking Lunge Workout

  • Very similar to your legs’ role in running, this strength exercise for runners helps exaggerate and pinpoint that muscular engagement necessary for running endurance.
  • Your balance and stability will also be challenged as you work to stay upright in the transition from one lunge to the next.
  • Just like when you’re running and feeling like you don’t have any more in the tank, the lunges will challenge your mental toughness to keep going even when you want to quit.

How to Do a Walking Lunge

What elements are combined in the lunge? We’re glad you asked. Here’s how to do a walking lunge. We’ll walk you through it step by step so you know exactly what muscles and movements you’ll be flowing through:

  • Starting from a tall, upright standing position, step out with your left leg to a lunge position.
  • Hips stay square, the left knee stays over the toe and the torso maintains its upright position.
  • From the bottom of the lunge, push through your front heel, squeeze your glutes and return to standing.
  • Repeat, stepping out with your right leg.

You won’t be moving forward since you’re stepping out, then back in, so you don’t need but a tiny bit of space to get this work done.

Alternate for 5 minutes.

How to do walking lunges
How to do lunges

Here’s The Catch!

For every break you take (a break counts as anything over 2 seconds) during the 5 minutes, you will perform 3 push-ups! So, instead of calmly standing there to rest and catch your breath, your “rest” will be active while you perform those 3 push-ups.

We told you it would be a challenge 🙂

After the push-ups are done, it’s right back to a standing position and doing your walking lunges until your 5 minutes are up.

The Push Up Break Down:

  • Start on hands and toes in the classic plank position.
  • Your feet stay together.
  • Hands are positioned directly below your shoulders.
  • Keep your hips parallel to the ground with the core engaged. Don’t let your hips sink down or pop up!
  • With your elbows tucked in by your sides, you’ll avoid compromising your shoulders as you lower down to the ground.
walking lunge workout

Need a modification?

  • Start in the same plank position on hands and toes
  • Lower down with the same stability mentioned above. Head, shoulders, and hips should all be in one line.
  • At the bottom of the push-up, bend your knees to touch the ground.
  • From there, isolate and push your chest up first, then press off your knees to bring the hips back up to a parallel plank position.
what are walking lunges

If you can get through this, you can learn how to hold onto your stamina, no matter what mile you’re on!

Use this walking lunge challenge as a benchmark for your progress! Good luck.


If you’re looking for more training, check out our 2-week (free!) Quick Start Guide. Whether you’re coming back from an injury, prepping for a race, or are just working on your fitness, we’ll walk you through 2 weeks of workouts. Your running, strength training, and mobility will all get some fresh new moves to show you how to improve your running.