To have good stamina is one of the vital parts of running and you can’t have one without the other. However, building your running endurance isn’t an easy process – it takes time, sweat (lots of it) and perseverance to be a bit better with each passing day. There are no quick solutions and miracle workers in running (and in fitness in general), it all depends on you and how well you’re able to listen to yourself and generate an exercise regime that works for you. There are many ways to increase your running endurance and we’ll talk about some that have worked for people from all over the world and can help you in running faster toward your goals.
We can’t even begin to accentuate how important it is to have patience with yourself as you start to build your running routine. If you’re not in much of a shape or you simply weren’t that keen on running earlier in your life, it will take time for your body to get accustomed to new circumstances. It can be a quite a shock to start moving a lot so abruptly, and chances are that your body will put up a fight, so you can expect fussiness in the parts you weren’t even sure existed.
The key to building your practice and endurance from day one is to take it step by step, quite literally. Though it’s tempting, don’t push yourself over the limit, at least not in the first couple of months. Do about 15 minutes of warm up, then speed up into a light jog with burst of sprinting for 30 seconds. If this sounds ridiculously easy for you, give it a try. You’ll be surprised how long 30s is when you’re giving it your all. After that, go back to your jog or fast walk for as long as you feel you need it (just be sure to have the exact time set) and repeat the process as many times as you can. In time, sprints will become longer, recovery periods shorter and your stamina will grow with your running practice.
One of the first things to keep in mind when it comes to working on your stamina is that it doesn’t all exclusively come from the time spent on the track. There are forms of exercises and workouts you should definitely consider that will make you stronger and better in getting to your running goals. Now there are many approaches, but we’ll start with the type of cross-training that is most similar to the process of running and that is either cycling or pool running. Both of these exercises give you similar perks to those you would get from running, only the risk of injuries is much smaller. Pool running is a fun alternative to have in your workout routine, especially because you can mix it with swimming. Cycling is a whole body strengthener excellent for your legs and building lower-body strength, not to mention it’s so much fun.
Maybe you’re running to leave all those excess pounds behind and kudos to you. However, even if your main goal isn’t to lose weight and get toned for the summer, but running itself, you should still take close care about how you eat. Even if you’re a naturally skinny person that can eat whatever and never gain a pound, nurturing healthier food choices will also back you up in working on your running endurance. This means that you should do your best to eat veggies, lean protein and fruit on a daily basis. Dairy, eggs and nuts will only further enrich the variety of your healthy meals and one piece of vital information – don’t demonize carbs! Though complex carbs may be the thing that plagues your diet, simple good-for-you carbs are what fuels your body. You better believe that you will need a lot of strength to improve on your running and stamina, and eating well is at the foundation of these efforts, not to mention that it is important for your overall state of wellbeing.
While running is the king in the cardio realm, don’t be foolish and think that you can pull it all off without some serious strength workouts. We know, strength exercises are usually the ones that sour your mood because they’re the trickiest and most difficult, but when you’re running stamina depends on it, you bet you will do them and regularly. It is often suggested that cardio and strength workouts should be done together for maximum effect and experiences have shown that there is truth in this claim. This combo will do a number on your muscles and you will feel it the next day, but it will bring you the world of benefits. If you’re not sure how to incorporate the two, think about putting together some rope jumps, sit-ups, squats and then maybe add some pull-ups to spice things up. You’re probably cringing just by reading this, but you can be sure that results will be visible and measurable if you choose to combine strength and cardio workouts into one.
Your sleeping patterns seriously affect every aspect of your life, your endurance included. If you think that you’ll achieve much on the track after being constantly underslept, you will quickly realize just how wrong you are. Not only will you get tired faster, but you will also have to deal with much longer recovery periods and you can be sure that your stamina will not benefit from the circumstances. Sleeping well and sleeping enough is paramount not just when you’re working on your running endurance, but for your general health as well. If you run without allowing your body to replenish and energize overnight, then your performance will be lacking at best, plus after you come back from your running session, you won’t be able to do much more than sit around and mope about the overwhelming soreness that washes over you. Yes, we paint quite a picture, but only to help you understand that sleeping enough is what enables you to be better and show up for yourself on the track.
Your whole running experience depends on your capacities and goals, as well as on how dedicated you are to make it work. Every individual works differently and what’s feels good for other people might not be a good fit for you. Experiment and explore ways to improve your running by building stamina and you can be sure that your efforts will not be in vain. – Vanessa Davis
Vanessa Davis is a 32-year-old fitness enthusiast, mother of two and content writer at www.diet.st. She's originally from Long Island, New York, and when she isn't cooking up some new health and fitness article, she enjoys doing yoga and figuring out new, delicious organic recipes for herself and her kids.
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