Running is a great way to be healthy and in shape.
As we grow older and enter our 30’s, it may seem like an impossible task to maintain the stamina for activities such as running or even climbing a few stairs.
And we know that is sedentary lifestyle is to blame.
With our everyday schedules of studying and working there is hardly any time left for physical fitness. However, this is where we fail. While it is true that children can easily run, it is not a matter of age, it is a matter of strength and stamina.
But once you start running, you can slowly and steadily increase your stamina and get better with each run.
So basically we need to work a bit on the stamina in order to achieve good physical fitness to run.
Running is a wonderful cardio exercise. When you run, it works on each muscle group and tones your body thus helping in keeping fit.
It is especially important to build on your stamina if you want to run in a competition like a marathon or cross country races. One important key is to be consistent.
To keep practicing and building the running stamina.
Muscles and bones have short term memories. If you leave it loose it will stay loose and if you tighten it up it will remain tight. The more you work out, the more you will be rewarded with flexibility and fitness.
Ways to Increase Stamina for Running
In this article, let’s dive into a few ways to increase stamina for running.
Work On Building Endurance
Stamina is a combination of endurance and speed strength. Endurance is running slow for a long long time. The more we push the more the endurance increases. But it should never be done too hard too fast. Take it slow. Then slowly build up on that.
Here is a good article on how to boost endurance
To prevent injury and build long term endurance, increase your mileage by no more than 10 % each week.
Speed follows endurance. Keep going slow and steady and focus on covering the distance. Keep building on either the time or the distance and you are on the way to increase stamina.
Keep Your Posture Right
Another important thing is to correct your running posture. If you correct the posture, you will be able to run for a long distance without feeling tired.
Run tall and straight. Keep your chest up and your head straight. Keep your upper body ahead of your lower body.
Drive your knees up and forward. Keeping a 90-degree angle pump your arms forward. Land on the balls of your feet and push the ground behind you.
Include Tempo Runs
Include tempo runs in your running schedule. They are effective in removing lactic acid from the bloodstreams quickly.
This, in turn, will make you run longer before lactic acid and fatigue builds up and slows you down. These runs are usually for a shorter distance but at a higher pace than normal running pace.
It should last from 20-40 minutes and even up to 60 minutes for advanced runners.
Include Interval Training
Interval training is when you run fast at high intensity for a short duration followed by easy long runs.
It improves cardiovascular capacity. In turn, you will be able to run faster.
Be steady in interval training. Try doing only one or two high-intensity intervals during each workout at first.
One minute high intensity followed by 2-minute low intensity.
Slowly increase the pace.
You can repeat these intervals for 6-8 times for several weeks until you start feeling comfortable.
Then do a 50/50 burst – one-minute high intensity followed by one minute of rest.
Another good method of increasing stamina is by using pyramid interval training. It starts with short bursts of high intensity and then builds up so that the longest period of high intensity is in the middle of the workout. Then pull back to the shorter burst of intensity before completing cool down.
It builds strength and is a bit complex and requires you to make a schedule and have a timer.
More details on interval training to increase running stamina can be found here.
Include Fartleks in Your Training
For good stamina Include fartleks that vary the pace. It is a Swedish word that means speed play.
In this technique to running, instead of running at one speed for a long distance, we mix in some periods where fast running is required.
So a basic fartlek workout would be running for 5 kilometers but at the beginning of each 1 kilometer, one has to run hard for two minutes and then back off to the regular pace till the next kilometer comes. Then run hard and fast for two minutes and then back off to regular pace till the next kilometer.
Another workout is mixing up the intervals changing speed and time duration to help the body to adjust to different settings thereby increasing stamina.
Use Cross Training
Another way of improving stamina is to do cross training.
This includes weight training, cycling, walking, and swimming. These will ensure the overall development of muscles and strengthen all parts of the body.
This, in turn, will improve stamina.
Weight training improves running economy. According to a study by Ron Johnston, University of New Hampshire. It means you can run faster with the same oxygen uptake. It should be done at least three times per week. They can be in the form of free weights or machines
High powered bike intervals or spinning classes help building leg muscles without affecting joints. In high intensity, stand up and pedal at high tension for 30 seconds. Then sit, lower the tension and pedal at a slow pace for one minute. Keep alternating and slowly build on that. You can also do pyramid bike intervals.
Walking in between running builds endurance. For every 4 to 7 minutes of running, walk for a minute.
Swimming after a hard workout or as a workout is great for building upper body muscles.
Try Hill Sprints
To increase the strength of your legs and core and to increase your aerobic capacity, it is good to do some different exercises like hill sprint, plyometrics , etc.
Hill sprints include 30 seconds of sprint followed by 90 seconds of recovery. As you get comfortable, gradually increase sprint to 60 seconds.
Plyometrics include jumping, skipping rope, etc.
Focus on Breathing
Equally important is to focus on our breathing while running. Many a time people are out of breath or stop their breaths when doing high-intensity runs.
That is the wrong way.
Especially when one is really tired and wants to recover soon for another sprint or high-intensity workout. So during the recovery period between sprints take deep breathing inhalation through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
Never hold breath.
That will slow down your body. The faster one moves, the faster should be the breath. Try to concentrate on running and match your breathing with it.
Running for longer durations during weekends helps in building up stamina. While running for more distance, slow down your speed. It is better to slow down to 60% of our capacity for longer distances.
Also, keep changing your terrain. This will give your cardio workout a boost. Make a schedule for a week or a month and be consistent.
Use the Right Running Shoes
Having the right running shoes is very important.
Each one has some different natural alignments. If you’re not sure which running shoe is right for you, it is best to go to a running store and ask the shoe professional.
This way one can have a running shoe that will overcome any natural defects in foot alignment. This will ensure good training and in turn, build on stamina.
The kind of diet you eat is vital to performance. According to asker jeukendrup, numerous studies show that high carbohydrate intake allows one to train harder, reduces symptoms of overtraining and improves endurance performance.
According to him, a runner should consume carbohydrates before, during and after a race. It will contribute to muscle preservation, strengthening and give good fuel during running.
Good recovery between sessions can only be achieved by good diet, stretching and adequate sleep.
Eat nuts, seeds, vegetables, fish, eggs and also complex carbs like brown rice, potatoes and avoid refined and fried foods and packaged food and drinks. Make fresh fruit juices instead.
Adequate Warm Up Before Running
10 minutes warm up and stretching all muscles while cooling down is equally helpful in building up stamina. It gives good muscle performance and maintains the heart rate.
Keep yourself hydrated to increase stamina.
Poor hydration compromises numerous systems in the body. Without having good water, our body will either slow down or stop prematurely.
Drink throughout the day on the workout days and if workouts are more than 30 minutes, drink during workouts.
Run with Others
Research suggests that being in the presence of others make us tolerate higher levels of discomfort thus increasing stamina.
It also motivates people to try harder. When you have someone to run with, you’re more likely to stick to the routine and this will help you build running stamina over time.
But in case you can’t find a company, you can also try listening to music or your favorite podcast. It can be a great source of motivation and helps build up stamina by making us forget about the leg pain.
Mentally preparing oneself before the run and set up a realistic schedule will help us increase stamina and also gather metrics.
Try to beat whatever you have achieved. As you improve speed, time and duration, raise your baseline. Keep giving yourself a good motivational talk.
Following the above points, you will be able to increase your stamina and will run like a professional in no time. Wishing you all the best in your endeavors towards fitness!
In case you prefer watching a video, here is a good video I found on Youtube (note this is not made by me)
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