5 Strategies for Improving Running Endurance
Whether you’re just getting started with running or you’re a marathon enthusiast, improving endurance is likely on your to-do list. One of the unique things about aerobic exercises like running is that there’s always room for a challenge; there’s never an ultimate goal to reach. Running, no matter how long you’ve been doing it, always leaves space for improvement. Beginners may just be trying to make it around the block a few times while long-time runners are training for their next marathon. Whatever your situation, here are five strategies you can use to improve your running stamina.
Slow and Steady
Gradually build up your mileage. A good starting place is to add one mile to your runs each week. But also listen to your body and respond to what it needs. Depending on your current level, you may feel more comfortable adding a half mile each week or upping the ante by adding a mile each week instead. Go with the flow and give your body the challenge it can take without injury.
Build up your running stamina by focusing on your effort rather than the end-goal. Avoid over-training by cutting back your effort to run at 80 percent of your maximum effort, which increases your endurance and allows you to run longer.
Switch Up Your Training
Not everyone has the time to fit in a long run every single day. If you’re pressed for time, adding some variety to your training schedule is a good way to make the most out of each workout. For example, if you’re running three times a week, make one a speed workout, the other a long run and the last a tempo run.
Add Strength Training
One of the most common mistakes runners face when trying to improve their endurance is only focusing on aerobic exercise. Building muscle — especially leg muscle — is also really important to increasing running stamina. Your quads, glutes and calves help to propel you forward as you run. They also absorb the shock of the impact as your feet hit the ground, relieving the stress on your joints and minimizing your likelihood of injury.
Running intervals helps in a unique way in that it improves lung capacity in a way that long, slow runs won’t do. By running faster and harder for shorter periods of time, you can increase your lung’s capacity for air, which will allow you to make it farther on those long endurance runs.
The general idea is to challenge yourself. You don’t need to (and shouldn’t) go crazy by signing yourself up for a 10K when you’re still trying to make it a mile. But slow, small changes in the way you run will gradually make a big difference in the length of your runs and the speed at which you run them. Pick one of these strategies and try them out for six months, tracking your mileage and speeds on an app like Strava or MapMyRun to monitor your progress.
Credit: Photo by Carlos Perez-Adsuar on PEXELS