Sometimes it’s not enough to just cross the finish line, especially if you’ve ran a race or two, and are looking to improve your running endurance, and thus your run time. Take a look and implement these five tips to increasing your running endurance.
1. Routine is the Enemy
The key to improving any element of your running, whether it be increasing your endurance or race day speed, is to challenge yourself with new goals, new courses and terrain, new strategies, and finding new opportunities for improvement. Without getting too technical, increasing your endurance really means improving how quickly your body supplies your muscles with oxygen; the quicker the better and slower you will fatigue as you run. Routine is the enemy and you’ll want to set new expectations and discover new training programs depending on your goal. For endurance-specific improvements, mix up your training by incorporating strength training, cardio workouts and hill training exercises.
2. Speed it Up
Similar to the techniques used for quickening your running speed, there are a few different types of speed workouts for runners to choose from in order to increase running endurance, starting with interval training. Intervals are short bursts of speed with a break in between, usually done by running the same distance repeatedly. Most runners incorporate intervals by doing ‘pyramids’ — shorter sprints, then longer sprints, then back to shorter ones — adding distance then working back down to the original length, and resting between each sprinting session. Similar to interval training is varied intervals which are running the sprints (intervals) faster and faster then working back down to your original starting speed, being sure to rest between each interval.
3. Change Up the Terrain
Another technique that can increase your running endurance is trail running. By challenging yourself with new ground and varying terrain, you can greatly improve your stamina and endurance. As we spoke to in our increasing your speed article [enter link], with plenty to choose from in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you can quickly increase your endurance come race day by changing up your runs with hills, unpaved paths and whatever the trail throws your way. Don’t know where to start? Check out our favorite 10 trails in DFW for trail running [enter link].
4. Run More Often
While it may seem all too simple, increasing the frequency of your runs will naturally strengthen your muscles and increase your level of stamina. Start slow by following the 10 percent rule of never increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent of the previous week. Running is physical as much as it is mental, and by following the 10 percent rule, you’ll keep yourself from feeling mentally overwhelmed by doing too much too soon and it will also help you to prevent physical injury.
5. Work in Some Cardio
Lastly, cardiovascular exercises like jump-roping, biking, and dancing will also improve your endurance and stamina by increasing the efficiency in which your body supplies muscles with oxygen. Overtime, your body’s endurance and stamina will increase as the rate in which you fatigue decreases. Try jumping on the stairmaster while you’re at the gym for a high-intensity workout to really get your blood-pumping.
Turn up the intensity even more by mentally treating the stairmaster more like a treadmill rather than a moving set of stairs to keep your heart-rate up, target your glutes and thighs and improve your lung capacity. If you want to take things slow, that’s okay too. Low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS) can also deliver great results. Trying climbing a few flights of stairs after your workout to really push yourself. No matter your pace, take strong steps, and since you’ll be tired with muscles fatigued, use the opportunity to really focus on your breathing.
This is just the start to increasing your running endurance, but combined with the techniques you can use to increase your running speed, you’re well on your way to crossing the finish line easier and faster than you did last time. And remember, above all and to see the best improvements, you want to stay healthy as you train. Eat well, sleep enough and push yourself to be better than you were yesterday. Good luck out there and we’ll see you come race day!