As we talked about in a previous post, which you can find here, speed workouts are a crucial part to many runners training programs. Along with speed, many runners also want to increase their endurance as well.
Let’s first start off with what we mean exactly when we say endurance. According to ol’ reliable Wikipedia, which you can find more here, “Endurance (also called stamina, resilience, or durability) is the ability of an organism to exert itself and remain active for a long period of time, as well as its ability to resist, withstand, recover form, and have immunity to wounds or fatigue.”
According to this article from Active.com, when it comes to running there are two types of endurance you could be referring to. There are the runners who want to increase their endurance as in the ability to go farther, these are usually beginning runners. More experienced runners instead mean they are trying to improve their speed-endurance, the pace at which they can cover farther distances.
Sticking to the same training plan and same workout, covering the same miles in the same amount of time, is never going to build your endurance. One of the most recommended ways to build your endurance is following the gradual adaption principle; this involves slowly and steadily increasing mileage and speed. By doing it this way, instead of jumping full force into a program out of your level you will risk injury and burnout.
Greatist.com shares some of their tips on how to build your endurance and we thought we’d share a few of our favorites, but you can check them all out here:
HIIT It Up. We’ve stated in a previous post on how High Intensity Interval Training can help you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, which you can read more about here, but HIIT will also help improve endurance in conjunction with traditional training. Because you are going at a such an intense level, it is helping to build up your stamina of your cardiovascular system, your lungs and heart.
Be Sure To Rest Up. When training, especially when doing workouts such as the previously mentioned HIIT exercises, you are going extremely hard; whereas other exercises you may just be going at a moderate level but for long periods of time. Both types of exercises require your muscles to be fresh to be able to do this, meaning you have to rest up your muscles after these extreme workouts to be able to do it again. Feeling fresh will help you go the distance!
Add Some Strength. “When it comes to endurance training, variation is important.” When you strengthen your muscles, you are helping to improve your overall fitness which is going to help improve stamina and help with that final push across the finish line.
Fuel Up. Your body uses the food you eat for energy during exercise, especially glycogen, so complex carbs are going to be crucial in your nutrition plan. Your body will then turn to fatty acids when glycogen stores run out, as well as proteins, so you’ll want to be sure you are providing your body with the proper carbs and protein to fuel your toughest workouts. Greatist suggests consuming 30-60 grams of carbs every hour for extended cardio sessions. “Studies have also found a mix of carbs and protein can enhance endurance performances and reduce muscle damage – win!”
Drink Beet Juice! Yeah we thought this one sounded a little weird at first too, but apparently it’s all about science. “A recent study found nitrate-rich beets may help increase stamina up to 16 percent by reducing oxygen intake in athletes.” So drink up, yet in moderation as some beet juices can be high sugar, so try sticking to just one glass the night before along with that complex carb filled dinner!
Now not all of these tips may work for you, but at least a few of them should help you in building your endurance. Do what feels right and what works best for your body in helping you to build your endurance. Not all runners are going to use the same technique, the same program, or be go at the same speed. Do what works for your and work at your own level on your own time.