Putting your joggers on and going for a run develops a quick appreciation of how challenging running can be.
So, novice runners, are you asking yourself how on earth you’ll ever attain running the end-year marathon? There is no shortcut to attaining your goals, but with persistence and some great tips, you can boost your stamina and enjoy your new hobby to the fullest.
Improve your stamina for running by starting slow and being consistent. Try to increase your weekly mileage, alter rest times and intervals, include a long run, and introduce strength and HIIT training. Working on your posture and running technique will also help boost your stamina.
Running faster and farther are common training goals for runners of all fitness levels – it requires muscle and willpower.
Want to know, “How do I improve my stamina for running?“
Let’s find out!
- How Do I Increase My Stamina For Running?
- What Is Stamina Concerning Running?
- Best Ways To Improve Stamina For Running Longer & Harder
- 1. Start Slow
- 2. Increase Your Weekly Mileage
- 3. Consistency Is Key
- 4. Introduce Strength Training
- 5. Incorporate HIIT Training
- 6. Alter Rest Times & Intervals
- 7. Work On Your Posture & Technique
- 8. Include A Long Run
- Foods That Can Improve Stamina
- Foods To Avoid When Improving Your Running Stamina
- Common Signs Of Overtraining
- 1. Soreness and muscle strains
- 2. Overuse injuries
- 3. Fatigue
- 4. Irritability & Agitation
- 5. Plateau & Decline In Performance
- When To Take A Break From Running
- How To Prevent Overtraining
How Do I Increase My Stamina For Running?
Get miles on those legs!
The best way to increase your stamina for running is to practice. Sadly, there aren’t any shortcuts to help you achieve your results. Instead, it takes a whole lot of patience, dedication, and consistency.
Then, no two runners are the same. Some may rapidly progress, whereas others may struggle for a few months before seeing results.
Here’s a quick summary of the best ways to increase your stamina for running:
- Start slow
- Increase your weekly mileage
- Consistency is key
- Introduce strength training (yes, weight lifting can improve speed!)
- Introduce HIIT training 2 to 3 times per week
- Alter rest times and intervals
- Work on your posture and technique
- Include a long run
We’ll take a closer look at each…
What Is Stamina Concerning Running?
Before you can start increasing your stamina, you’ll need a clear understanding of what it entails and its relation to running.
So, in simple terms, stamina is the ability to perform an activity (running) without getting tired.
In addition, stamina is the body’s ability to sustain effort for an extended period. Stamina requires you to sustain a repeated movement for an extended period.
We can all relate to that dreaded feeling of wanting to quit half a mile in – that, my friend, is from a lack of stamina and endurance. So, this is why building our stamina and endurance are such valuable assets for running.
The terms stamina and endurance are often used interchangeably. Both terms refer to how long one can sustain physical activity. However, if we’re going to be precise, they aren’t exactly interchangeable.
- Stamina focuses on how long you can perform an activity at maximum capacity, taking the physical and mental burden into consideration. For example, sport requiring bursts of high-intensity with short rest intervals, and then repeat!
- Endurance implies how long you can perform an activity in total, referring to your cardiovascular and muscle efficiency (how well your heart, lungs, and muscles distribute blood and oxygen around your body to sustain activity). The goal isn’t to max out an effort but to be physically fit and capable of persistent activity. For example, ultra marathon running.
So, unlike endurance, stamina isn’t a component related to physical fitness. Instead, it’s the mere result of becoming fitter.
Runners with built-up stamina and endurance can run for longer distances without getting fatigued. This is because they have conditioned their bodies and minds to push past the discomfort, stress, and the voices in their head telling them to quit.
As a result, the trained runners can keep running.
Best Ways To Improve Stamina For Running Longer & Harder
Here are the top tips on improving your stamina for running.
1. Start Slow
It’s normal to get ahead of yourself and want to bump up your running speed and distance to where you wish you were and not where you are. However, slow down and make small incremental gains, especially if you’re new to running.
Use our training pace calculator and set small manageable goals.
Overdoing it is sure to sabotage your consistency. Instead, start with a manageable distance and gradually work towards your end goal.
2. Increase Your Weekly Mileage
As a beginner, your overall goal will be to gradually increase mileage as you become stronger and more fit.
We recommend following the well-known 10% rule: Bump up your weekly mileage by a maximum of 10%. Otherwise, you place yourself a risk of injury and burnout.
For example, if you run 10 miles over a week, bump it up to 11 miles for the following week.
Eventually, you might find yourself running 5 miles every day – but it won’t happen overnight. Or at least, it shouldn’t… if you want to avoid injury.
3. Consistency Is Key
You’ll need to be consistent with training to increase your running stamina.
Consistent training will increase your aerobic capacity and strengthen your muscles. In turn, you’ll be able to run faster and farther as time passes.
Aim to go for a run 3 to 4 times per week for at least 30 minutes. However, if you’re a beginner, you can start off twice per week and gradually increase your distance and training sessions.
When you start adding extra runs to your week, they should be easy and slow – speed follows endurance!
4. Introduce Strength Training
Strength training should be incorporated into your running routine irrespective of whether you’re a new or experienced runner.
Adding strength training exercises to your running schedule can help to improve your running economy. Plus, stronger muscles and joints reduce the likelihood of getting injured.
Aim for full-body workouts that target your major muscle groups 2 to 3 times per week.
Try incorporating strength exercises like:
- Overhead press
- Bent over rows
5. Incorporate HIIT Training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an excellent way to boost stamina and endurance.
HIIT workouts improve VO2 max (an endurance marker) more than endurance training.
Interval training strengthens your heart and lungs while helping your muscles better handle lactic acid.
We recommend introducing sprint interval training. It is high-intensity training that helps boost your stamina and speed. The interval sprints are performed at 100% of your effort with longer resting intervals.
6. Alter Rest Times & Intervals
increase your running stamina by altering your rest times and intervals instead of only increasing the distance you run each week.
Aim to limit your recovery time between running intervals. In addition, increase the intensity of the intervals. The combination is sure to build your stamina.
7. Work On Your Posture & Technique
Working on your running economy will help build your stamina and make you an efficient runner. Running allows you to use less energy and run farther without feeling too tired.
Follow these simple tips to improve your running posture:
- Stand tall
- Avoid slouching
- Keep midsection stable
- Keep shoulder blades stable
- Look ahead
- Slightly lean forward
The proper running posture will improve your running and help prevent injury.
8. Include A Long Run
Including a long run once per week will challenge and allow you to gradually increase your stamina.
The run session doesn’t have to be hours long but ensure you go running for a bit longer than average.
For example, if you usually run 30 minutes per day during the week, plan to run 50 minutes on one of those days.
The idea is to get miles under your belt at a lower intensity. This method of accumulating mileage is backed by popular training plans like MAF (low heart rate) and 80/20 running.
Workout Methods & Dietary Hacks To Improve Stamina
Another great way to increase your running stamina is by incorporating other exercises and physical activities. As an adult, you should aim to get at least 2½ hours of exercise every week.
You can break the exercises down into short bouts or 30 minutes five days per week.
Consider introducing some of the following activities to your regime to increase your stamina:
- Jumping Jacks
- “Smart Rope” Jumping
- Stair climbs
- Weight lifting
- HIIT workouts
Foods That Can Improve Stamina
Foods also help boost our energy and repair our muscles, which can boost stamina. Try introducing the following foods to improve your stamina:
Bananas are excellent snacks before a workout. They provide high amounts of energy and nutrients like potassium, vitamin B6, carbohydrates, fiber, healthy fats, and protein.
Brown rice undergoes less processing, allowing it to retain more nutrients. In addition, brown rice is a complex carbohydrate that your body takes longer to break down. This ensures that you have available energy throughout the day, helping improve your stamina.
Brown rice also offers protein, minerals, fiber, and carbohydrates.
Coffee can help increase your stamina. A cup of black joe’s high caffeine content can boost your energy.
Caffeine will also stimulate your brain and body, making it easier to focus. The best part is that a single cup of black coffee contains only two calories.
Chicken & Eggs
Routinely eating eggs offers numerous health benefits.
Eggs contain leucine, an amino acid that enhances your energy and increases fat breakdown. In addition, the carbs and protein will help you to increase your running stamina.
Chicken provides an abundant source of protein. It is also packed with runner-friendly nutrients and vitamins.
Fish is a fantastic food to help increase your stamina.
Fish is jam-packed with healthy omega fatty acids that promote a speedy recovery by reducing inflammation and muscle soreness, meaning more speed! The fish oil will also improve your heart and joint health and aid in weight loss.
Foods To Avoid When Improving Your Running Stamina
Like certain foods promote stamina, other foods can have a counterproductive reaction. Here are the top foods to avoid when trying to improve your stamina for running:
- Fizzy drinks
- Fried foods
- Sugary foods
See our comprehensive guide to the best food for increasing stamina.
Risks Of Overtraining
We know you’re amped to hit those goals, but “too much too soon” will lead to overtraining, burnout, or injuries. Particularly if you are out of shape or an older runner.
Overtraining occurs when you overtrain without allowing sufficient recovery time between sessions. Pushing yourself too hard can harm your health, lower your fitness level, increase the risk of injuries, and negatively affect your performance.
Avoid overtraining by taking it slow, gradually increasing your performance, and training within your limits. Most importantly, listen to your body and allow enough recovery time between training sessions.
Common Signs Of Overtraining
Here’s how to identify if you’ve been pushing it a little too hard:
1. Soreness and muscle strains
Overworking your muscles during running can cause muscle strains and soreness. Overstressing your body also leads to the risk of injuries and microtears.
2. Overuse injuries
Running is a high-impact sport that puts stress on your body.
Running too regularly may cause overuse injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, joint strains, and soft tissue injuries.
If you suffer from one of these injuries mentioned above, take a break from running (and other training) and allow your body to heal.
It’s pretty common to feel tired after running, but fatigue sets in when you repeatedly do not allow your body to fully recover after training. The same applies if you don’t supply your body with fuel like healthy carbs, protein, and fats.
You may feel drained, especially during or immediately after workouts.
4. Irritability & Agitation
Overtraining may affect your stress hormone levels, causing mood swings like depression, irritability, agitation, and mental fog.
You might even experience restlessness, lack of concentration, or enthusiasm from overtraining.
5. Plateau & Decline In Performance
Overtraining can cause you to reach a plateau or even decrease performance.
You may experience decreased strength, agility, and endurance, making it more challenging to reach your goals.
When To Take A Break From Running
Take a break from running and forms of training if you have injuries that need time to heal. In addition, refrain from working out if you’re experiencing burnout.
Give your body enough time to make a full recovery.
You can include safe stretches and mediation as light forms of exercise while recovering.
How To Prevent Overtraining
Prevent overtraining by scheduling regular rest days after demanding workouts.
You can also schedule low-impact but active rest days by including activities like walking, yoga, or swimming. These low-impact exercises will relieve muscle tightness while recovering from your strenuous workout.
Also, ensure that you consume sufficient calories to sustain your training. We recommend eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of slow-releasing carbs, protein, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and veggies.
Our Verdict On Boosting Stamina
Improving your stamina is a slow and steady task that requires patience and consistency.
Always aim to make small incremental gains in your running routine to boost stamina. And even if you feel amped to bump up your distance and speed, take it slow to avoid injury and burnout.
Before you know it, you will also experience the joy of a runner’s high!