If you have only just started running, you’re probably not concerned with speed, or even distance. The number one objective for beginners is to extend the period of time that you can keep running before having to take a breather.
If you want to learn how to run for longer without stopping, it all boils down to endurance and stamina. We have to prime our bodies to keep those legs ticking over. Thankfully, the simple act of running regularly will have a dramatic effect on how long you can run without stopping. Improvements are noticeable in a matter of days and weeks.
How can we run for longer periods without succumbing to fatigue or the urge to stop?
Well… let’s take a look!
Below, we delve into the science of running and reveal proven strategies to help you extend your running sessions, conquer longer distances, and ultimately, redefine your personal limits. Whether you’re an aspiring marathoner or simply looking to enhance your morning jog, these tips will empower you to run farther and stronger, without stopping.
How To Run For Longer Without Stopping
Stamina is your body’s ability to sustain a physical effort over a long period.
Endurance is the ability to sustain this effort once your body is tired.
Increasing your stamina will keep you going for longer until the pain sets in. Increasing your endurance will give you a greater pain tolerance.
Increasing your stamina and endurance together allows you to run harder and longer before you get tired and keep going, even when your body is fatigued.
Let’s look at some of the active steps you can take to run for longer.
Cover The Basics
Getting started is not always easy, especially for runners who haven’t run before or for a long time.
The good thing about starting from the bottom is that we can grab a number of easy wins that will help us to extend those initial workouts. Here are some of the basics you can do to run longer:
Good Rest: You must get enough sleep, so your body can rest and recover from the increase in activity. Without good rest, you’ll feel tired before running, which doesn’t bode well for your performance. Aim to get a minimum of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Studies have found that getting less sleep results in decreased endurance.
Plenty of Fluids: Water enables you to regulate your temperature and reduces the risk of muscle fatigue and cramps. Keeping your body hydrated helps with your overall performance. Research has shown that hydrating properly assists in maintaining plasma volume, delays fatigue, and reduces injuries caused by sweat loss and dehydration.
Eat the Right Food: While you run, your body burns calories, and when there are no calories to burn, you will bonk. You need to eat food that is high in carbohydrates, like fruit and vegetables and whole-grain foods. Eating the right endurance foods increases muscle strength while providing essential minerals and vitamins for your body.
Find a Running Buddy: If you don’t feel like running alone, you can always invite a friend or family member. This will help to keep you motivated and have fun while running. A good pace for endurance running is one where you can have a conversation while running without feeling out of breath. What better way to do this than with a running buddy?
Rest and Recovery: You need to let your body rest for at least one day per week, so it can repair itself. Muscles repair best during recovery, which increases your strength and speed.
You must have a reason for running; otherwise, it’ll quickly become a short-term activity. If you start running, you’ll see better results if you are motivated to be in it for the long haul. There are so many upsides to running, but sometimes knowing that it’s good for you isn’t enough.
You need internal motivation, your WHY.
Ask yourself why you want to start running. What is the reason – do you have a weight goal, health goal, a race you want to run, or do you want to be able to keep up with your kids? Your heart and mind should be completely in it so you don’t get swayed by self-pity and a busy schedule.
Don’t aim too high; start with small goals you know you will be able to achieve, like daily targets you can reach. Living healthy and being fit is a good starting point; losing weight and centimeters can also be a good motivation.
Increase your goals in small increments to keep yourself motivated and make it interesting; take it one day at a time. You don’t need to be in too much of a hurry. You may stress yourself out if you fail to achieve your goals, so ensure they’re attainable.
Comfortable Running Gear
Nothing is as uncomfortable as a pair of running shoes that don’t fit well on your feet. They’ll start chafing your ankles or causing blisters as you run, and your feet will start hurting.
Your running shoes should be properly measured and fitted for your feet and running style, making it easy to keep running. You should replace your running shoes every 500 to 800 kilometers – even if they’re your favorites, running on them for longer than this could cause issues with your form and gait.
The rest of your outfit is just as important as your running shoes. Don’t wear clothing that’s too warm, even on cold days. You will warm up within a few minutes, and layers should be very easy to remove when that happens.
Avoid fabrics that absorb your sweat and cause your clothes to cling to your body, as this can result in chafing. Get yourself running clothes that are made from breathable materials that wick moisture away from the skin.
Running shorts and shirts made from these fabrics may be more expensive, but they’re a good investment in your comfort. Shop at stores where you can get expert advice to ensure you have the right gear.
The right gear will increase your comfort levels, enabling you to push on and run for longer.
Find a Good Route
A safe and comfortable route that doesn’t have too many obstacles ensures you won’t become overwhelmed. Find a route with a clear, smooth path. We advise running on grass or trails to avoid too much impact on the joints, but you’ll need to look out for roots and rocks. You should be able to see far ahead to avoid tripping hazards.
For beginners, finding a scenic route to keep your focus away from your body and fatigue level is especially important. Your route should also have as little traffic as possible. The last thing you want is to weave in and out of people along your route. This wastes energy and can be frustrating.
You could also find a running track at a nearby school or stadium if you run early in the morning or late at night. The surface of the track is non-slip, flat, and obstacle-free. But remember to vary your route every week or two to keep it interesting.
There are great running apps available for runners that will show them tested routes that are safe for beginners to use. These running apps, like Strava and MapMyRun, come with great features to make running fun, safe, and simple. If you want to increase the difficulty with elevation or terrain changes, you can also set that in the app.
The sky’s the limit.
Consistent Running Schedule
Time is most often the biggest hurdle to overcome when you decide it is time to start running. You need to set a schedule, and it should be consistent so you can get into a good routine.
If you have a problem finding time early in the morning, try to get up an hour earlier or run in the evenings instead. It’s far more beneficial for you to run fewer miles more days of the week than longer distances only two to three times. Every run you do builds your cardiovascular strength, so you don’t want to miss out.
Start out with 15 minutes every day for four days a week. After a couple of weeks, you’ll find you can run at the same pace without feeling tired as quickly and keep up the pace comfortably. This is when you should increase your running duration (more on that in a bit). Keep building until you can run for around 45 minutes without feeling like you need to be stretchered to your bed at the end of your run.
You can only build your endurance by running more often and allowing your body to adapt to running. Humans are designed to walk and run for long distances, but your body must get used to it first.
Consistency is the key to running longer without stopping.
Building your endurance is not a race; starting slow is the best way to acclimate. It’s vital that you heed this advice. It’s better to start at a slow, comfortable pace – this ensures you won’t burn out along the way. Remember, the goal is to run FAR, not FAST.
When building endurance, it’s best to work with the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale. This system allows you to run at a pace based on how you feel rather than a set time goal. For endurance-building runs, you should aim for an RPE of 6 to 7.
Take a look at the table below to see what this means:
|RPE||HR %||Talk Level||Maintain Pace Duration||Ideal Race|
|Very Easy||1 – 2||< 60||Normal||Indefinite||N/A – warm-up|
|Easy||3 – 4||60 – 70||3 – 6 word sentences||2 – 5+ hours||Ultramarathon, marathon|
|Hard||5 – 6||70 – 80||2 – 3 word bursts||30 minutes – 2 hours||10k – half marathon|
|Very Hard||7 – 8||80 – 90||1 – 2 words between gasps||8 – 30 minutes||5k or less|
|Maximum||9 – 10||90 – 100||Hard to say 1 word||5 minutes or less||1 mile|
A simple rule of thumb is that if you can’t say 2 to 3 words between breaths, you are running too fast. Slow it down and keep a comfortable pace.
Increase Your Running Time Gradually
While you are running at a slower pace, you will find that you can now run for longer periods, but don’t stop there. Run at the same pace for the same period for the first week, then increase the time by a few minutes the second week.
So, if you started out with 15-minute runs in the first week, push it up to 17 minutes the next week. After a few weeks, you should be much closer to 30 minutes.
At this point, your body will get used to your running pace, and you won’t tire as easily. You’ll also feel that you have more endurance to keep up the pace without stopping.
Weekly mileage increases are key to improving your running endurance and being more efficient. By running slower for longer, your legs will feel tired but manageable. By pushing through, you’re teaching your mind and body how to run for longer without tiring.
Start with a brisk walk for five to ten minutes to warm up before you start running. When you feel fatigued, you can also walk for a few minutes and then start running again. This allows you to keep covering distance while recovering.
It is important that you keep moving – it wires your brain and body to be okay with time on feet. After a few weeks, you’ll find you can run for longer before walking and overall.
When you plan a route, find one with things that distract you while running. This helps remove the focus from your tired legs and keeps your mind engaged.
You can increase the pace for short distances to give your run some variety, but only for a few minutes at a time. A varying pace can also help prevent running injuries. Remember to stay within an RPE of 6 to 7.
By varying your pace, you’ll improve your stamina and endurance while burning fat and using different muscles. As a beginner, stick to the basics and add variety as you gain experience and confidence.
Running hard or long isn’t easy, not for beginners, not for elites. Settling your mind into that knowledge allows you to relax and embrace the run.
Unfortunately, beginners tend to tense their upper body muscles the further they get into the run. This drains your energy, making you feel tired much faster.
When you start feeling tired, do a mental check and scan your body for tense muscles. You should look out for a clenched jaw or tensed-up shoulders that pull up to your ears. Focus on relaxing those muscles – roll your shoulders, shake out your arms, roll your neck, and take a few deep breaths. Open your mouth to unclench your jaws and focus on relaxing your cheeks and forehead. Keep your hands and arms loose and relaxed, and avoid clenching your fists.
Focus on your posture to ensure you are running tall and not bent over. Keep your spine in alignment, keep your chin away from your neck, and your shoulders back.
Running is a simple action your body naturally does, so don’t over-complicate it, just get out there and start running.
Focus on Your Breathing
Many elite and seasoned runners say that focusing on their breathing helps them keep up a good pace while oxygenating their muscles. Inhale every two to four paces, and exhale at the same rate.
So, when you are running, try focusing on your breathing and match it with your strides for an even pace. Your breathing shouldn’t be forced – if you are gasping for breaths, you’re running too fast.
Run For Longer With Gradual Improvements
When training your body to run longer without stopping, the ultimate goal is improving your aerobic endurance. That can only be achieved by gradually increasing your distance.
Running more easy-paced runs more often is of greater benefit, especially if you’re a beginner.
The principles we covered will help improve your endurance, economy, and efficiency over time.