Are you looking to lose weight? Do you want to increase your stamina? Do you get tired quickly while exercising? Do you want to give an exemplary performance at the treadmill every morning?
If the answer to the above questions is a YES, one of the best ways to fulfil them is to start running. If you didn’t know, a 30-minute jog or run could easily help you burn up to 200-500 calories. It is a great step towards losing weight and boosting your mood as well as endurance.
Running has a lot of benefits apart from just making you physically fit. It gives you a psychological boost and uplifts your mood, while also known to cure depression and mood swings. It is a great overall body workout, and if you can squeeze in some time for running any time of the day to burn quick calories. It also helps in reducing belly fat and improves heart health.
Running can make you younger, stronger, and healthier, but most of us do not have enough endurance or stamina to start running. However, it only comes with practice and patience. Therefore, we give you some useful insights on building running endurance and helping you take a step towards being fit.
How To Increase Stamina
Whether you are running on a treadmill or running outdoors, you need to sustain for a long time, and that is what Stamina is all about. Your ability to stand through times of effort while indulging in a physical activity defines your Stamina.
But, stamina does not come overnight; it has to be built with time. Here is how you can work on it:
Take Small Steps
You may feel all pumped up in the beginning when you start running. However, crossing the extra mile on day one can make you feel tired and lethargic on the next day. This can impact your overall performance for the week and, thereby make you inconsistent. How do you tackle this? Here is what you do:
If you have a pre-decided target of achieving a distance of 10 miles, start with 2-3 miles and increase gradually. If you are not habituated to running 10 miles a day, then doing so all of a sudden one day would cause nothing but body aches and muscle fatigue.
The whole idea of training and running is to build stamina and endurance and make you feel fresh, not tired. Track the distance you covered daily and keep a target of reaching 10 miles over two weeks. Increase a mile every few days once you feel comfortable running 2-3 miles. And someday, you’d be comfortable running 10 miles, which is the time to upskill your goal!!
To be good at anything, you require consistency and commitment. This applies anywhere in life, be it your life goals or running as well. The objective is to show up and start performing. Once you are doing it, you are under pressure to perform and completing the task at hand.
If you are a morning or evening runner, fix a time and stick to it. Do not skip a day in between because the more times you run, the more your intensity increases. The number of runs increases your intensity and stamina.
Include Strength Training
Resistance workouts and strength training is an excellent way to develop muscle. When you need to pound those legs on the floor, your muscles need to be strong and capable of bearing all the thumping and running.
Strength training improves muscle intensity and reduces your chances of muscle fatigue and injury. It tones your muscles which can help you develop better stamina and speed for running. Pick some weights or use your body weight to get your physique in shape.
Get in some Cross-Training
Cross Training is another quick way of increasing endurance and involves a lot of leg work. It makes your leg movements swift and active, which can be extremely beneficial for running. Not just your legs, it works on your entire body and increases your stamina ten folds. If you need some variety in your workouts, you can consider cross-training once or twice a week instead of running.
Change rest and time intervals
Alter your rest and run intervals. Run for a minute, walk for two minutes, again run for a minute, and walk for two minutes. Achieve a distance of 4-5 km repeating this exercise. The next time you try, run for 2 minutes, walk for 1 minute.
Fix a distance range that you want to cover, fix your running and rest/walking intervals, and gradually increase the running interval while reducing the walk interval. Over weeks, you’d be running more and resting less. This technique increases your stamina to stay put through running for longer while resting less.
There are several apps on the internet that help you. Our personal favourites are C25K and Adidas Running Sports, Fitness, and Run Tracker. These apps prompt you to run and rest at intervals while you can choose tracks, set your goals and limits, and follow instructions for ease while running. It’s like having a running coach at dispense.
How To Increase Speed
While building stamina and endurance, if you plan on running greater distances at shorter periods, you need to increase your speed. Speed is necessary, especially for athletes and marathon runners. Here is what you can do to improve your speed:
High-intensity interval training involves pushing your limits. Here, you can run at a very high speed for 2-3 minutes, followed by a few minutes of rest/jogging, and regain your energy levels back. Then again, start by running for 2-3 minutes at the same constant and high speed and resting.
You can gradually reduce the rest intervals to increase the difficulty levels, but the main aim is to improve your speed. Increase the pace in the running intervals and gradually maintain or reduce the rest intervals, week by week.
Speed to Distance Training
If you have decided that you would run 7 km every day, track the time you take to cover the distance. Gradually, increase your speed which should result in less time to cover the same distance. Marathoners follow the same policy. Fix a specific set of miles, and work on those miles to increase the pace. These are known as “mile repeats.” Practice more on the same distance until you cover it within a short span.
Increase the number of steps
For a particular distance that you run, count the number of steps that you take. Increase the steps gradually. You can also use a pedometer app to track the number of steps and increase them gradually.
Focus on form
For running at high speed, you will usually hear that athletes focus on a proper form while running. Proper form involves:
- maintaining your hand at a 90-degree angle
- keeping your shoulders relaxed
- not twisting your upper body and keeping it straight
- Lean your chest forward for propelling your body ahead
Put on lightweight gear while running. Lightweight gear includes running shoes that help your feet feel bouncy, light clothes that help you cut through the wind, and do not restrict your speed while running. You can also consider some sports innerwear that can support the body and keep it firm while running for women.
Eat light. Heavy eating would not only make you feel bulky, but it will also reduce your speed and at the same time make your stomach churn. You would feel bulky and uncomfortable, which is not recommended for your health.
A banana with black coffee makes for the best pre-workout meal, be it running or cross-training. Caffeine makes you alert, while banana gives you instant energy. Choose complex carbohydrates as they take time to digest, releasing energy in slow bouts and keeping you more active during your workouts or running.
You can also consult your physician, your dietician, for an enhanced meal plan that is ideal before running. Make sure to keep it light not to make you feel bulky and restricted on your speed.
It is challenging for beginners to get started with running. It can especially be confusing to decide how and where to get started from and a pathway to go about to set targets and determine a route on your running journey. The two most important things you would need as a beginner is:
- Running shoes/running gear
- The will power to run
While getting a pair of running shoes is relatively simple, managing to get the willpower and eventually staying consistent can be tough. Here is what you can do:
Pick a Race or Challenge:
Enrol yourself in a competition. Some people perform wonderfully under pressure. The pressure to compete will make you perform at running. It also boosts your confidence and increases sportsmanship spirit, which is very important in any sport, be it running or athletics.
You can also pay for a running course or to a coach. While you pay or enrol for something, the guilt of paying the price helps you show up and eventually perform. Once you make it a habit, you can indulge in it for free.
Maintain a natural stride
Maintain your form well while running. While we discussed the technique above, leg movement is equally important. Some prefer pushing the heels, while others prefer jumping and striding through their toes. Choose what fits you best and maintain the stride for a better performance each day.
Follow the run-walk method
As a beginner, continuous running can be strenuous. Therefore, you may want to break into walks in between to complete your run efficiently. Now, this does not mean walking or slow jogging when you are tired. Run walk method means, fixing intervals to walk and jog irrespective of being tired or not. If you run for a minute, walk for two minutes, repeat this throughout your run.
Here are a set of time intervals you can try:
- Beginner: 10-30 seconds of running & 1-2 minutes of walking for the entire run
- Intermediate: 1-5 minutes of running & 1-2 minutes of walking for the entire run
- Experienced: 6-8 minutes of running & 30 seconds – 1 minute of walking for the entire run
Make a Training Plan
Continuous running for beginners can be monotonous as well as strenuous. This is why you can make a training routine to increase your endurance for running. Consider running 2-3 times a week and 2-3 times of resistance or cross-training.
A training plan helps to build muscle endurance and reduces your chances of injury. It also helps in toning your muscles and increasing your stamina for running at a more tremendous pace eventually.
Running A Mile
Running a mile may sound easy. A mile is around 1600 meters. But when it is for a competition or a race, the pressure builds up. That is when you need to work on your stamina. Here are two things we ask you to focus on to improve your endurance for running that mile:
Choose a certain number of miles for a week. E.g., you choose X no. of miles per week, then practice running those many numbers of miles always for a long time over the week. Practice the same distance for the week and then increase the number of miles gradually. The more and the longer you run, the better you get at achieving that mile.
Running economy is defined as the amount of energy needed at a constant speed. It means the amount of oxygen you consume while running. Runners and athletes usually have a lesser oxygen demand, thereby having a better running economy. As a beginner, your running economy may be poor because the energy demand is higher.
One way to improve this is to run faster and slower in intervals. To achieve this, start with jogging, running, and brisk walking over the entire course of the run until you complete. This lets you spend less energy and save up on oxygen levels, making you feel less tired.
Boost Stamina on A Treadmill
The same methods used to run outdoors can be implied on a treadmill to boost stamina while running. However, here are a few tweaks that we suggest you can try for a better cardio session at the treadmill:
The surface of the belt and the treadmill’s motor has a very different pattern compared to the external environment where you run. Therefore, to adjust to the gait and pattern, you can change your technique accordingly. Fix your treadmill on an incline level of 1-2 to match it perfectly to ground-level outdoor running and not compromise on your form.
While you run on a treadmill, make sure the environment around you is not a furnace. It should be moderately air-conditioned to replace the outdoor wind environment. Running on a treadmill can be more tiresome amidst the four walls of a gym or your home if it is not adequately ventilated.
Keep yourself well hydrated between, before, and after your workouts. A treadmill run can make you sweat more as compared to an outdoor run. Therefore, to build stamina on a treadmill, you must keep yourself hydrated sufficiently before you climb the treadmill.
When To Speak To A Professional?
The best time to speak to a professional when it comes to being a pro at running is right at the beginning. A coach or professional can guide you about the various techniques and postures of running. They can also help you minimize the chances of injuries.
If you are trying to build stamina for the initial few months, you can always enrol with a coach for professional guidance. A coach or professional allows you to learn proper techniques right from the beginning of your running journey rather than running the wrong methods and seeking help for correction.
They can also make a training routine for you to make your running practice less boring by adding hurdles, running across different paths, and preparing for additional challenges. Having a coach or seeking help from a professional for running can be valuable in your fitness journey and to increase endurance.
Running is a great overall exercise and has several health benefits. However, it is not as easy as it looks and requires lots of practice and building endurance. Endurance in running makes you capable of covering larger distances in short time intervals.
To become a better runner, you need to focus on various aspects like stamina, speed, and consistency. You can also make your training routine not to make running monotonous and consult a fitness or running coach for better guidance and techniques.
Endurance running for beginners may not be easy. Similarly, running on the treadmill or running for a marathon is way different than running outdoors or going for a jog.
Our article above helps you prepare as a beginner while you can follow the steps to build your endurance for running at different stages and environments. Tell us how far you went and if we could help you in your journey through the comments section below.