How to Improve Your Running Endurance

Endurance running can test both body and mind. And whether you’re an elite runner who dominates half and full marathons or an Average Joe who simply wants to see better results, there is always room for improvement. 

But before we even get started, improving your endurance in running comes in different ways. There is no generic approach to improving your endurance. 

Gradual Adaptation

One of the most effective strategies to build your endurance is just by being consistent at running. Gradual adaptation is a simple, yet hard-to-follow rule, especially for a lot of beginners. 

Just imagine trying to run a half marathon. Running 20 kilometers right off the bat can be a struggle. However, those who can gradually increase the distance they run gradually will eventually have the ability to run for 20 kilometers. 

As a rule of thumb, gradually increase the distance you run every week. Start adding 1 mile every week to make your runs challenging. The next thing you know, you can run longer and faster than what you used to.  But of course, don’t be too hard on yourself if there are days when you can’t go further than your last best performance. 

Incorporate resistance training 

A lot of runners are guilty of not doing any physical activity other than running. Unfortunately, those who plan on improving their endurance are missing a lot without serious strength conditioning. 

For those who think that lifting weights and doing other resistance training exercises feel like such a waste of time, there’s a science to disprove this misconception. In one study, researchers discovered that individuals who did strength conditioning 2 to 3 times per week for 6 weeks, significantly improved on their endurance running performance. Aside from endurance, those who did strength training also did well on their sprints.

Strength training can help improve your running economy. This means that you get to use your oxygen and energy more efficiently. In a study, those who did strength training improved their running economy by 2% to 8%. When tested on actual runners, 2% to 5% improvement in running economy can help shave a minute or two for 10K races. It may not sound much, but it could mean a huge difference for those who are serious about beating their own time. 

However, you will need to lift 60% to 80% of your one-rep max for three to six sets of 5-15 reps. Also, avoid training to failure. Among suggested exercises included squats, deadlifts, and step-ups. 

Aside from improving your endurance, strength training can also help avoid costly injuries. It can give you the buffer that you need to support familiar movements by strengthening your muscles. 

If you’ll notice the suggested exercises, these are movements focused on developing the hips and the glutes. These are some of the most overworked muscle groups for those who are looking to run long distances.  

Minimize your rest times

Let’s say that you don’t have the luxury of increasing your miles every week. Another aspect of training that you can change is your rest time. Shorten your rest times while increasing the intensity of the workout. This can help build stamina and your lungs. 

Try running uphill instead of just running on a flat road. If you don’t have access to steep roads, running on stairs will also do. And also, you can limit your rest times from 30 seconds to just 1 minute. 

Monitor your heart rate

Building your heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently is a must. Most runners 20 to 45 years old want to train between 100 to 160 beats per minute. However, this will still depend on many factors including your fitness level. 

It is equally important to know if your heart rate is going too high already. To compute your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. It means that if you’re 20 years old, your maximum heart rate will be 200. However, keep in mind that it’s just a guide. 

According to American Heart Association, beginners should aim towards 50% to 75% of their maximum heart rate. This means doing moderate-intensity exercises. 

Breathing Pattern

A lot of beginners typically feel tired after running short distances because they don’t know how to properly breathe. Having the right breathing pattern makes a huge difference in your ability to hit long distances. 

Beginners make the mistake of holding their breath, therefore, experiencing lactic acid to concentrate on their muscles making the legs feel like cramping. 

Proper Nutrition for Running 

Runners need to have proper nutrition. Before running, endurance athletes need to consume 8 to 10 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of their body. 

Aside from carbohydrates, it is equally important for runners to take enough protein throughout the day. This ensures that they develop their muscles and avoid catabolism. Also, protein is a good source of energy if the runner is on a caloric deficit. 

Final Thoughts

There are lots of people who find themselves stuck. Whether you’re still developing your cardio or you are on a plateau, these strategies can help give you great results. With these strategies, you can maximize your approach in training. Plus, you will notice running longer distances in no time. 

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