Exercising isn’t always easy, but it can be much more enjoyable if you find ways to make the activity less of a chore and more of a fun way to take care of your body and mind. If you’re an avid runner and want to increase your endurance, follow these 7 simple tips so you can run farther without stopping as often or needing to rest up afterward.
#1. Set a goal
As you train for a distance run, be sure to set a goal and then work backward to build up your endurance until the race. This will help you build stamina that will last you for the duration of the event.
As you build up your running endurance, start challenging yourself by adding an extra mile or two per week. This will help you build stamina and endurance. However, do not overdo it.
#2. Don’t push yourself too hard
Going out on a run that forces you to stop every few minutes to catch your breath isn’t helpful to your body or your endurance. Instead, make it a point to run at a pace that you can sustain, and then push a little harder each time you go out. That way you’re giving your body a workout and building up your endurance.
Activities that force you to stop and catch your breath are called anaerobic in fitness-speak. Running is an aerobic activity, and the goal is to run long enough to get your breathing in an aerobic zone.
Whereas anaerobic exercise (such as weight-lifting or sprinting) goes right to the threshold that causes you to stop, aerobic exercise (such as running) steadily builds up your training time until your body adapts and you no longer need to stop.
You can build endurance by running at an easy pace.
#3. Don’t avoid hills or inclines
If you run on a flat surface all the time, your glutes, hamstrings, and quads will become weak. Hill runs or incline runs make your body work harder, so they provide a challenge. Running uphill also works your glutes and quads. The muscles in your legs will become stronger to fight gravity and propel you forward.
While running, use inclines to your advantage. After your body adapts to hills and inclines, you will be able to increase your distance, speed and endurance. If you have a hill near your house, try running up and down it. This is a great way to get your heart rate up and get a good workout. You can also use a treadmill. If you have courage, you can even run up a flight of stairs.
#4. Add speed intervals
This is a great way to increase your endurance and get your heart rate up. Run at a steady pace for a few minutes, then add a few running intervals with a fast pace. If you are comfortable speeding up, run at a very fast pace. If your goal is to maintain a certain heart rate, try running at a pace that gets your heart rate just under the target heart rate. You’ll find that you can run slightly faster, but not much. You won’t be able to keep up the pace for very long.
Running intervals or sprinting is a great way to increase your endurance. Another great way is to run faster than you normally would. Try doing a tempo run. This is when you slow down a bit, a little faster than your easy pace and then speed up to a bit faster than your normal speed. This is a great way to get the heart rate up, improve speed and endurance, and get you ready for your next race.
When you are feeling really good and want to really push yourself, add a few strides. Strides are simply very fast, short sprints. They are designed to get your heart rate up and get you in your anaerobic state. Strides are only a small part of your overall workout, and they should not be considered the main part of your training.
Running intervals is a great way to mix it up and get a great workout.
#5. Get a great pair of running shoes
Before you run, make sure you’re wearing the right shoes. “In order to run farther distance, you want to invest in a good pair of running shoes,” says Christine Hart, Director of Education at Fit2Run. If you want to avoid blisters, sore feet, and knee problems, you need to find the right running shoes for you. The right pair of shoes will provide the support your feet need.
Running shoes can be expensive, but they can help you avoid injuries after a long run. If you run a lot in the same shoes, purchase a couple of pairs and rotate them so the friction points are not the same on both pairs. If you hit the pavement every day, don’t wear the same pair two days in a row.
#6. Set your expectations
Before you go for a run, make sure you’re realistic about what you’re hoping to accomplish. As you start increasing your endurance, don’t expect to run further than you ever have before on your first run. Rather, aim to run the same distance you’re used to.
You’ll likely feel tired and want to quit, but once you get past that feeling, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much further you can run. The same applies to speed, so don’t think you’re going to be able to run a full 8 kilometers faster than you ever have.
If your goal is to run a 10K, aim to hit that mark by increasing your distance run by 1km each time you go out. If you’re a runner who’s lost their endurance, start off slow and work your way back up!
As you build consistency and endurance, you can add more distance.
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#7. Add More Variety to Your Running Route
Even if you’re a seasoned runner, a little variety can definitely help you enjoy your running routine. Even if you’re a seasoned runner, a little variety can definitely help you enjoy your running routine. It might be worthwhile to add a new street or two to your normal run route, or start and end it differently.
Try a different route that is either faster or slower, shorter or longer, if your usual one is boring. During an extreme makeover, it may come in handy to psych yourself up by listening to music, singing songs, or talking to yourself.
If you change up your running routes, you’ll not only add more distance to your run, but you’ll also make it more interesting.
Enjoy the journey
Be present in the moment. Don’t think about what you have to do later that day or the week. Don’t think about what you’re going to eat after the run. Just enjoy the journey.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to developing the endurance you need for a successful marathon training program.
If you want to get better at running, join a running group or find a running partner that is faster than you. Either way, regularly train with a runner who can push you to get faster.
It’s also a good idea to run with someone slower than you at least once a week. This will help you learn how to run relaxed and loose instead of racing too soon and tightening up.