Running is one of the best training exercises you can do on a consistent basis. Nevertheless, running is also hard and demanding. In fact most people can’t sustain it for long. Therefore, building your running stamina is mandatory if you want to get the most out of your training program.
Good stamina plays a crucial role in your well-being and ability to enjoy your training. In order to reap any benefit from running or any other exercise program, you must be able to sustain that activity for at least 20 minutes. Low stamina can make your workout sessions dull and difficult.
Therefore, if you’re looking to increase your stamina while minimizing the risk of injury, fatigue and burnout, here are 4 tips to help you:
Set Realistic Goals
Setting a realistic goal for your stamina improvement is mandatory. For instance, if you can currently run 6 miles but it takes considerable effort, try setting your goal to run for 4 or 5 miles instead. And as the training progresses forward, step it up a notch. Soon enough, you’ll see yourself running that 6-mile distance without much problem.
Just do not rush this, nor be overexcited to aim for high mileage. This is especially true if you’re a newcomer to the sport of running. Pushing too much too soon will only leave you injured and disappointed. Building stamina requires energy and most importantly time. Therefore, make sure you’re improving and building your endurance gradually.
Run More Miles
To be able to run more, you need to just run more miles. That may sound as a cliché but it’s true. For instance, if your weekly mileage is stuck at 10 miles, then expect to hit a plateau very soon. In fact, your stamina may actually decline. Many runners make the mistake of sticking to the same running distance. This is a recipe for boredom and decreased performance.
Instead, aim at gradually increasing your weekly running mileage. Make sure your weekly mileage increase doesn’t exceed 10-15 percent. For instance, if your last week mileage was 10 miles, aim for 11 or 11.5 running mileage for the next week, and so on.
Another big mistake made by most runners is sticking to the same pace throughout the training session. Doing so won’t help you build stamina. The best way to boost your stamina is to opt for interval training. Also know as high intensity interval training or HIIT, this type of training involves performing intervals of high intensity (building endurance and burning calories) and low intensity (recovery and rest) running intervals. The length and duration of each running interval will depend on your current fitness level and goals.
The high intensity intervals should be performed at 80-95% of your maximum heart rate, and the recovery interval should be at approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. For instance, a typical interval running session may look like this:
- Warm up for 10 minutes with an easy jog.
- Run at an interval pace (80 to 95% of your max) for one minute.
- Slow it down and walk to allow for recovery.
- Repeat the pattern 4-5 times.
- Cool down at the end of the workout and stretch.
As you get fitter and stronger, you can lengthen your running interval and take less recovery. Just remember to stay within your fitness level.
Keep a Running Diary
Keeping track of your stamina progress is critical. The key to success is knowing where you’ve been and how far you’ve come to achieving what you’re after. Therefore, using a running diary can be a big help. A running diary allows you to monitor your improvement and help you pinpoint what factors have a constructive impact on your running program. Not only that, it can also help to keep you motivated and thus be more persistent with your running training.
Things To Include In Your Running Journal:
- The type of run on schedule (easy run, long run, interval run, etc).
- Running terrain or route.
- Weather conditions.
- Distance in miles (or kilometers).
- Your morning heart rate (are you progressing or suffering from fatigue).
- How you felt both during the run and afterwards.
- Your goals and your progress toward achieving them.
Monitoring the above running details can help you see the big picture so you can know where you’re heading with your training. This can only help you increase your performance and boost your fitness level.