Want to boost stamina?
Run 2 miles everyday
Eat more veggies…
Don’t drink alcohol….
Well…all are perfectly sane advice (most of the time, no alcohol…really?)
The problem is they lack the details.
Like run 2 miles in how much time? What should I eat before that? After that?
Any precautions I need to take…and the list goes on…
It’s frustrating to not know the answers…
So, I picked up 17 tips to improve running endurance that you can implement today and provided the exact steps.
How To improve your running endurance today?
Here are 17 simple ways, you can implement today to improve your running endurance.
Table of Contents
- 1. Use a guitarist’s technique to improve your running economy today
- 2. Run 10% more today using mind games
- 3. Build Core Strength to share the load
- 4. Add weight training to improve your running performance
- 5. Reduce your total body weight today by losing non-functional weight
- 6. Set a schedule to build discipline
- 7. Load up on carbs and turn your body into a fat burning machine
- 8. Build stamina through breathing techniques
- 9. Run On An Incline for more stamina
- 10. Take a long run to push your stamina to the edge
- 11. Warm Up sufficiently before your run for a better performance
- 12. Run today’s tempo run for 10 mins more
- 13. Land Softly to save energy and reduce risk of injury
- 14. Today run 5 strides slower at the beginning and 5 strides faster at the end
- 15. Run non-stop till your playlist stops
- 16. Do a high-powered bike or elliptical interval for instant stamina boost
- 17. Run a Yasso 800 today to take your stamina to the next level
#1. Use a guitarist’s technique to improve your running economy today
Improving running economy will make your body more efficient in burning the oxygen you supply to it.
This in turn can improve your stamina.
So, in short
improving running economy = improving running stamina
But what is running economy anyway?
According to Wikipedia:
Running economy consists of many physiological and biomechanical factors that contribute to running performance, and is measured to quantify energy utilization while running at an aerobic intensity. Oxygen consumption (VO2) is the most direct method for measuring the running economy, as the exchange of gases in the body, specifically, oxygen and carbon dioxide closely reflects energy metabolism. Those who are able to consume less oxygen while running at a given velocity are said to have a better running economy.
How to implement it practically?
From the above description, it seems so complicated.
You have to have:
- Shorter contact time with the ground
- Less braking forces
- Less oscillation (vertical)
- Specific joint angles during different phases of the gait cycle
- Consume less oxygen
In short, having a good running economy is almost impossible for an average Joe, like me and you.
Or is it?
A simple solution is to practice to increase your stride rate.
Uff! I know you’ll again ask, “how the hell I implement it practically”?
Well, do what a guitarist will do for increased strumming speed…
First, they get a metronome…
They set it at a desired bpm or beats per min
They start strumming to match the speed of the beats.
You use this same technique to increase your stride rate.
- You would need a clip on metronome or a metronome app (metronome is a device which counts beats per min).
- You must know your stride rate.
1. Start running at your natural rhythm.
2. Count every time your right foot touches the ground.
3. Do this for 60 secs.
4. Multiply it by 2 and you have your stride rate.
5. If your stride rate is somewhere upwards of 180 per min, you don’t need to follow the next steps.
Else follow along.
Your goal is to increase your stride rate by 5% every week until you touch 180.
6. Let’s say your current stride rate is 150. So, this week’s target is 158.
7. Now set a metronome at 158 beats per min and start running.
8. Try to match the steps with the beats of the metronome.
9. Pump your arms a little faster. Due to reflex, your legs will also start to move faster.
10. If you have improved or achieved 5% more strides by the end of the session, congratulations.
11. Else, keep working on it by following steps 9-10 until you hit that number.
12. Once you are there, again increase it by 5% more and keep going – until you reach 180.
#2 Run 10% more today using mind games
Here is my short story…
I started running around a year back.
How much could I run on the first day?
It’s an awesome 10 full seconds…
Yep, you read it right…
Only measly 10 secs…before I had stop.
Can’t blame my fitness…I had too much adipose tissue 😛
I tried a lot but could not get it up to 1 min even after 5 weeks…
That’s when I decided…
No matter what, I’m going to take my running time to full 10 min non-stop
and yes I did it…
After 5 weeks into running, I could run 25 secs non-stop.
I wanted to run for 60 secs at a stretch and in 5 weeks.
Here are the exact steps for you to follow along:
1. Calculate your current running time. Mine was 25 secs
2. Assuming you run 5 times a week, try to increase your running time by 10% every second session.
For example on Monday you ran for 25 secs.
On Wednesday you increase it to 27.5 secs
On Friday it will be (27.5+2.75) = 30.25 secs.
3. Now start running and start calculating.
1, 2, 3, 4….each second is one count.
Do this till you reach 31 (0.25 is not possible while counting. 🙁 If you find a creative way to do so, let me know)
4. Stop or walk for 30 secs, and start again.
5. Continue this for 20-25 min, and you are done for the day..
6. Keep increasing your time like this, until you reach your target.
Caution: For me, it worked till I reached 1.5 min.
After that, it became really hard to increase my run time by 10% every second session.
So, I switched to “Push for 30 secs more Or Push for 1 min more” technique.
This is what I did,
- I picked a nearby pole or car (anything which is big, visible, stationary can serve as your target)
- I told myself, “I’ll stop once I reach there”.
- Then I started to run and calculated till 30 or 60.
- I stopped only when I reached 30 or crossed the pole whichever is later.
- This gave me enough mental ammunition to keep going.
- The better I got, I kept pushing the target farther.
Now I just count laps.
#3. Build Core Strength to share the load
Running is surely putting just one step forward of the other, but that is not the end of it.
If you want to build running stamina and have an injury-free running experience, you need to get the rest of your body engaged.
This means, especially your core.
The more strength your core and legs have, the better stamina you will have while running.
For strengthening the core, I use Yoga since I’ve been practicing it for some time.
Here are the exact poses and the steps:
What you are trying to achieve?
Holding your body in a straight line using your core muscles.
You should not use your hands to hold your body.
If you are unsure, just bend your arms a little.
This will take away any support from them and will force you to engage your core.
Yep, this is the most important pose.
First time when you try it, your entire body will shake as your core will be struggling to keep you in place.
Don’t panic and definitely don’t curse me for that 😛
After a couple of times, it will go away.
- Start with the down dog pose. This means your hands and your feet on the mat. Your buttocks pointing towards the ceiling. If you got this pose correctly, you will look like an inverted “V”.
- Now gradually push the upper part of your body forward and lowering your buttocks. Your legs should remain straight and toes of your feet on the ground.
- Stop when your body is a straight line and there should be no bending at the hips.
- Also, don’t let your hips hang towards the ground, giving you the shape of a mild arc.
- If so adjust yourself and bring your hips up.
- Do this for 3-5 times and hold the pose from at least 10 counts each time.
How can you be sure you got the correct form?
If it is too easy to hold the pose, then maybe your hips are hanging. Check that.
Check if your arms have a minor bend at the elbow.
If this is the first time, your entire body may be shaking and you should be having a tough time holding the pose.
Here is a short video explaining the pose:
Side plank is basically balancing your body on a straight line on one side using your core.
Like plank, you may face the same shaking problem.
- Begin in plank. Follow the above steps to ease into the pose.
- Now shift your body weight slightly towards the left side.
- Tighten your core muscles and open up your body so that the front side of your body is facing the wall in front of you.
- If you cannot hold the pose, bend your top leg and place the feet on the mat in front of your hips. (This is modified side plank)
- Once done on one side, repeat it on the other side.
- Do this pose pose 3-5 times and hold it for at least 10 counts each time.
- This video will help you follow along.
This is by far the most challenging pose after plank.
Here your entire body is only on your buttocks and you are holding the pose only with your core.
Check if holding the pose is easy for you.
You may be arching your back out to balance your body.
If you find yourself doing so, straighten your back and hold the pose using your core only.
- Sit on the mat with your back straight and legs stretched in front of you.
- Now bend the knees while your feet are still on the mat.
- Take a deep breath.
- Raise your legs as high as possible.
- Straighten your legs.
- Check if your upper half of the body is curved or has moved back from the starting position.
- If so bring it back.
- Once you have balanced yourself properly in the pose, stretch your hands in front and hold the pose.
- Do this pose for 3-5 times and holding for at least 10 counts each time.
This pose works on your gluts, hips, and abdomen.
It opens up your shoulders and relieves back pain if any.
- Strengthen legs and feet
- Strengthen and opens hips
- Works on your gluts and strengthen them
- Opens up your shoulder
- Stretches chest, neck and spine
- Stimulates abdominal organs, lungs, and thyroid
- Reduces anxiety, fatigue, backache, headache, and insomnia
- Helps in asthma, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and sinusitis
- Clams your mind, helps alleviate stress and mild depression
Avoid this pose if you have neck, back and knee injuries. You may continue your practice, once you have recovered.
- Lie down on the ground in supine position or the backside of your body on the floor.
- Legs stretched in front and hands by your side.
- Now fold your legs at the knees and place your feet on the ground.
- Your heels should be as close as possible to your sitting bones.
- Check if your back and neck are on the floor. Avoid moving your neck from side to side.
- Walk your feet towards you till your heels graze your fingertips.
- Distribute your weight evenly across your feet.
- Now inhale and lift your hips up high towards the ceiling.
- Interlace your fingers and press your forearms down into the mat to get more lift in the hips.
- Hold the pose for 5 breaths.
- Exhale and release the clasp of your hands.
- Now gently lower your hips till it touches the ground.
When you do an expansive pose like bridge, it is required to counter-balance it with a non-expansive pose.
- Bring both of your knees to your chest
- Hug them tightly with your arms.
- This will release any stress on your lower back and will also give you a calming effect.
- Hold the pose for 5 breaths.
- Then gently let go of your hands.
- Straighten your legs and relax.
- Do the entire sequence for 3-5 time and holding the pose for 10 counts each time.
Bridge pose video:
This is a great pose and I love it totally.
It strengthens the muscles in the back, abdomen, arms, and legs and stretches the throat, chest, arms, abdomen, hips, groin, thighs, and ankles.
It also flexes your spine and activates spinal nerves, increases circulation, and strengthens the entire length of the spine.
- Helps with weight loss.
- Strengthen core and in turn, you get great abs.
- Improves digestion and appetite.
- Gives flexibility to the back.
- Strengthens back muscles.
- Strengthens ankles, thighs, groins, chest, and abdominal organs.
- Cure menstruation disorder.
- Improve the function of kidney and liver.
- Releases back pain.
- Improves posture.
Avoid bow pose if you have:
- High or low blood pressure
- Serious lower-back or neck injury
Lie down on your abs
- Exhale and bend your knees
- Hold the ankles with your hands
- Inhale and raise the thighs, head, and chest as high as possible
- Try to maintain the weight of the body on lower abdomen.
- Join the ankles.
- Look upward and breathe normally.
- If you want to go deeper into the pose, try to hold your toes
- Now exhale and gradually lower your body to the floor. You are still holding your ankles with your hands.
- Now gently let go of your ankles and come back to the starting position.
Once you are done with your bow pose, you should counter it with child pose.
This is the universal counter pose and helps overcome any stress that settles in your back, shoulders, neck and arms.
It completely relaxes your body.
- Kneel on the floor.
- Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels
- Then separate your knees hip-width apart
- Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.
- Gently try to elongate your torso as much as possible so that your chest and hips are as close to the floor as possible .
- Stay there for some time.
- Gradually comeback to the starting position.
- Hold the pose for as long as you need to feel relaxed.
Child Pose (Counter Pose)
#4. Add weight training to improve your running performance
Weight training is very good to improve your running economy.
This way, you will utilize oxygen more efficiently during the run.
You can choose between free weights, machine or body weight exercises three times a week.
Here are the exercises that you need to do today as part of your strength training routine.
Repeat each exercise 10-15 times.
- Start in a standing position.
- Feet separated a little wider than hips.
- Toes pointed slightly out.
- Clasp hands at chest or extend it at the shoulder height for balance.
- Shift your hips a bit back.
- Bend your knees
- Lower down as far as possible with chest lifted.
- Your thigh should be parallel to the ground when you bend your knees.
- Press on the ground through your heels and come back up to starting position.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Step forward with right foot.
- Bend both knees to 90 degrees.
- Press on your forward feet and back toes, come back to the starting position.
- Do it with the left foot.
- To make this exercise more effective, you can hold two dumbbell or kettlebells.
- Do 10 to 15 times on each side.
- Stand on your toes with feet hip-width apart on the edge of a step or box.
- Slowly lower heels down below the edge of the step.
- Pause for a second
- Slowly lift back up to starting position.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
- Start with a full plank with shoulders over wrists, the core is engaged and your body is in a straight line from shoulders to heels.
- Bend your left knee in toward chest.
- Quickly go back to the starting position.
- Immediately bend the right knee and move it toward chest.
- Quickly move back to plank position.
- Continue for 10 to 15 reps per side.
Raise and hold:
- Lie faceup, legs straight, arms by sides
- Place your hands below glutes with palms facing downwards.
- Lift legs just six inches off the mat.
- Engage your core and hold the position.
- Be there for 30 to 60 seconds.
- Do this for 10-15 times
- Sit on the floor, knees bent, heels on the mat.
- Lean upper body back about 45 degrees.
- Elbows bent and hands together
- Rotate torso to the right, then to the left.
- Continue for 10 to 15 reps on each side.
- To make it more challenging, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell or lift heels off the floor.
- Lie on your back, legs straight, hands under glutes with palms facing down.
- Keeping lower back flat against the mat, lift legs up toward the ceiling using your core.
- Keep your knees as straight as possible.
- Slowly lower legs down toward the floor but don’t touch the mat.
- When your legs are just above the floor, lift them back up.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 times.
- Another variation could be to bring your legs down at 45 deg or 60 deg to the floor.
- Lie on your back with both hands behind head.
- Elbows wide, and legs bent at 90 degrees with knees over hips.
- Take right shoulder off the mat to bring your right elbow toward left knee and extend your right leg straight.
- Reverse to bring left elbow to right knee as you extend left leg straight.
- This will rotate the torso.
- Repeat 10 to 15 time per side.
- Start in a plank.
- Shoulders over wrists, core, glutes, and legs engaged.
- Bend the elbows to bring your chest near to the floor.
- Elbows should point back at a 45-degree angle and close to the body. Don’t spread it like bat wings.
- Push back up to starting position using your core.
- Make sure to keep hips in line with the rest of the body.
- If you cannot do a full push up yet, drop your knees to the floor and keep your ankles locked.
- Now, perform the same steps as you would do with a half push up.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 time. (Start with 5 if you have to)
- Stand with feet hip-width apart.
- Place hands down in front of feet.
- Jump feet back to a high plank position.
- Keep hips up and in line with shoulders and heels.
- Drop chest to the ground.
- Push back up, without arching back, as you jump feet back to hands.
- Stand and jump up.
- Repeat 10 to 15 reps.
#5. Reduce your total body weight today by losing non-functional weight
Running stamina is somewhat related to your body weight.
The heavier you are the slower you will run…and the less stamina you will have.
Good news is, you can always lose weight to increase your stamina.
Bad news…it takes months or years, before you get there…
My solution is simple:
Get rid of any non-essentials and have light weight essentials.
What are non-essentials for running?
Anything that doesn’t directly contributes to your running.
They just unnecessarily increase your weight.
So, losing them will immediately make you weigh less.
1. Layout all your running gears in-front of you
2. Hold each of them one at a time, and ask yourself “Do I really need this for my running?”
If yes, keep it…if no hide it 😀 …or at least set it aside.
3. Once you have gone through your entire gear inventory, repeat the process with essentials.
4. Now, you should ask, “Can I get a lighter version of this?” If so get the replacement
Caution: Step#4 is optional as you will have to shell out money (mostly)
If you are on a budget, skip it. You have anyways shed all your dead weight already.
#6. Set a schedule to build discipline
Well…I admit, setting a schedule is not directly related to any workout for stamina building.
Are we sure?
Stamina building has two main things:
Preparing your body for the upcoming grilling.
Preparing your mind to push you through it.
Most successful athletes use creative visualization to improve their performance.
They mould their mind before working on their body.
This is what Tiger Woods used to do before every game:
Enough about visualization…my point is, to build stamina you have to prepare your mind.
And creating a schedule beforehand gives your mind a lot of time to prepare.
OK…just so that we are on the same page, below is an example of a schedule.
- Take a piece of paper and pen, or your note taking app, and write down something like below:
Monday – Do an easy run. Run for 2-4 miles at your own pace.
You can go up to 5 miles if you want and your current fitness level permits.
Stop immediately if you feel pain anywhere in your body.
Tuesday – Do interval training. First, you warm up by jogging/walking at a slow pace for 5-10 min.
Then run at a high speed for 1 min. Then slow down and jog/walk for 90 secs.
Again run at high speed for 1 min. Do this 8 times.
After that start your cool down by running/walking at a very leisurely pace for 5-10 min.
Wednesday – Follow the same routine as Monday.
Thursday – Go for a long run. Try to run for 40-60 min at a comfortable pace.
You should be able to talk to somebody without having to stop and catch your breath.
Ask a buddy to join you or you can always enroll in a runner’s club.
Friday – Go for an easy run like you did on Monday.
Saturday – Repeat the interval training that you did on Tuesday.
Sunday – Take rest
- Make 4 copies out of it.
- Place one above your work desk, one on the fridge door, one on the bathroom mirror, one in your dressing table.
- Read them whenever you lay an eye on them.
- This way, your mind will have enough time to get ready for the next day’s drill.
#7. Load up on carbs and turn your body into a fat burning machine
What? Am I serious?
Carbs are supposed to be bad.
They are one of the three macro-nutrients that your body needs to function properly.
There are mainly two types of carbohydrate a.k.a carbs.
Simple and Complex.
Complex are the ones which have a lot of fibers and supplies you with a lot of vitamins and minerals.
Think unpolished grains and veggies
Simple carbs are those that are devoid of any fibers, vitamins and minerals.
Think white rice, white sugar.
So, stick to complex carbs.
Also, carbs are stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen.
When your body needs an immediate supply of energy, this glycogen store is used and your muscle mass stays intact.
Include 2.3 to 5.5 grams of carbs, per pound of body weight in your everyday diet to avoid glycogen depletion.
Now, I’m not going into diet plans and all…
Because today’s topic is to give you simple tips that you can implement today and get result.
So, in that line, you need to have some carb-rich food just before and after you run.
- Eat an apple or a banana 20 min prior to your run.
- Don’t overload as you may throw up or feel sluggish the entire duration.
- Once you return from your run, you eat one banana or apple within 20 min.
- This has two benefits.
- When you run your body needs a lot of fuel to burn.
- Carbs are the easiest to get converted to that fuel. So, the banana or the apple becomes that fuel.
- When you return from your run, your body is still in a heightened state of activity.
- It still needs more fuel to burn and has used up the apple or the banana.
- If you don’t supply it anything, it may start breaking down your muscle mass to derive that energy.
- Also, due to lack of fuel supply, your body will go into survival mode and will slow down your metabolism.
[Note: You can replace your apple and banana with boiled potato, or any other sweet fruit.
In fact, occasionally you can have a cupcake or so but don’t go overboard with it as you will be throwing all your efforts down the drains.]
#8. Build stamina through breathing techniques
When you are trying to build stamina, breathing correctly can help you to use the energy more efficiently.
This, in turn, will help you to propel faster and longer.
The question is how should you breathe during running?
I found that breathing with both nose and mouth while following a rhythmic pattern is more efficient.
This is also suggested by the running coaches.
Step to check your breathing technique:
Start to jog at your natural pace.
Observe how you breathe?
Is it tied to your steps?
Are you breathing through your mouth and nose?
Is it following some pattern (explained later) like 3:2, 2:2 or 2:1?
If so, you are in good shape.
What if you don’t and need to retrain?
Here is what you need to do…
How should you train yourself to breathe for stamina?
I’ll assume that you have not worked on breathing and just starting out.
To master this, you will take weeks and that is the plan that is provided below.
However, the basic breathing pattern of inhaling and exhaling can be set in only one running session.
So, focus on your breathing completely for one session. In no time, your breath will be tied with your steps.
First, try to match your breathing pattern with your steps. You can walk or jog for this.
- Walk/Jog for 10 to 20 min.
- During the walk, you should focus on deep breathing.
- Concentrate on expanding your belly as you breathe in.
- Focus on contracting your belly when you breathe out.
- Do this for 2 weeks, 3 times a week.
- For the next two week, try 1 min brisk walking and 1 min normal walking while keeping the breathing pattern exactly same.
- For the next two weeks, try to do a slow jog for 1 min and normal walking for 1 min. Maintain the same breathing pattern
- Finally, start running for 1 min and jog for 1 min while maintaining the breathing pattern
- But remember, not to go crazy on the pace. You will not be able to maintain your rhythm that you have gradually built
Once you are used to this technique, get into rhythm…
This is how you do it. Below are some common rhythmic breathing patterns and their steps:
- 3:2 – This is more suited for the beginner runner. Here you will be inhaling for 3 three steps.
Let’s call it as LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT
Then you will exhale for 2 counts. Which is RIGHT, LEFT.
If you are finding it difficult to do it in your current pace then slow down a bit.
With regular practice, you will be able to master this technique very easily.
- 2:2 – This is more suited for the intermediate runner or for interval/tempo runs
Here you will have to inhale for two steps (LEFT, RIGHT), and exhale for two steps (LEFT, RIGHT)
This is more labor-intensive and a beginner should avoid this
- 2:1 – Again they are meant for intermediate runners or for interval/tempo runs
Here you will inhale for two steps (LEFT, RIGHT) and exhale for one step (RIGHT)
- 1:1 – This is for running at your maximum speed. This is usually used by runners at the last stage of a race.
Here you will be inhaling for 1 step (LEFT) and exhaling for 1 step (RIGHT)
#9. Run On An Incline for more stamina
Running on an incline is tough.
It is very intensive but in turn, it builds strength in your calves, quads, and hamstrings.
This also helps you to build more stamina.
You can do your incline running in two ways.
First, you can do it on the road and the other is on the treadmill.
Steps for the road:
- Find a road near your area where the road is inclined.
- Warm up for 5 to 10 mins.
- Start running at your natural pace.
- If you need to catch a breath, then slow down but keep moving.
- Try not to stop.
- Take more time to cool down after your running.
- Do an easy run on the following day.
Steps for treadmill:
If you are living somewhere with no inclined roads or on flat land, the above plan will not work for you.
As an alternative, you can use the incline setting of the treadmill and perform the workout
- Set the treadmill incline to 2-4.
- Warm up for 10 min.
- Run at your natural pace for around 25 min.
- Cool down for 10 min.
- Do an easy run on the following day.
#10. Take a long run to push your stamina to the edge
When you push yourself over the edge, you break your limitations. This is the same with your body also.
If you get it gradually seasoned to more rigorous workouts, you will rev up your stamina like crazy.
So, take one long run today.
Things you need:
- Water sipper
- Running shoes
- Your fitness watch (Optional, but recommended)
- Earphones (Avoid if going early in the morning or late in the evening)
- Your favorite playlist (Duration is similar to your run time)
- Sunglasses (If venturing out in the day)
- Sunscreen (If venturing out in the day)
- Anti-chaff balm
- Sports Bra (For Women)
- Compression socks (Optional, but recommended)
- Do some pre-run stretching of your lower body and hips
- Do a 10 min warm up by lightly jogging or walking.
- Start your run. If you run 30 min normally, try to run for 45 min. Basically, increase your run time by 50%
- Hydrate yourself after every 30 min by sipping a little bit of water.
- Finish the run by 10 min cool down.
- Do some post-run stretching of your lower body and hips
#11. Warm Up sufficiently before your run for a better performance
Ever heard that it is important to warm up before running/workout?
Well I heard also and as most beginners I ignored.
Result, I frequently used to get injured until one of my runner friend pointed out the potential problem.
I wasn’t warming up sufficiently.
Benefits of warm-up
- Dilates your blood vessels and improves your blood circulation
- Ensure that your muscles get ample supply of oxygen before you start running
- Raises the temperature of your muscles for optimal flexibility and efficiency
- Helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run, as the heart rate raises gradually
How do you know that you have warmed up sufficiently?
To understand if you have warmed up sufficiently or not, look for these signs:
- Light sweating
- Ventilation is increased
- You feel warm all over your body
- You don’t feel tense in your muscles
How to warm up sufficiently faster?
Depending on the approach, you may take 5 to 30 mins to warm up.
Here are some effective ways to warm up faster:
- Jog/Walk at 12 min/mile for 5 to 10 min. You can also do cycling on a stationary bike.
- Do some dynamic stretches like walking lunges, jumping jacks or opposite toe touches.
#12. Run today’s tempo run for 10 mins more
Running tempo runs are great for building your endurance.
However, running longer tempo runs will give you the required strength to persist more.
This is what happened with Patrick Noble, a career army man.
He broke his 3:00 hour marathon run plateau in his 52nd marathon, all thanks to his newer method of running a.k.a longer tempo runs.
As a runner, we all run these tempo runs and are well aware of the process.
To take your stamina to the next level, run today’s tempo run, 10 min more.
- Start with a warm up of 10 mins.
- Run at 10 to 20 seconds per mile slower than your 10 K race pace.
- Run for 10 min more ( If you run 20 min tempo runs, run for 30 min…if you run for 40 min, then today you run for 50 min)
- Cool down for 10 mins.
- Do only one tempo run per week.
#13. Land Softly to save energy and reduce risk of injury
Landing softly while running is a great advice.
But how to do that?
The easiest and the most measurable way is to improve your running cadence, shortening your strides and landing underneath your hips.
Optimal stride rate for a runner is around 180 strides per minutes.
This is what every elite athlete has.
With not so elite runners like me, we have cadence in the range of 150 to 160.
So, we touch the ground more and has poor running economy and stamina
We also, tend to get injured more.
- Clip on metronome or an metronome app
- Calculate your natural stride (Check tip#1 for exact steps)
- Setup your metronome for 5 strides more than your natural stride.
- Start the metronome.
- Focus on matching your steps with the beats.
- Also, try to place your foot below your hips.
- Do this for the entire running session.
#14. Today run 5 strides slower at the beginning and 5 strides faster at the end
Yes you guessed it right.
I’m asking you to run negative splits.
As runners we don’t believe that it is possible to run faster at the end.
But this is where the magic happens.
“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” ― Muhammad Ali
Today push yourself to run faster at the end.
This will give your stamina and confidence an immediate boost.
- We need our trusty metronome
- Determination to see it through
Let’s assume that you are running for 30 min today and you know your stride count.
If you don’t know your stride count check tip#1 and know your number first.
- Do your warm up for 5 min
- Set the metronome for 5 beats less than your stride count
- Start running.
- Once your have crossed the 15 min mark, increase your metronome count to 5 beats more than your stride count.
- Run at this pace till 25 min mark
- Cool down for 5 min
#15. Run non-stop till your playlist stops
Ah! this is a tough one.
But this is doable.
The basic idea is to set up a playlist that will run for 45 to 60 min. (Feel free to reduce the time)
- A playlist of 45 to 60 min with upbeat songs of your choice
- A device to store the list (smart phone, iPod, etc)
- An earphone
- Your determination to run it through (trust me, you will want to give up half way)
- Start with a 5-10 min of warm up.
- Now fire up your playlist using the device of your choice
- Start running at a slower pace than usual. (You may use the metronome technique described in #1)
- Continue to run till the playlist stops.
- Cool down for 5-10 min
You should not use this tip when running late in the evening or early in the morning.
During both of these times, you must remain alert.
An earphone and songs will take you away from reality and you will jeopardize your safety.
It is perfectly safe if you are using it during a treadmill session or not running during the wee hours.
#16. Do a high-powered bike or elliptical interval for instant stamina boost
Adding variety to your workout is the key to break your plateau and improve your stamina.
We often run uphills to build our running endurance.
But there is a different way of doing it and it will instantly boost your stamina.
- Because you will be giving your body a different type of workout and break the monotone
- Excitement of doing something new will push you to go further
- It will be kinder on your joints
- You can control the resistance and intensity at your will
- Uninterrupted access to an exercise bike or elliptical for 30 min or more
- You determination to finish the workout
Steps for bike:
- Warm up for 5-10 min
- Star pedaling the bike.
- Increase the tension till the point you can barely pedal
- Stand up now while your feet are on the pedals.
- Spin the pedals as fast as you can for 30 secs.
- Sit down and lower the tension and pedal slowly for 1 min.
- Then again increase the tension of the bike till you can barely move the pedal.
- Spin the pedals as fast as possible for 30 secs.
- Lower the tension and slowly pedal for 1 min.
- Keep repeating this for 30 min to 45 min
- Cool down for 5-10 min
Steps for elliptical:
- Start warming up on your elliptical trainer with a little resistance (Don’t avoid resistance completely)
- Continue this for 5 mins
- After that crank up the resistance up to a level where you have to put in 80% of your maximum effort.
- Workout for 60 secs
- Lower the resistance so that now your effort level is 20% of your maximum effort
- Pedal as fast as you can without losing balance or form.
- Do this for 60-90 secs.
- Repeat 3-7 for 20 min
- Then cool down for 5 min by leisurely pedaling the trainer
#17. Run a Yasso 800 today to take your stamina to the next level
Yasso 800s are a very effective technique to bring up your stamina in a short time frame.
You will run a Yasso 800 today to break your stamina plateau.
But before that…
What is Yasso 800?
This method of running was invented by Bart Yasso, Runner’s World promotion manager around a decade ago.
Here is how the basic technique work:
Let’s say you want to run your marathon in 3 hours 30 min.
If so, then practice running 800 meters in 3 min 30 sec.
And if you want to run a marathon in 2 hours 58 min.
The run 800 meters in 2 min 58 secs.
This is a very simple technique and has helped many runners to break their time plateau.
Also, their has improved their stamina in a very short amount of time.
- Start with your usual warm up of 5-10 min
- Run next 15 min at your natural pace.
- Now set the timer for your desired time interval. (For example, set at 2 min 58 secs, if you want to run your marathon in 2 hours 58 min)
- Run 800 meters or till the buzzer goes off.
- Do this for 3 times in a row.
- Cool down for 5-10 mins
Building stamina for running is a long term process and is dependent on a lot of factors like your age, your gender, your diet.
However, there are some small small things that you can do today which can positively affect your running stamina.
The above list provides your with a handful of such tips with implementation steps.
How you should use this list?
Pick up one tip from the list and implement it. Don’t try to implement all of them together, you will only get overwhelmed.
Once you have mastered that, pick the next one…then next one…and so on…
Let me know which tip you chose in the comments below and if you need any help implementing it.
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