When you start a brand new running routine, you very quickly develop an appreciation for how difficult running truly is. It can be frustrating to watch as other runners seem to float by you effortlessly as you struggle to get through one slow kilometre, but we promise it gets better. Follow these tips to improve your stamina and endurance so you can enjoy running to the fullest.
This seems obvious, but it’s the most important piece of advice on this list. If you run three times one week and none the next, you’re never going to see improvement. Consistency is key if you want to improve at anything, and running is no different.
Doing too much too soon is a great way to sabotage your consistency. You’re better off starting with something manageable, like going for a 20-minute run three times a week, than trying to tackle a 10K right off the bat, or embarking on a five-days-per-week running schedule, which is likely not sustainable when you’re new to running. This way you can increase your mileage gradually, which will allow your body to adapt to your training and build up your endurance over time.
Do a long run
No, this doesn’t mean you have to go out for a two-hour run. You should, however, pick one day each week when you run a bit longer than you normally do. For example, if you’re running 30 minutes three times a week, pick one of those days and run for 40 minutes instead. You can gradually increase the length of this run as your endurance improves, which will challenge your stamina and make your other two weekly runs feel easier.
Add some speedwork
Once you’ve been running consistently for several weeks or months, you may start to feel like you’re hitting a plateau. Now is a great time to introduce some speedwork. Running at a faster pace will increase your VO2 max, which will make running at a slower pace feel easier, allowing you to run longer at that slower speed. Try making one of your weekly runs a fartlek, where you increase your speed for short sections of the run to get your heart rate up and your legs moving.
If you often feel like you’re lacking energy while you’re running, it could be because your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to run well. Make sure you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with enough carbohydrates so you have enough energy available for your working muscles.
Rest and recover
Recovery is when your body adapts to your training, and without it, you won’t see any improvement. Make sure you’re sleeping seven to eight hours each night and taking care of your body, so that each time you lace up your shoes you feel fresh and ready to go.