Sometime in the future, a distance you find challenging now will feel easy. When that happens, it means you’ve increased your running stamina. We’re not saying a marathon will ever feel easy, but one day you’ll look back and notice that what you find challenging now will come much easier. An increase in running stamina comes from consistency, that means running multiple times per week for multiple weeks to accumulate fitness – there are no quick fixes if you want to increase running stamina. It’s generally accepted that it takes 10 days to 4 weeks to benefit from a run. The time will depend on the type of run, quicker and more intense runs being on the lower end of the range with long steady runs being on the other higher end of the range.
Before you begin working on increasing your running stamina, you need to make an honest assessment of your current aerobic base and build on that. Whether you’re a new runner looking to complete their first 5k or an experienced runner looking to increase their stamina for the final stages of the marathon and avoid hitting the wall, the rule of “too much too soon” always holds true, doing too much too soon only leads to injury or overtraining.
How to Build Stamina for Running: 7 Tips
1. Be consistent
To increase your aerobic capacity and improve your endurance to run farther than you can now, you need to train consistently. Consistent training will build your aerobic base, increase your aerobic capacity (which is how much oxygen your muscles can use) and strengthen your muscles. When you begin to add extra runs to your week, they should be easy and slow – speed follows endurance! You should aim for 3 to 4 sessions per week for 30 minutes or more. Aim to make one of these sessions your long run where you plan to go farther than any of your other runs that week.
Did you know?
Consistency is key to building your running stamina.
2. Run long
To run farther, you’re going to have to actually run farther! Either increase your long run by 5–10 minutes or add 0.8–1.6 km (0.5–1 mile) each time. It might not sound like much but it begins to add up. When you get into a bigger volume of training for a half marathon or marathon, your long run should be roughly 30-50% of your total distance for the week. Do your long run at a slow and sustainable pace; many people try to run their long run too fast and struggle to finish strong. Go slowly and just focus on covering the distance. Remember, speed follows endurance.
Go slowly and just focus on covering the distance.
3. Tempo Runs
These runs are normally run over a shorter distance, but at a higher pace than at which you normally train. Training like this trains your body to clear lactic acid from the bloodstream quicker, which means you can run longer before fatigue and lactic acid builds up and slows you down. It will also make your easy running pace or planned race pace feel easier – these runs are the key to improving your running speed. Tempo runs should be a “comfortably hard” pace that lasts from 20-40 minutes and up to 60 minutes for more advanced runners. They should not be an all-out effort that has you gasping for breath, but a challenging pace that you feel you can maintain over the duration of the run.
4. Eat for endurance
That means carbs! As a runner, you should focus on carbs making 55% – 65% of your calorie intake from carbs. You don’t need to eat a mountain of pasta at every meal, but be mindful of your carb intake to make sure it’s complimentary to your training. Before your long run, it’s key to have a carb-based meal to ensure you have enough energy to cover the distance. If you find yourself tired, in a low mood or unable to complete your planned runs, then increase your carbs. Always go for complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, brown rice and oatmeal instead of refined carbs and sugary foods that will spike your blood sugar (a spike is always followed by your blood sugar crashing).
The farther you run, the more you’re challenging yourself and therefore need to ensure your body is recovering between sessions. Good recovery comes from a good diet, stretching and sufficient sleep. Aim to eat a quality meal or snack of carbs and protein within 30 minutes after finishing your run. This is the optimal window of recovery where your body can best absorb the nutrients to refuel and recover with. Focusing on this will enable you to recover between sessions and go into each run feeling strong and able to complete it.
6. Work on your running economy
Working on your running technique will make you a more efficient runner. If you run efficiently, you will be able to run farther without feeling as tired as you will use less energy. Good technique comes from running tall (imagine a string holding you up), ensuring your foot lands under your center of gravity and a cadence of around 170 – 180 steps per minute. If you have weight to lose, then losing extra weight will also help your running economy since you will be lighter.
7. Mind games
Running farther than you ever have before can be daunting, but you can do it! Mentally preparing yourself for your longest run of the week will make it easier. Some ways to make a long run seem less daunting are to break it down to 1 mile at a time, or to treat it as 2 x a distance you can run easily, or 1x a distance you can do with a little bit more added on – a 10k with a slow 3k added on already sounds less scary than running 13k.
We hope this helps you understand how to build stamina for running and gets you covering more mileage than before! Let us know what running topics you’d like us to cover in future posts by leaving a comment below.
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What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice
Kevin turned to food for comfort as he dealt with the death of his father. He chose a healthier path when his sister was diagnosed with cancer.
The post What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice appeared first on MyFitnessPal Blog.
Chipotle Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Salsa
Magnesium for Athletes – Get the Facts
Magnesium is probably one of the first minerals that comes to mind when you think of fitness. But, hardly anyone knows how essential magnesium truly is and how it can improve your physical performance. We have the facts for you!
Magnesium performs numerous functions
Magnesium is a vital mineral: it is present in nearly every cell of your body. Approximately 30% of the magnesium in your body is stored in the muscles. The mineral performs numerous functions: it is needed for aerobic (= with oxygen) and anaerobic (= without oxygen) energy production. Magnesium is also required to form endogenous protein (protein of body origin, rather than dietary origin) and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation. The mineral is also essential to the formation of bone and teeth. In addition, it is involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.
How important is magnesium for athletes?
Studies show that the more active you are, the more magnesium you need.(1) Scientists have linked a high level of magnesium in blood to improved muscle performance, such as greater leg strength. This means that you can improve your performance by ensuring an adequate supply of this important mineral. What happens in your body? According to studies, magnesium appears to lower lactate levels in your blood.(2) Lactate (lactic acid) is a metabolite that is primarily produced by intense physical exercise. If it builds up, it can limit muscle performance and you will fatigue faster. Plus, exercising without sufficient magnesium will lead to increased oxygen consumption and heart rate. The mineral also plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It works similar to an antioxidant by strengthening your defenses and protecting you from diseases.
Increased magnesium intake can be helpful
According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), healthy adult females should get 310-320 mg per day and healthy adult males 400-420 mg per day.(3) A balanced diet is usually enough to satisfy this daily requirement. But, if you like to exercise or work a physically demanding job, your diet probably won’t cover your daily needs because you can lose a lot of magnesium through sweat. This loss has to be replaced, but the amount of magnesium required varies depending on the individual and should be discussed with a sports physician.
You also need to consume more magnesium in the case of stress.(4)
How can I tell if I’m getting enough magnesium?
Pay attention to Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms
- Leg cramps
- Digestive problems
- Abnormal heart rhythm
Consult your doctor if you experience the magnesium deficiency symptoms listed above.
Top 9 Magnesium Rich Foods
The general rule is that getting nutrients through your food is the healthier option – as opposed to taking dietary supplements. The same holds true when it comes to magnesium for athletes. A balanced diet gives us (almost) all the nutrients we need. So which foods are highest in magnesium? Here are the 11 best sources of magnesium:
- Sunflower seeds (395 mg/100 g)
- Pumpkin seeds (402 mg/100 g)
- Sesame (347 mg/100 g)
- Flax seeds (350 mg/100 g)
- Cashews (270 mg/100 g)
- White kidney beans (140 mg/100 g)
- Chickpeas (115 mg/100 g)
- Oats (139 mg/100 g)
- Swiss chard (81 mg/100 g)
Good to know:
Mineral water also contains varying amounts of magnesium. You can find the nutrition facts on the label of the bottle.
Magnesium Supplements – Good or Bad?
If your doctor recommends magnesium supplements to treat a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to be careful about the dosage. You shouldn’t take more than 250 mg of supplemental magnesium per day.(5) Magnesium can act as a natural laxative; if you take too much, it may cause diarrhea.
The more you workout, the more magnesium you need in your diet. Don’t underestimate the importance of magnesium for athletes and focus on meeting your daily requirements with a balanced healthy diet including magnesium rich foods. If you do experience magnesium deficiency symptoms, consult your doctor. Supplements could be a helpful solution. Keep in mind: if you are preparing for a race or competition, make sure to start integrating the supplements into your diet several weeks beforehand to give your body time to adjust.
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