Endurance Running: How To Get There?
Whether you are walking, hiking, running or doing some other type of physical activity, you want to build endurance. Building endurance means you are increasing your own body’s physical capabilities. Increasing your endurance equals your ability to run or jump or play for a longer period of time. If you are a distance runner, endurance running is likely a very important thing for you!
Types Of Endurance
There are two types of endurance when speaking of exercise: cardiovascular and muscular. Your cardiovascular endurance is defined as the capability your body has to keep moving when you challenge the cardio system. This means you are exercising at an elevated heart rate and your rate of breathing has increased.
Your muscular endurance speaks to how long your muscles can handle a sustained exercise. This could refer to repeatedly lifting weights in the same or similar repetition, cycling over a long distance, or running longer distances each week.
Improving Muscle Endurance
If you are looking to increase or improve the endurance of your muscles, there are many ways to accomplish that. First, you could engage in strength training. Strength training can be accomplished through lifting weights as you normally think of it. You know the drill: curls, shoulder press, bench press, etc.
You can also get stronger through bodyweight exercises. Believe it or not, you can achieve an awful lot through performing simple squats, frog jumps, pushups, pullups, dips and other exercises.
How To Build Running Endurance
Ironically, one of the best ways to build running endurance is to incorporate strength training into your workout. Strength training helps build stamina for a number of reasons. If you have stronger muscles and bodies, there is less stress put on your heart and cardiovascular system when you exercise.
Making a commitment to your training is another way to increase your endurance. Commitment builds consistency. Consistency will result in becoming a stronger runner and overall athlete. Whether you are talking about adopting a training plan or just making a decision to work out so many days each week, that dedication to your regiment has value.
Next, you should think about rest. One way to think about rest is to be sure you give yourself adequate rest each week. That does not mean you cannot do some type of workout every day if that is important to you, but you do need to listen to your body.
When doing workouts it is also important that you change up your rest intervals between certain types of efforts. For example, if you are working on stamina, you may take shorter rest intervals between pieces of speed work. If you are working on pure speed, you will likely rest longer to get your heart rate back to normal before the next effort.
Slowly increasing your weekly running mileage will help you build endurance. Remember that you should only add approximately 10-15% to your total mileage each week, without adding too much to your longest run for the week. So to recap increasing mileage: you want to increase your overall mileage for the week and also your long run should continue to get longer.
You can get stronger by adding incline work to your running. This can mean finding a big hill on which to do repeats. Another option is running in an area with rolling hills. You can also consider using the incline on your treadmill, if you have one available to you.
Varying your workouts gives another excellent tool for your running toolbox. What do I mean by that? It means don’t just run every run at the same pace. You should look at the types of running you are doing in any given week, month and training cycle. There should be some speed work, tempo runs, long runs, etc. to keep your body guessing. This builds growth!
Fueling during challenging efforts is a great way to be sure you can stay strong in your workouts. You need to keep your body adequately fueled on long runs, in order to sustain that effort. It is also crucial to always eat properly. If you want your body to act like an athlete, you need to feed it like an athlete. You get what you prepare for, in more ways than one.
Recovery is another important word. This means that you are cooling your body down properly to end workouts. It also means you are taking in food within 30 minutes of a workout. A protein and carbohydrate-rich food source is ideal. For me, that might be chicken breast and some veggies. Many people prefer a protein shake because that is quick and easy. One of my running buddies always reaches for peanut butter bread. The food choice is far less important than the fact that you refuel.
Taking time to do the things that your body needs to recover is also important. For one person that might be foam rolling, and another might soak in Epsom salts. Personally, I love a cold bath after a long-distance run. I also try to do a non-impact cross-training workout the day after my long run. How does this help build endurance, you ask? It sets the body up for success in the upcoming workouts.
Proper hydration is not something to trifle with, either. This means you need to be drinking water often and consistently. While running longer distances, you will probably need to have water on you. Whatever you plan to use for hydration should be what you drink through training.
Putting It All Together
Endurance running is not a sport to be taken lightly. If you are hoping to increase your capacity to run further and with a higher level of sustained effort, there are definite things you can do in order to facilitate that personal growth. The most important thing is to just be patient with the process.
None of us builds up running endurance overnight. If it were that easy, everyone would do it. However, with some patience and a lot of hard work, you will find yourself reaching your goals before long!
Run safe, run happy and be patient with yourself. Your body will thank you!