Five Seasons Family Sports Club Blog

Increase Your Endurance with These Tips

Posted by Five Seasons Family Sports Club on 8/29/17 9:00 AM

For many runners, developing endurance is one of the biggest challenges they face in their training. If you've found yourself struggling to develop greater stamina as a runner, don't get discouraged – there is hope! Below are some tips to help you boost your endurance, so you can get the most out of your running sessions.

1. Slow down your pace.

There's a lot of truth to the old Aesop fable about the tortoise and the hare. If you find yourself getting completely gassed out at the end of every run, it could be a sign that you're trying to push too hard too fast. Try slowing down your pace by shaving about 20-30 seconds off per mile; you might be surprised at how much of a difference it can make in terms of developing your running stamina. 

2. Work on improving your running technique. 

A popular principle that is regularly taught in military training programs is something called "economy of force." The basic premise behind this principle is that you should only employ the amount of force that is absolutely necessary to get the job done, and avoid any unnecessary expenditure of energy or resources. Many runners expend unnecessary energy due to poor running technique – e.g., excessive swinging of the arms, hunching over when running, having too much "bounce" in their run, etc. – all of which can negatively impact endurance levels. Work on developing good technique by running tall, minimizing arm swings and making sure your steps are landing directly beneath your center of gravity. By improving your running technique, you will be able to run longer distances before getting tired, because you will be expending less energy due to improving your running economy.

3. Incrementally increase your running time or distance.

One of the best ways to improve your endurance is to incrementally increase your efforts by adding a little extra time or distance to your run. Whether you measure your run in minutes or miles, try to add just a little bit of extra on top of what you're currently doing. Try to go one minute longer, a few extra feet further or one additional city block from where you ended your run last time. Start by making small changes, and continue to add to it as your body adapts to those minor adjustments. Over time, it can make a major difference in your endurance.

4. Eat "endurance foods."

Without feeding your body the proper fuel, you're simply not going to have the energy you need to go the distance. For runners, this means one thing: Carbohydrates! Consume carb-based meals before you go on long runs, but avoid foods that are loaded with refined sugars. Instead, go for complex carbohydrates (e.g., whole grain pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, etc.), as they provide a slow-burning energy source that won't wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. 

5. Get your rest. 

In many ways, how you handle your rest and recovery time will determine how well you perform during your training sessions. If you never give your body a chance to rest and rejuvenate itself, you will eventually hit a wall, and this will be counterproductive to your progress. Make sure to eat nutritious meals, do a lot of stretching and get plenty of sleep. This will ensure that you're able to adequately recover between sessions, so that you can enter into your next run with plenty of strength and energy to finish it. 

Keep in mind that endurance is not built overnight; it must be cultivated by doing the right things long enough to increase your body's strength and stamina over time. As you consistently put the above tips into practice, you will eventually be able to handle longer distances with greater ease.

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