Stamina is one of the prime factors affecting the duration of a run. To build the endurance to increase the running time you will have to put in some extra and consistent efforts.
You can’t build stamina overnight, no matter how dreamy it sounds! One certain thing is, you are bound to see the results with your dedication, motivation, and commitment.
The first question that pops up in your mind is ‘ How to increase my stamina for running?’ So, let’s get to the point and reveal the mystery behind the million-dollar question.
To begin with, you need to make an honest assessment of your current aerobic base. You have to keep in mind your utmost capacity and commit to NOT delve into too much too soon.
Note: Overtraining is a harmful practice and can lead to critical injuries.
5 Pro tips to increase your stamina
1) Consistency should be ‘consistent’.
Consistency is what can make or break the game. It is ok if you start with the average distance and speed. Regular practice will eventually boost up your stamina that will enable you to run for miles easily!
Training on a regular schedule teaches your body to adapt to the amount of work you’re putting in. Start off with the level you can easily endure and keep increasing your pace, time, and distance week-by-week.
That way, your body will adapt to the gradual change and will start responding. However, make sure to listen to your body. If you’re feeling sluggish, slow it down and adjust as needed.
Make sure you do not miss a day and if you do, make up for it.
There are no shortcuts in increasing your running speed and stamina. It’s just practice and honesty towards attaining your goal.
2) Focus on strength training
According to a review of literature from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, practising strength training at least 2-3 days a week works wonders for runners.
Aim for full-body workouts that target the major muscle groups. Perform 2 to 3 sets per exercise with 8 to 12 repetitions to set the pace. It will result in toning and building the muscles that would further increase stamina.
3) Incorporate the Right diet
Food is fuel for your body. It plays a giant role in increasing and improving your stamina and fitness.
As much as you need the right diet to stay healthy, you also need a well-balanced diet to maintain your running stamina.
First of all, make sure you’re eating enough. Running would lead to BURNING CALORIES. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, you still need to consume enough calories to provide energy to run.
‘Eating enough’ by no means refers to ‘eating anything and everything’. Let’s say, according to your body capacity, a five-mile run burns around 500 calories. So, you might think it’s handy to grab a cheeseburger as you can easily get rid of that 500 cal by running.
But instead of supplying enough ATPs (energy required by the body to perform tasks), it will just weigh you down and reduce your stamina. It has unhealthy fats and is high in carbs which do not fulfill any nutritional requirement. So, making smarter choices in terms of your food is extremely important.
Counting calories can be heartbreaking but that’s the way to go about it. Sticking to a specific number of calories would help you build stamina along with running faster and better.
Incorporate lean meat, fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and low-fat dairy in your diet. Do not eat a lot in one go.
Split your intake in small meals throughout the day and give special attention to portion size. Maintain proper hydration. It is the key component of maintaining strength and flexibility.
4) Practice tempo runs
Tempo runs are typically shorter distance runs but at a much quicker pace. This helps in increasing the endurance pace in particular and aids in stronger, fast running.
Keeping your runs short might be annoying but this is one of the best practices to indulge in high-intensity endurance activity which will improve the quality of your running.
5) Recovery is a must
The farther you run, the more challenging it would be and therefore you need to ensure that your body is recovering in between those sessions.
A good recovery is attained by following a good diet as already highlighted, having proper sleep, and most importantly, focusing on your hydration levels.
6) Maintain Proper Hydration
We emphasize staying hydrated over and over. But how does hydration play a role in increasing strength and stamina in terms of running?
As we practice running longer miles, we sweat profusely which results in the loss of electrolytes and fluids from the body, which can cause dehydration.
Dehydration in runners may lead to –
According to a study, lowering hydration status on a warm day can hamper a runner’s performance. Drinking ample water remains the easiest and best way out.
What are the adequate hydration rules for runners?
The general rule of thumb for fluid consumption during runs is: Take in 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes
During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), apart from water, electrolyte, or energy drinks should also be a part of your hydration regime. These help in replenishing the lost minerals quicker.
Sweat rate for runners
To determine the liquid intake during a run or race, you need to know your sweat rate, which can vary from 1 to 4 quarts per hour.
Weigh yourself before your training run, and then again after. You can have sips of water in between but make sure you keep a track of that. One pound of weight loss equals 1 pint of water loss.
Calculate your sweat rate and use this to determine your fluid requirement during a run. The common formula for calculating your sweat rate is-
Sweating rate = pre-exercise body weight – post-exercise body weight + fluid intake – urine volume/exercise time in hours
Best drinks for rehydration other than water
Plain water is not enough to compensate for all the sweat loss, thus you should opt for some natural electrolyte drinks or sports drinks, to maintain an adequate level of hydration.
They also help in increasing stamina and provide energy to improve your running pace.
For more intense runs, you can go for these drinks-
- Coconut water
- Electrolyte infused water
- Flavoured water
- Carbonated drinks
- Electrolyte-enriched smoothies
How to know if you are running well
If you are dicey about your running pace and want to know if you are running well, check out these markers.
You are doing it all right if-
- You can run at the same pace with less effort
- You can run longer than before
- You feel less tired
- You are not getting inured as frequently
- You are not grump post-run
- You have adapted to the flow
In sports, especially in running, you are not competing against anyone but yourself. Your primary goal should be to run better than yesterday and improve your stamina with each passing day.
By making continuous efforts in the right direction, you can easily increase your stamina and running pace within a stipulated time.