Do you love running? Does the idea of a marathon (or even a half-marathon) make you feel pumped? Does a lap around the park leave you gasping for air? If your answer is yes to all of these, you definitely need to work on your endurance levels.
Why Do You Need Endurance?
In terms of running, endurance means running fast for longer. If you enhance your endurance scores, it means you can run for as long as you want without having to stop to catch your breath.
Simply put, better endurance makes you a better runner. And why wouldn’t you want it? Running makes you lose the dangerous visceral fat, keeps depression at bay, makes your bones dense, and gives you a toned body, not to mention enviable toned legs.
Well, here are some science-backed ways to build your endurance so that those laps in the park don’t make you feel drained. And maybe, next year you’ll sign up for that marathon you always wanted to run!
How To Run Faster And For Longer
Load Up On Carbs
Yes! You read that right. While most people in your gym will tell you to have more proteins than carbohydrates to train like an athlete, the solution is far from it. Endurance has a lot to do with a steady supply of energy; that’s where carbs come in. They fuel all your activities.
Studies prove that upping your carbohydrate intake prior to treadmill running can delay exhaustion and enhance your endurance. One study found that eating carbs during the first 60 minutes of exercise improves endurance capacity to a great extent.1
Run. Pause. Walk. Repeat
Alternating between walking and running is a great way to build endurance. This is a trick followed by many pro athletes and novice runners to conserve energy and make it to the finish line without being completely drained of energy.
Running faster increases your lung capacity while walking lets you pace yourself. Walking is also great for your legs, especially, your calf muscles. When you begin to feel out of breath, instead of slogging it out till the end of your lap, switch to walking and you will be able to finish with some energy still left to go back home.
According to a study, the effect of six sessions of short sprint interval training was examined on the oxidative potential of muscles and endurance capacity during cycling. Strikingly, the subjects, who were mostly recreationally active adults, showed a 26 percent increase in the muscle glycogen content at rest and a 100 per cent increase in cycle endurance capacity. The increase in glycogen—which fuels short-duration intense activities and longer-duration endurance activities—signifies that the runners had more fuel to last them a longer time.2
Get High … On Altitude
If you’re stuck with your speed, strength, and stamina, a hill vacation with some trekking may do you a great deal of good. Scratch that. The “incline” button on the treadmill is a cheaper option.
Start with walking at an incline and, in a few weeks, move up to jogging and eventually, running. This will increase your lung capacity and develop your calf muscles further. When you run on a regular surface next time, you’ll find yourself lasting much longer, easy-peasy!
A study concludes that compared with regular level running, incline running provides enhanced muscular power for the muscles responsible for increasing forward-running speeds. So incorporating regular hill training or incline running is a highly sport-specific way to increase muscle activation. It leads to improvements in muscle strength and endurance for running.3
Save Weightlifting For The End
A well-balanced workout peppered with cardio and strength training helps you build endurance in the long run.
A study shows that additional heavy-strength training has a positive influence on the running economy of well-trained triathletes. It cements the claims of previous studies that report that the running economy improves after a combined strength and endurance training regime in endurance athletes, but not after endurance-only training.4
So when you are at the gym, start with the aerobics segment of your workout (running and spinning) and then proceed to weightlifting or strength training. Yes, in that order, because weightlifting saps the glycogen stores in your muscles, and if you do it first, you will probably feel too tired to complete a more intense aerobic workout later.
Select The Right Music To Keep Going
A good beat almost always gives you a kick. Some even manage to make you feel invincible! And, according to a recent study at Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education, carefully selected music can increase exercise endurance by 15 percent. One significant new finding is that music can help exercisers feel more positive even when they are working out at a very high intensity—even close to physical exhaustion. So switch to some pumping music to make your run last longer.5
Following these five steps could help you in increasing your endurance while running. Some expert advice from a professional runner could help, too. So, what are you waiting for?
|↑1||Tsintzas, ORESTIS-KONSTANTINOS, C. L. Y. D. E. Williams, W. E. N. D. Y. Wilson, and J. A. C. K. I. E. Burrin. “Influence of carbohydrate supplementation early in exercise on endurance running capacity.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 28, no. 11 (1996): 1373-1379.|
|↑2||Burgomaster, Kirsten A., Scott C. Hughes, George JF Heigenhauser, Suzanne N. Bradwell, and Martin J. Gibala. “Six sessions of sprint interval training increases muscle oxidative potential and cycle endurance capacity in humans.” Journal of applied physiology 98, no. 6 (2005): 1985-1990.|
|↑3||Swanson, STEPHEN C., and GRAHAM E. Caldwell. “An integrated biomechanical analysis of high speed incline and level treadmill running.”Medicine and science in sports and exercise 32, no. 6 (2000): 1146-1155.|
|↑4||Millet, GREGOIRE P., B. E. R. N. A. R. D. Jaouen, F. A. B. I. O. Borrani, and R. O. B. I. N. Candau. “Effects of concurrent endurance and strength training on running economy and VO~ 2 kinetics.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 34, no. 8 (2002): 1351-1359.|
|↑5||Priest, David-Lee, Costas I. Karageorghis, and NC Craig Sharp. “The characteristics and effects of motivational music in exercise settings: The possible influence of gender, age, frequency of attendance, and time of attendance.” (2004).|