How to Increase Running Stamina

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From a biological and evolutionary standpoint, human beings are among the most enduring creatures on the planet. It should come naturally to us to increase running stamina easily. Moreover, according to Daniel E. Lieberman, a Harvard evolutionary biologist, and Dennis M. Bramble, humans can outrun almost any animal. 

“On a hot day, the two scientists wrote, a human could even outrun a horse in a 26.2-mile marathon.”

New York Times, The Human Body Is Built for Distance

So, how come you’re still wondering how to increase speed and stamina for running, especially if you are preparing for a marathon?

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re already a seasoned runner, endurance is a permanent part of building up your skills as a runner. How do you get there?

Every runner has their favorite way to increase running stamina. Some of them are kind enough to share their experience, so here are some tips:

1. Gradual Adaptation

Building your stamina up slowly is essential for all endurance work. This means that your body has time to adapt to the extra stress you are putting it through. It doesn’t matter where you are in your training – patience is the key.

As a beginner, you could take a look at some plans that work with walk-run intervals. For a more advanced runner, the main thing is knowing your goal. If you want speed, you’ll still hit your distance first and then you’ll start speed runs after you’ve come to your distance goal. As a general rule of thumb, any increase in activity that’s more than 10% can cause injuries, so be wary of that.

2. Red Light Therapy and Recovery

You also should be aware that resting and letting your body recover is a huge part of advancing. Without proper recovery, you don’t build up muscle and your body doesn’t get to keep up with your running plan.

Besides the basic building blocks of recovery like eating well, hydrating, stretching and a good night’s sleep, it’s advisable to introduce red light therapy into your running regimen.

For optimal results, it is advisable to use a portable red light therapy device over the major blood vessels on your legs, closest to the surface. Use it an hour before your practice for the best pre-conditioning.

After your run, you should have another application of your red and near red light therapy device, for at least 10 minutes, targeting your overused muscles.

3. Long Runs and Speed Control

With long runs, you are going for distance endurance. This means that you shouldn’t push yourself to the absolute max of your running speed. Measure your time. How fast can you go during a run? 

Take that number and multiply it by 1.25. This is the speed you should do your training runs at – around 80% of your maximum speed. It comes down to being able to speak fairly normally while you run.

Go for a distance before speed approach, that’s a safe rule. It is how you prevent injuries. Most common injuries are caused by pushing too hard, too soon.

4. Mind Your Running Form

How you run is essential. It will keep you from injuries, uncomfortable training processes, and pain in general. 

Mind the posture of:

  • Your Head: Keep it leveled and make sure your chin is in a neutral position, not facing up or down. Relax your face as you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Your Shoulders: Run tall, keeping your back straight. You should run without tension in your shoulders as you keep them positioned in line with your hips.
  • Your Arms. Loosely swing your arms at a ninety-degree angle, keeping them on the side of your body and not crossing them towards the center of your chest. Also, keep your hands relaxed while running.
  • Your Knees: They should keep a gentle bend at all times and land your feet directly under your body. Extending too far might cause pain or injuries after a while.

Stick to these and you’ll improve your stamina for running without causing overuse injuries.


5. Plyometrics

Wondering how to increase speed and stamina for running with plyometrics? This type of exercise will help you improve your response time. By building core muscles, speed, and using most of your body for every movement, you’ll find you can suddenly lift your feet faster. Your muscles will tire less easily, too.

Some examples of plyometrics suitable for when you are running for stamina are: jump roping, skipping drills, box jumps, one-legged hops, and high-knee sprints through a “rope ladder”. 

Try to do these exercises at the fastest pace you can manage. The idea is to get your feet off the ground, as quickly as possible. If you have the option, pick a soft surface to protect your joints.

6. Speed Runs

Speed runs are what comes after building stamina for long distances. There are different ways to approach how you improve running stamina in order to get faster.

Tempo runs: you can do these once a week for about two months. Twenty minutes is perfect to start with. The training days around your tempo runs should be lighter, that way you have enough recovery time and your body will adapt to the speed increase. That’s where the focus is. Add five minutes to the tempo run every week.

Interval training, strides, and Fartlek are other methods that you can use just as well. The great thing is that as soon as you have your basic endurance for a certain distance you can start speed training. So, speed training is something runners can do no matter what level they are at.

7. Consistency

You’ll have to train consistently to get stronger muscles and it’s also part of how you improve stamina for running. Regular training sessions, 3-4 times a week increase your endurance and your running economy.

When your runs get to be 30 minutes or longer and you train at least 3 times a week that’s when your running economy goes up. That means the amount of oxygen your muscles can use when moving gets higher. More oxygen is more stamina for all types of runs. The amount of training you do and the intensity of your training both influence your running economy and because of that also your endurance.

In order to increase running stamina, you should work on your running form, make sure your increase in training intensity is gradual, add plyometrics to your running plan and organize your long runs and your tempo runs adequately. All these elements will help you increase your running stamina if you do them correctly. 

However, in order to increase the efficacy of these training elements, as well as your running stamina, you should test how red and near-infrared therapy affects your body. The results may surprise you. Red light therapy can improve and facilitate all the necessary processes that your exercise regimen triggers. In other words – it makes it better and faster.

Explore how FlexBeam can help you get the results you want.