Building endurance takes time and commitment, but pushing yourself to run further can sometimes feel impossible. If you feel your runs are like climbing a never-ending mountain top, check out these 5 tips to increase your endurance and running distance.
Keep a Slow and Steady Pace
The start of a run is when we have the most energy. This makes it tempting to use it all right off the bat. Although starting your run with a sprint is easy, doing so will likely have you cutting it short.
Instead, keep a slow and steady pace to keep your heart rate and energy levels from maxing out. Like the tale of the tortoise and the hare, slow and steady always wins the race. You can work on speed once you get more comfortable with your running distance.
Increase Distance Gradually
If you’re a runner, you probably have a distance goal. Whether you are looking to run a half or full marathon, triathlon, or want to see how far you can push yourself or anything in between, you must increase your distance gradually and avoid starting with too lofty of a goal.
For example, if you’ve never run a day, starting with a 2 or 3-mile goal will probably push you too hard. Starting with too far a distance than your body is used to can make you more prone to injuries. It can also set you up for frustration, leading to throwing in the towel.
Instead, start slowly at a comfortable distance, even if that distance is only a quarter to half a mile. Slowly increase as you feel comfortable. For example, once you can run a half mile easily, increase by a quarter mile. Then, repeat the process, adding a quarter mile each time.
If you want to see real results, consistency is key. Endurance doesn’t come overnight. Instead, it takes commitment and consistent training.
If you are trying to boost your running distance, run consistently throughout the week. You don’t have to do it every day, but you should lace up your running shoes at least 3 days a week.
If you skip days, weeks, or months, your body doesn’t have an opportunity to get used to the challenges placed on it. Therefore, running will continue to be a challenge, and you won’t see any significant improvements in your performance.
Carbohydrates are our body’s main fuel source. To be sure we have enough energy for a good run, we need to have a good amount of fuel in our tank.
If you are an avid runner, now is the time to ditch the low-carb diet plan. Aim for at least 45-65% of your calories from carbohydrates. This means if you consume a 2,000-calorie diet, you should consume between 225-325 grams of carbs daily. A diet too low in carbs can cause fatigue and poor performance.
The best carb sources for running include whole grains, fruit, starchy veggies (sweet potatoes, peas, squash), yogurt, and legumes. Avoid consuming a large meal right before a run and avoid consuming high-fat and high-fiber foods, as these can slow digestion and cause an upset stomach.
Instead, choose a carb-rich meal 3 hours before a run (specifically if you plan to run for longer than an hour), such as a baked potato with grilled chicken and a dinner roll. If you plan to do a shorter run, choose a small, carb-rich snack 30-60 minutes before, such as a banana or peanut butter toast [1, 2].
Proper hydration is essential for optimal performance, even when running in a cooler climate. For best results, make sure you are getting in water before you start your run.
If you are a long-distance runner, aim to get at least 16 ounces of water in 4 hours before your run and another 8 ounces 10-15 minutes before. Plan to bring fluids with you during your run. If it is a long run, consider bringing electrolytes as well .
Proper hydration with electrolytes can increase exercise endurance and boost recovery for longer, better runs. Be sure to choose a high-quality electrolyte supplement, such as Naked Nutrition’s lemonade electrolytes powder, which also includes low-glycemic carbs from sugar beets to provide a steady energy supply.