Whether you’re an elite marathon runner or starting week 2 of a 5K program, running further and faster are two of the common training goals for people of all fitness levels.
While there’s no hard rule or “one best way” to boost running stamina, there are some general guidelines that you can follow that will help you perform better while making sure that you stay injury-free.
- Start slow and take small steps
Even if you feel ready to bump up your speed and distance, it’s always a smart idea to go slow and try to make incremental gains in your training program. This is true if you’re new to a regular running schedule.
If you’ve been averaging 5-mile runs, don’t bump it up to 7 miles so that you can avoid injury and burnout. Go up in small steps, like increasing by 1 mile each week.
Your progress should be spread over many weeks, allowing time for recovery, but the activity should be getting harder and harder.
- Add strength training to your routine
If you’re not including resistance training workouts, then we advise that you add them to your running program.
Performing some strength training exercises at least 2 to 3 days a week can help improve your running economy.
Plus, increasing the strength of all the muscle group helps reduce the chances of injury. Go for full-body workouts that focuses on the major muscle groups. Perform about 2 to 3 sets per exercise and 8 to 12 repetitions per set.
- Commit to your training
You have to be committed to being consistent with your strength training to increase running stamina.
Your training needs to progress from less total training or less intense training to more total training volume or more intense sessions.
If your running workouts do not progress in volume or intensity over the course of a few months, there will be no progression at all.
- Change rest times and intervals
Instead of simply increasing the number of miles you run each week, you can try limiting recovery time between intervals, while you increase the intensity of the running intervals. These are both are great steps toward building stamina.
Note however that the recovery period both during the workout and after is critical when it comes to avoiding injuries.
To develop speed
- Sprint interval training
Sprint interval training is a high-intensity training used in many sports such as running to help boost your stamina and speed.
There was a study that found that about six sessions of sprint interval training can greatly improve running performance, both endurance and anaerobic in trained runners.
The intervals of work performed should be at 100 percent of your effort, or all-out sprints. The rest periods are then made longer to help with recovery.
- Train to increase your distance
The distance or time of the intervals will be affected by the race distance you are training for.
If you are training for a marathon, your “speed work” may consist of mile repeats. But if the training is for a 1-mile race, the speed work may be repeats of 100-meter, 200 meters, or 300-meter distances.
Top of Form and Bottom of Form
- Slowly increase weekly mileage
The average goal for a beginner should be to slowly increase your mileage while getting stronger with resistance training. Following a training plan will help a beginner build stamina and endurance while reducing the risk of any injury.
Below is a sample of a 5K training plan from Harrison:
Week 1: 4 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 1/4 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
Week 2: 6 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 1/4 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
Week 3: 4 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 1/2 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
Week 4: 3 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 3/4 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
Week 5: 2 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 1 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
Week 6: 2 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 1 1/4 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
Week 7 (recovery): 2 x (walk 1/4-mile, jog 1/2 mile), walk 1/4 mile to cool down
- Try to use heart rate data
If you have access to a heart rate monitor, using this information to help boost your running stamina.
Heart rate monitor data can be critical for beginners. This will help you know how efficient your body is at working hard and recovering quickly.
For 1,600 meters goal
- Increasing running volume
Running 1,600 meters or 1 mile may seem easy, but if you’re racing against the clock, every second would count. And when you consider that a mile or 1,600 meters is an aerobic event, you have to be incredibly fit to run faster.
The best way to get incredibly fit is to run lots of miles each week and progressively increase them over time.
- Focus on you running economy
Your running economy reflects the energy demand of running at a constant submaximal speed. Runners with good economy use less oxygen than runners with poor economy given the same steady-state speed.
So, if you want to become more economical at running a mile pace, you need to run at or near mile pace.
One good way to accomplish this is to try to sometimes run faster and sometimes slower, and then zero in on mile pace as the race nears.
Here is a recommendation on how to do it:
Jog 1 mile easy.
Run 400 meters at 5K race pace.
Walk 200 meters.
Run 400 meters at 3K race pace.
Walk 200 meters.
Run 200 meters at mile race pace.
Walk 200 meters.
6 x 400 meters at mile race pace minus 1 second per lap with a 400-meter walk recovery.
Jog 1 mile easy.
On a treadmill
- Try running on a slight incline
Aside from being indoors, you can apply all of the same training techniques for increasing stamina to your treadmill workouts.
Running gait (technique) tends to be slightly more passive in certain phases on a treadmill because of the absorption of the running surface and belt motor. To mitigate this, try increasing the incline to 0.5 or 1 percent.
- Make adjustments for injuries
If you have impact-related injuries, consider increasing the grade 1 to 3 percent. Pace will have to be slower, but cardio benefit will be the same.
- Stay hydrated
Although hydration is not a specific training strategy, it affects your ability to increase stamina.
Since you lack the cooling effect of the air flowing by your body when you run on a treadmill, try using a fan or running in a facility with air conditioning.
Keeping hydrated before, during, and after your workouts is very important. For some longer sessions, consider consuming carbs and electrolytes while exercising.