How To Build Better Running Stamina

In running, stamina is the name of the game.  Stamina – or endurance, basically – is your body’s ability to keep it going as the miles get long and the day gets short.  Building up stamina, then, is the key to a strong running program. Here are two running-based approaches to help you build up your aerobic capacity.

The Traditional View: Long And Slow

Those who grew up running a couple of decades ago were probably taught that the best way to build up endurance and stamina is the long and slow distance approach, or LSD.

This approach calls for getting out there and running as many miles as possible. The more, the merrier.  Of course, not everyone can run 80-90 miles a week – and doing so, for most of us, is probably not safe or efficient.  But, the general idea is that you put a lot of miles under your belt at a steady pace and stamina develops.

This used to be essentially the be-all, end-all of long-distance exercise programs, and is still used today, such as in a treadmill 10K training program for runners. But, there are more steps you can take.

Adding In Short And Fast

A program to build endurance and stamina needs to incorporate a solid base of distance running.  You need that mileage base to give your body the energy and stamina it needs to propel itself through a training regimen and a race.  But, you need to take your game to another level if you want to truly add to your endurance.

Interval training is one way you can do precisely this.  Interval training has been proven to be effective in increasing your VO2 max, which is a key measurement of running stamina.  It works because with each interval, your body operates at a higher level for a short amount of time than it would ever reach during a long and slow run.

You can see the benefit.  The more effort you use in your training, the more effort you will be able to use during a race.  It’s as simple as that.  Once you have a solid base of miles under your belt, you can branch out and incorporate interval training workouts into your routine.

Combining both approaches gives you a more well-rounded program.  Plus, intervals help you slim down by burning fat at a higher rate than long and slow running.  So, if you need to kill two birds with one stone, then short and fast should be mixed in with long and slow to build running stamina.

What are some ways you have developed running stamina other than the two running approaches I talked about?

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