Have you caught the running bug or found yourself reaching for new PRs? Congrats! Welcome to a journey that promises to push your limits, inspire growth, and make you one of those people who say, “I think I’ll go for a run” like it’s a stroll in the park.
But let’s be honest for a second: while you may have all the motivation in the world, your stamina might need a boost.
So, here’s the playbook to power up your running endurance, speed, and distance:
Find a Plan & Stick To It
You wouldn’t bake a cake without a recipe, right? The same applies to running.
Whether you’re aiming for a 5k, a marathon, or just a new personal best, a structured plan can be your game-changer. Not only does a plan progressively build your endurance and speed, but it also takes the guesswork out of training.
Consistency is key. Set your goals, find a plan tailored to them, and lace up your shoes.
Don’t forget about incorporating weightlifting into your routine; it’s a must. Heavy resistance training is going to be most beneficial, lifting nearly maximal loads (think 90% of the max you can lift for one rep) can amplify the benefits.
Whether you choose to incorporate heavy resistance training or plyometrics, stretching the training period to around 10-14 weeks for weights and 8-10 weeks for plyometrics showed the best outcomes for performance (1).
Nourish Before & After You Lace Up
Like a car, your body needs the right kind of fuel to perform at its best.
Pre-training, you should be having something that’s low fat and low fiber. Consider something simple like nonfat Greek yogurt with berries and honey, or a small granola bar if it’s closer to training (2).
Post-run, refuel with a mix of protein and carbs to help with muscle recovery. A smoothie with spinach, berries, dates, milk (non-dairy option if preferred), and a scoop of protein powder? Perfect! Looking for a complete meal? Opt for a serving of protein, rice or sweet potatoes, and a serving of vegetables.
Sip Electrolytes and Stay Hydrated
Do you remember how we talked about fuel? Hydration is just as important, especially during those long runs or on hot days, replenishing lost electrolytes is crucial.
Losing more than 2% of your body weight in sweat can cause your performance to suffer. Remember, we all sweat differently, so weigh yourself before and after exercise to figure out your sweat rate. While exercising, drinks with electrolytes and carbs can be a game-changer compared to just water(3).
This is why an electrolyte supplement, like the clean electrolyte powder from Naked Nutrition, can be beneficial for supporting your endurance. Not only does it help maintain a balance of electrolytes, but it also keeps those cramps at bay. Say goodbye to dehydration and hello to the extra mile!
Stretch and Recover Like a Pro
If running is the party, recovery is the after-party. And trust us, you don’t want to miss it. Incorporate stretching into your daily routine, focusing on your legs and core. Not only does it reduce the risk of injuries, but it also improves flexibility and aids recovery.
Every week, set aside a day for active recovery – think yoga or even a light swim. And while you’re at it, treat yourself to a massage or a foam rolling session.
Mental Fortitude: Believe You Can!
Yes, muscles and endurance play a massive role, but your mindset? That’s your secret weapon. Visualize your goals.
When the going gets tough, or you find yourself frustrated, take a moment to reflect and remember why you set out to reach these goals in the first place.
Consider creating a playlist that pumps you up and find a mantra that you can keep in the forefront of your mind for extra motivation.