Are you an avid runner, or marathon junkie? Running is one of the most energy-intensive exercise options around, making it a great way to stay fit and healthy.
Unlike leisurely jogging, running requires a greater effort from your heart, muscles, and lungs. If you’re new to running, you could be making some rookie mistakes that put your body under unnecessary pressure, reducing your stamina.
Regardless of whether you’re an experienced runner or running for leisure, you’ll always be striving for better stamina. Here’s how you can perfect your running technique and increase your stamina on your next run.
To an untrained eye, running might seem to be a fairly straightforward exercise. Simply pop on your running shoes and take one step after another in quick strides. Simple right? But if you’re new to long-distance running, it’s important to think about how to pace yourself, maintain your technique and conserve energy.
For complete beginners, it’s best to start by walking for about 10 to 30 minutes each day. Once you can walk for 30 minutes without feeling out of breath, add one to two-minute running intervals. This will help to increase your endurance. Over time, try increasing the running duration to about 30 continuous minutes.
There’s no quick fix or shortcut to increasing stamina for running. Training your body slowly and steadily is the best approach to avoid injuries and build up your cadence.
While running, try making these simple adjustments to conserve your energy and keep the muscles from exerting maximum effort.
A tempo run is a sustained effort run that builds up your body’s ability to run faster for longer periods of time. This allows your body to build lactate threshold, which helps to strengthen your muscle endurance.
A running economy is defined as the oxygen cost of running a certain distance at submaximal velocity. Confused? Simply put, it’s how much oxygen your body needs to run at a certain pace. The running economy is being studied as an important factor that explains changes in running performance. Understanding it can help answer the question of how to increase your stamina while running.
One factor of the running economy is stride length and frequency. A study found that on average, a trained runner’s optimal stride length and frequency is a minimal 3% faster or 3% slower than what they prefer. Even when they’re tired, trained runners produce a stride frequency similar to when they are at their best.
In comparison, beginner runners tend to have a larger difference between their preferred and optimal stride, at 8%. This suggests that experienced runners can manipulate the length and frequency of their stride in a way that sticks close to their optimal range despite fatigue.
If you’re a beginner runner, aim to work towards a cadence that doesn’t burn you out too quickly or slow you down. Hot tip: find a song that has a beat you feel great running to, and use this to help regulate your stride.
Another factor of the running economy is the amount by which your torso moves upwards with every step you take. A study has shown that keeping this movement to a minimum slightly improves the running economy. It is believed that this lowers energy usage, since the body is performing less work against gravity. That’s why you see professional sprinters or runners keeping their torsos locked in a position throughout their run!
Several other factors may influence a person’s running economy, but there is no one-size-fits-all approach. What may work for one person may not necessarily work for you. If you want personalised advice to improve physical performance, consider consulting a coach or fitness expert.
One of the best answers to “how to increase stamina for running?” is to add strength or weight training to your overall running programme. Runners can benefit from improving muscular strength, stamina and endurance with targeted exercises or weights. Weight training and hill runs can also help improve your speed and help you run longer.
Running works out the lower body muscles: hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and quads. It also involves the core muscles. That’s why it helps to incorporate exercises that target these key muscle groups. When done properly, strength training will not only preserve muscle mass, but also strengthen bones and protect joints. It can also contribute to better balance and reduce the risk of injury.
Drinking plenty of liquids sounds like a no-brainer, but how much water do you need exactly? It helps to understand the science behind hydration.
As you pick up the pace while running, your rate of heat production increases. Sweat evaporation is the primary way in which your body cools itself. In other words, you need to replace the fluids lost by drinking a sufficient amount of liquids.
Professional athletes drink about 200-800mL/hour to ensure there’s enough liquid available in their bodies. At the same time, you don’t want to be drinking excessive water, because it ends up sloshing around your stomach. As a rule of thumb, drink according to what science calls “the dictates of thirst”, which is no more than 400-800 mL/hour.
In addition to short-term strategies that you can try before and during your workout, you may also want to invest in a holistic health plan that optimises the effects of your healthy choices.
Here are some supplements you can pair with a healthy lifestyle and diet to help improve your running stamina:
Iron is an important mineral in our body that supports energy production processes. Having sufficient iron in the body maintains and supports ATP energy release activity, so you are able to kickstart your day’s run after being in a less active state at work, school or at home pre-exercise.
Besides helping to regulate energy production, iron also maintains energy levels. This is important for maintaining a steady pace while you’re running. Along with extra training and experience, you can improve your endurance and run for longer distances.
Iron is not naturally produced by our bodies, so we consume it mainly from foods like meats and seafood, and plant-based food such as nuts, beans, vegetables, and grains. Men are recommended to take 8 mg of iron per day, while women and adolescent girls have a higher recommended daily intake of 18 mg per day to support the loss of iron during menstruation.
Check out Vitable’s iron supplement to support your health goals.
*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb in traditional Indian medicine — its most valuable therapeutic properties include promoting physical endurance, which is needed for you to get through daily activities, including exercise. It's also known to improve muscle strength.
By incorporating ashwagandha in your daily routine, you can support your body in hitting your running goals, even during the colder months when your body’s energy levels are naturally lower.
Traditionally, ashwagandha is consumed via mixing its powdered form with food or turning it into a capsule. Vitable’s ashwagandha extract uses only the root without the leaves — providing a full spectrum of benefits.
If you push your body too hard after running, you may want to consider magnesium, which can help reduce mild muscle spasms and decrease muscle tension. Magnesium is essential for maintaining healthy muscles, bones, and nerves as well as supporting energy production.
Although it’s not naturally produced by the body, it is abundant in green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Magnesium supports energy production by breaking down the nutrients we get from the food we eat (especially glucose), and converting them into energy that our body can use.
Incorporate Vitable’s magnesium supplement into your daily routine for extra help with energy production and muscle relaxation.
B complex is a group of vitamins that play an important role in optimal body function, including energy production, storage, and release. Vitable’s B complex supplement is an essential vitamin composed of thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12).
All eight B vitamins contribute to our health in different ways, but together, they have a critical role in supporting energy production and maintaining energy levels. Adding vitamin B complex to your daily vitamin intake can help boost your energy for running.
Also known as carnitine, ACL, or L-carnitine, this energy-boosting amino acid has to be present in ample amounts in our body for it to maintain and support energy production and levels. Good sources of carnitine are meats, fish, and dairy products. Vitable’s acetyl L-carnitine supplement supports muscle performance and endurance, in addition to supporting brain and heart health.
Although vitamin C is best known for its role in strengthening immunity, it is also needed for supporting energy production. Aside from supporting immune health, vitamin C also supports your general health and wellbeing, as well as bone health. The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits and vegetables.
Vitable’s vitamin C supplement supports energy production and healing of minor tissue injuries.
Vitamin B12 is specifically in charge of breaking down fats and carbohydrates during the process of converting food into energy, and using these to maintain and support the energy levels of the body.
Vitable’s vitamin B12 supplement can support energy levels, convert food into energy, and support energy production. Additionally, it can support calorie burning to help you achieve your weight goals through running.
Aside from supplements, you can also eat more meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and foods with high nutritional yeast, to get the vitamin B12 your body needs to maintain your energy levels while you’re out for a run.
While running has multiple benefits, it can take its toll on an unprepared body. You should take necessary steps to improve your strength before running, and embark on a more holistic approach to your body’s physical development that may include supplements.
If you’re looking for personalised vitamins, look no further than Vitable. We offer customised multivitamin subscription packs, depending on your needs and health goals. All you have to do is complete a short online quiz, and you’ll get a vitamin combination personalised to your unique health needs (from over 1.2 million possible combinations) — how amazing is that!
Get home-compostable daily packs delivered straight to your doorstep monthly, for fuss-free ease in getting your vitamin intake sorted. Made from premium quality ingredients backed by science and proudly made in Australia, there’s no reason to say no to Vitable.
*Always read the label and follow directions for use. If you experience any symptoms or if symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.