Increasing your running endurance will take time and consistency. Whether your goal is to build up to your first 10k, hit your first double-figure mileage or train for a half or full marathon, the process is the same.
You’ll need to consistently build your aerobic base and increase your aerobic capacity (how much oxygen your muscles can use). The key to running further without injury is to build up slowly and not get caught up in the temptation to overtrain, even if you feel good.
Speed follows endurance – so start slowly and give your body time to get used to the added stress and impact of long distance running.
Follow these 3 tips to increase run endurance:
Find the right footwear
If you’re starting to run further and build cardio endurance, finding the right footwear and getting your running gait analysed is key. Longer distance running puts more stress and impact on the joints so feeling fully supported in your footwear will help you to run comfortably for longer, protecting you from injury.
Many running shops offer a gait analysis service, typically on a treadmill where you’re recorded whilst running in your natural style. Watching back the video will identify how your body moves when your feet strike the ground and whether you over or under pronate, or have a neutral stance.
If you pronate in either direction, you may be recommended stability shoes that provide specific cushioning to control the pronation. If your running gait is neutral, you’ll be recommended a neutral shoe.
A full gait analysis takes around 15-20 minutes and is usually free so it’s definitely worth getting done before purchasing running shoes.
Don’t run before you can… run! Increase your weekly volume slowly over time.
Tip number two to increase your running endurance is to build your weekly distance up slowly and don’t jump straight into more than your body can handle.
In a three week block, as an example, you would increase your long run by only one or two miles or km each week, to get your body used to run longer distances. You should also look at your whole weekly volume over the three-week period – i.e. running a total of 10k in week one, 12 in week two, 15 in week three, and so on.
You might feel like you can run further each time but don’t be tempted to ramp it up too soon, building up slowly is the best way to prevent injury or overtraining, and ensure you’re able to recover properly after your sessions.
Following a structured running training plan towards your goal will help with this. If you want help putting together a plan, get in touch!
Pace yourself – it’s not a sprint!
If you’re used to running shorter, faster runs like 5k or interval sessions and you’re going out for your first long run, you’ll need to slow down. It’s really important to start your long runs slowly to avoid burning out over the distance.
The pace of your long run should be an ‘easy pace – one where you can comfortably chat to your running partner at around 60-70 percent of your 5k pace. If you’ve got a heart rate monitor that’s in zone two, and you shouldn’t be feeling too out of breath.
Start those runs slowly, with a gentle pace, and tick off the miles as you go.
And remember, not every run will be a long one. Runners World recommends your long runs should comprise 20-25 percent of your total weekly volume, with the other shorter sessions incorporating hills and speed.
If you’ve got a running event coming up and you want to get ready, or if you just want to start running longer distances for the first time, get in touch with us and book your first session for free!