How to Increase Stamina for Running

by Sam Ashe-Edmunds

Stamina, also known as endurance, is your ability to perform a physical activity over a period of time. Lifting your maximum weight once is an example of strength. Running a mile or more is an example of stamina. In order to perform at your best during a long-distance run, you'll want to improve your cardiovascular stamina and muscular endurance. Work at an intensity that lets you work longer to improve your stamina.

Step 1

Warm up before each workout by moving your arms and legs at a moderate intensity. Raise your heart rate gradually, increase blood flow to your muscles and stretch your muscles to their comfortable range of motion.

Step 2

Begin with moderate intensity movements if you are new to exercise. Brisk walking, steady bike riding, swimming or skating, or using an exercise machine that has you breathing hard, but not gasping for breath, will help you build your stamina. Raise your effort to a level you can sustain for 15 minutes or longer.

Step 3

Exercise at an aerobic intensity after your warm-up if you regularly exercise. Find your target heart rate for aerobic exercise if you have a heart rate monitor and continue to exercise at that pace for the duration of your workout. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, exercise at an intensity that makes you breathe hard and sweat, but which allows you to talk.

Step 4

Add high-intensity bursts of speed to your training to increase your cardiovascular strength. Work at this pace for 30 to 90 seconds, then recover for approximately two minutes. Add several sprints to aerobic workouts.

Step 5

Time your workouts and measure your distance traveled. Look to see whether you are increasing your capacity to exercise longer, or complete distances in less time. Decrease your pace if you are fatiguing to failure by the end of your workouts and not improving your distance or time. Check your resting heart rate. If it is lower than before you began your workouts, you are improving your cardiovascular stamina.

Step 6

Lift weights or use resistance at approximately 50 percent of your maximum, performing 10 reps of an exercise before moving to the next exercise. Take only a one-minute break between sets, training for 30 minutes or longer. Use weight machines, dumbbells, resistance bands or free weights.

Step 7

Exercise the same muscles in the same way you want to ultimately run. If you will be running outdoors, run outdoors, rather than on a treadmill or indoor track. If you will be running a race that has hills, run hills.

Step 8

Cool down after each workout. Lower your intensity for five minutes or more until your heart rate goes below 100 beats per minute. Stretch the muscles you used during your workout, moving them to their point of comfortable range of motion and holding them for 20 to 30 seconds. Do not stretch to the point of pain or bounce stretch.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.