Different ways of how to increase running stamina

Different ways of how to increase running stamina
  • PublishedMay 8, 2020

By the time you finish reading this article, you should have learned how to increase running stamina.

If you can try to look back, there are so many things you could not do before. However, after some consistent intended / un intended activity you can now do them.

When you were young, you could not lift a 20-liter Jerrican. But now you can ably do that. What could have happened?

Remember the very first time you went to the gym; you could not even lift a 20kg kettlebell. But you can probably lift more than that now. 

Just like running, the distance you find easy now was challenging some time back. This means that you have increased your running stamina. But how did this come about? You probably didn’t take note of what you did, which is the reason for this article, to show you how to increase running stamina.

Before we learn how to increase running stamina, let us first know what running stamina is.

What is running stamina? 

What is stamina in the first place?

Stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort.

In the same line, running stamina is the ability to sustain running for an extended period.

Increasing running stamina has no quick fixes. It comes from several factors including consistency, your mind, the running equipment that you use, and more. 

The different ways of how to increase running stamina include; consistency, including tempo runs, eating before running, drinking enough water, run with friends, incorporating strength training, making a training plan, cross-training, interval training, tackle small steps, stay hydrated.

What causes low running stamina?

Since stamina is related to the mind and body, low running stamina can be attributed to quite many reasons. Below are some of the causes of low running stamina.

1. Medical reasons

Healthy problems such as indigestion, tooth decay, or any other form of chronic disease can seriously degrade your stamina.

2. Nutritional causes

Without proper dieting or eating regularly, your body will fall short of the energy supply. This means that you may have fatigue or general body weakness and therefore unable to sustain any form of physical activity.

3. Aging

Image by Philippe Fuchs from Pixabay

Muscle strength is preserved up to about 45 years of age. Beyond this, more skeletal muscles begin to decline. This, in turn, affects strength and output related to physical performance.

4. Exercise-induced Asthma

If the lack of your stamina is due to shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing, this is exercise-induced asthma. This is brought about by airways reaction to cold or warm air, moist or dry air, or organic plant pollutants.

Below are the different ways of how to increase running stamina

1. Make a training plan

As we all know that; planned work is halfway accomplished work. When you are following a particular plan, gauging your self is very easy. You can easily assess your accomplishments over time. If you don’t achieve the goal as per the plan, you can be motivated to come back another day and this can help your stamina.

2. Begin by small steps

If you want to increase stamina and run longer distances, increase the distances gradually from shorter distances to relatively long distances. You won’t be able to go from running two miles to immediately going for 6-miles. Increase your mileage by no more than 10 percent each week. This way you can build long-term endurance.

3. Run with friends

Being in the company of others allows you to tolerate discomfort which motivates you to work harder. When you hit the road in the group, you tend not to feel how hard or long the distance maybe. Friends also encourage each other along the way.

4. Drink enough water

how to increase running stamina

Before you start on your run, make sure you are properly hydrated. Poor hydration affects numerous systems in your body. To avoid slowing down or stopping mid-way the journey, drink enough fluids before the exercise. You can also carry a bottle of water along with you.

5. Fuel before exercise (eat before)

Eating before running makes you full, suppresses hunger, and gives your body the energy you need to complete the running exercise. As a runner, you should make 55%-65% of your calorie intake from carbs since carbs are the number one source of energy.

Go for complex carbs like whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal and avoid refined carbohydrates and sugary foods which normally spike blood sugar levels.

6. Incorporate tempo runs

The type of running workouts matters a lot when it comes to increasing running stamina. Tempo runs are short but at a quick pace. This means that when you are used to running at a faster pace, running at a slower pace will be much easier and it will make you a strong runner.

7. Be consistent

To increase your running stamina, you have to train consistently. Consistent training will increase your aerobic capacity as well as strengthening your muscles. Train on a regular schedule so that the body gets adapted to working harder.

Also as you run, aim at 3 to 4 days per week for 30 minutes and make some sessions longer

8. Cross-training

First of all, if you are a beginner, doing the same type of workout day in day out may seem boring. But when you incorporate other exercises like swimming, biking, the running sport becomes interesting and you may end up running for more days and longer distances.

Incorporating cardio will improve endurance and stamina.  In a week, have one or two days of swimming and Tabata workouts.

9. Add strength training

Strength training helps to strengthen the muscles in your legs that support your entire body during the running exercises. This will, in turn, make you develop stamina and endurance. Sessions like squat jumps, push-ups, and weight machines are the ways you can strengthen the muscles.

10. Get the right running gear

In most cases, the type of workout gear plays a great role as far as stamina and endurance are concerned. You may not need to deck out in the latest or trending exercise gear but instead, have the right type of workout gear.

A good pair of running shoes will keep you safe and comfortable on the road. This means that you are most likely to finish your race with the right pair of shoes.  

11. Focus on your breathing

Many of you only know breathing practices when it comes to yoga. However, the way you breathing during the running exercise has a very big impact on your stamina and endurance.

Breathing boosts your energy, reduces stress, and eventually increases endurance. As you increase the running speed, you must increase the breathing speed. Failure to do so, the energy supply to your cells is cut off making you fatigued sooner than it should have been

12. Do interval training

Interval training is a type of high intensive training used in many sports. Having short bursts of speed running followed by longer recovery periods will improve your running stamina and strengthen your muscles.

According to a study published in the journal of strength and conditioning research, it was established that six sessions of sprint interval training improved the running performance, endurance and anaerobic in trained runners

Find the best running sneakers for women from our article here.

How long does it take to build running stamina?

There are no quick fixes for running stamina. To increase your running stamina you have to be committed, patient, and consistent with your running workouts. This implies that you will run multiple times per week for several weeks to get to the desired fitness level. 

It will roughly take 10 days to 4 weeks to benefit from a run.  This, however, varies from one individual to another depending on some factors; including whether one is a beginner or not.

What to eat to increase stamina for running?


What you eat before workouts, is your fuel. The body needs the energy to enable growth and repair of tissues, to maintain body temperature and to fuel physical activity.

But you need to fuel the body with the right type of food; otherwise, the wrong food will make you sluggish and reduce efficiency during the running. 

With the right type of food, you can increase your running stamina. Nutrients like complex carbohydrates, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and vitamins are the different categories of foods you need to boost your energy so that the body can endure challenging running exercises. 

Below is a list of food that can give your body energy to increase the running stamina.  

1. Complex carbs

Carbohydrates ensure that the glycogen stores are full to provide abundant energy. These include;

  • Whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, wild rice, barley, and faro
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn 
  • Beans and legumes like lentils, kidney beans, and chickpeas

2. Easy to digest proteins

During the running, we break down the muscle tissues. The proteins speed up the recovery time and improve muscle repairThese include;

  • Nuts
  • Greek yogurt
  • A slice of turkey
  • Soy milk
  • Hard-boiled eggs

3. Fat

While glycogen is used for short and high-intensive exercise, fat is a source of fuel for longer and moderate to low –intensity exercise. 

  • Chia seeds
  • Avocado
  • Cheese
  • Dark chocolate
  • Nuts

4. Hydration

Proper hydration is important for optimal health and maximum athletic performance. Drink enough water the day before a race

Does stamina decrease with age?

Muscle strength is preserved up to about 45 years of age. Beyond this, more skeletal muscles begin to decline. This, in turn, affects strength and output related to physical performance.

Also, our bodies use oxygen less efficiently as we age. This decreases our ability to maintain aerobic fitness.

Therefore as we grow older, endurance, strength, and flexibility gradually decrease and this directly affects your running stamina. 

However, stamina decreasing with age doesnot mean that older people are un able to increase their physical activity. Increased physical activity will always help you feel younger and counter age related decline in stamina.

Always remember to start with small steps and make reasonable increaments. Avoid forcing your body as it doesn’t function the same way as when you were 20.

Does alcohol kill your running stamina?

Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Alcohol is a real stamina killer when it comes to workouts. Alcohol disorganizes your nervous system and affects the coordination and activation of muscle fibers.

Just like caffeine can wake it up, alcohol can seriously slow down the coordination of your nervous system. These effects can last for a couple of hours if not till the next day plus the dehydration. 

If you are expecting a long run, bike ride, or training session, lay off the bottle the night before, do some good training and prepare for an endurance event like a marathon.

Bottom line

There is no quick fix of running stamina. As you work toward increasing your running stamina, remember that results require commitment, patience, and consistency.  

Remember to fuel hours before exercise since the body needs the energy to sustain the workouts.


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