How to increase stamina for running to build aerobic capacity, strength, and speed
One of the longest traditions in the world of running is to run lots and lots of miles to get faster and improve race times.
But so many miles takes a lot of time and takes a toll on your body.
What if you could increase stamina for running endurance by running fewer miles and doing more intense speed work?
Even with limited time, you are able to combine endurance miles with intensity for the perfect blend of training stimulus without building too much fatigue – and avoiding injury.
Polarized training can provide best of both worlds
With the polarized training, the model that Simple Endurance Coaching uses, runners still spend training time in the endurance zone.
But the volume of mileage is significantly reduced.
Recent research at the University of Northern Iowa bears this out. Individuals who ran approximately 50 miles per week did not finish a marathon any faster than runners who averaged 40 miles per week at a similar intensity.Runner’s World
Runners get faster by doing speed work – intervals that focus on building running efficiency, aerobic capacity, and muscle endurance.
The speed work improves VO2 max (your capacity to use oxygen).
But if we spend all our time doing the slow miles, we’ll be too fatigued – or hurt – to do quality speed work.
The goal is to do as much intensity as possible in the intensity sessions.
That’s how to increase stamina for running: build capacity with long runs, build speed with intensity.
Plus we usually avoid those middle-ground tempo runs that can build up a lot of fatigue while not being hard enough to stimulate as much VO2 improvement as hard interval work.
A running endurance training plan brings big benefits down the road
Endurance runs are still important.
But we don’t need to do 60-70 miles week to be fast in races.
In fact, some research indicates that doing only three runs a week can lead to significantly reduced marathon times.
These three runs include one long endurance run, one moderate-paced run, and one speed day. Two other days are dedicated to cross-training, particularly strength training.
If you are a beginning runner, or someone who’s doing less than 20 miles a week, adding more mileage will help build your fitness and aerobic capacity.
But if you’re already running more than 40 miles a week, then adding more will not help.
How to increase stamina for running is the balance of speed work and endurance.
That balance, plus strength training and yoga, is the reason to have a running training plan for endurance.
Not just miles but lifting heavy things and intervals
Recent research is suggesting that in addition to putting in the run training, lifting heavy things and doing intervals also builds endurance.
Building strength by lifting heavy things also increases the muscle’s capacity to do more by creating more mitochondria AND making them more efficient at producing energy.
And HIIT sessions kicks up the endurance adaption to exercise even more.
The downside of both strength training and HIIT is that you can’t do them every day. Your body can’t recover.
Lots of endurance miles, HIIT sessions, strength training, and recovery are the key elements of polarized training at Simple Endurance.
Only recovery makes the adaptations possible
There is an adage for training: gains are made when you sleep.
Recovery days, yoga, proper and adequate fueling , and hydration are all key elements to rebuild our muscles and make them stronger that before.
Start off slowly and build your mileage up gradually.
Imagine that your body is a house, and training and other stressors are the weather and elements. You begin with a house made of straw, and your first bout of training is like a gust of wind. It knocks out a few walls and so you build them back up. If you have the means, you’ll probably build the new walls from brick. When the next bout of exercise comes along, your walls are more resilient, and this time nothing crumbles. You keep training, and as you do, you increase your training load, or stress, by lifting more weights, running more miles, or throwing more pitches.Christie Aschwander, Good to Go
How do I create a running endurance training plan?
You need to go slow to get fast.
Then you need to go really hard to get faster.
A good training plan includes at least one long slow day, one or two interval days, some strength training, yoga and/or mobility work, and recovery/ rest.
How that kind of schedule works together to build up to your target event or adventure goal is what I do.
I build your program focused on the goals, building your fitness so that you’re ready to go by event day.
Do you have questions? Want to talk more about how a program might look for you? Fill out the form below and let’s talk!