How to Build Endurance for Running 1

How to Build Endurance for Running

Building up your endurance for running is a challenge, particularly if you haven’t done much running in the past. It can take time to build up your stamina, to strengthen the muscles used and to allow your joints to become used to the strain that running can place on your body.

The most effective way for new runners to build their endurance is to split short periods of running with periods of walking. This allows you to increase your stamina and endurance without placing too much strain on your body, as well as providing encouraging incremental improvements to keep you motivated.

The Couch to 5K plan at Cool Running is ideal for beginners looking to build up their endurance as it provides a gradual increase in running time over the course of 9 weeks. They even have a smartphone app to help you keep track of your progress, so it’s a fantastic way to stay focused and motivated throughout the program.

 

Week Workout 1 Workout 2 Workout 3
1 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
2 Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 90 seconds of jogging and two minutes of walking for a total of 20 minutes.
3 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then do two repetitions of the following:

  • Jog 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Walk 200 yards (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 400 yards (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 400 yards (or three minutes)
4 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 2-1/2 minutes)
  • Jog 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Walk 1/8 mile (or 90 seconds)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
5 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog two miles (or 20 minutes) with no walking.
6 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 3/4 mile (or 8 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1/2 mile (or 5 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then:

  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
  • Walk 1/4 mile (or 3 minutes)
  • Jog 1 mile (or 10 minutes)
Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2-1/4 miles (or 22 minutes) with no walking.
7 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes).
8 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 2.75 miles (or 28 minutes).
9 Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes). Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes). The final workout! Congratulations! Brisk five-minute warmup walk, then jog 3 miles (or 30 minutes).

 

Once you can run for 30 minutes without stopping, you’ve reached a pretty solid base from which to increase your endurance. From here it’s a case of getting more miles on your feet and adding more time to your runs, as well as challenging your system with different speeds and terrain.

Getting to 10K

To progress to 10K you should look to add a little more time to your runs, gradually increasing your time over a period of several weeks. 3 runs a week will be enough to build up your stamina without placing excess stress on the joints while still allowing you to progress at a fairly brisk pace. Take at least a days rest between runs, and we recommend a Monday/Wednesday/Friday split to allow an extra day to recover from the bigger 3rd run.

A typical training program would be:

Week 1

1st run – Run for 30 mins continuously

2nd run – Run for 30 mins continuously

3rd Run – Run for 3 miles, recording how long it took you to complete

 

Week 2

1st run – Run for 30 mins continuously

2nd run – Run for 30 mins continuously

3rd Run – Run for 40-45 mins continuously

 

Week 3

1st run – Run for 30 mins continuously

2nd run – Run for 40 mins continuously

3rd Run – Run for 4 miles, recording how long it took you to complete

 

Week 4

1st run – Run for 30 mins continuously

2nd run – Run for 40 mins continuously

3rd Run – Run for 50 mins continuously

 

Week 5

1st run – Run for 45 mins continuously

2nd run – Run for 45 mins continuously

3rd Run – Run for 55 mins continuously

 

Week 6

1st run – Run for 45 mins continuously

2nd run – Run for 30 mins continuously

3rd Run – Run for 6 miles, recording how long it took you to complete

 

Going Beyond 10k

By the time they’ve completed their first 10K run most people have fallen in love with running. The sense of achievement people feel when hitting this milestone is pretty addictive, and that sense of achievement means it’s only natural to look to take it to the next level.

Once your distance goes beyond 10K, several factors become more important than before. You’ll need to devote even more time to your running, as putting more miles on the clock will take up more of your day. Training runs will typically take up more than an hour, which can be a sizeable time investment for many people.

Nutrition becomes more prominent as you look to increase your stamina and distance, both in terms of fuelling your runs and allowing you to recover properly from your workouts. A 60 minute run can burn close to 1000 calories, so you’ll need to increase your caloric intake to make up for this deficit. While the substantial calorie burn may seem to appeal from a weight loss perspective, not fueling your body properly will cause your performance to suffer and can lead to extreme fatigue and injuries.

Injury prevention is also a large part of longer distance running, and the joints in particular are placed under levels of stress they won’t be used to. Supplementing your running with low impact exercise is hugely beneficial to continue developing your cardiovascular fitness levels without placing additional stress on the joints. Cycling, elliptical trainers and rowing machines are the go-to gym equipment for low impact cardio.

Some resistance training is also recommended to help develop all round strength. Core work in particular will make a significant difference to your running, so look to supplement your running program with some resistance exercises to further increase your overall fitness levels.

Running is an easy exercise to fall in love with, and it can be easy to get carried away and push your body too far. By slowly progressing over a period of weeks and months your stamina will improve, and you’ll learn what your body can handle and what it’s capable of.