Did you make a New Year’s resolution to run a marathon? Or do you just want to last longer when you go out for a jog?
Running is one of the simplest and most effective workouts you can do. Here’s how you can build up your stamina, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been running consistently for years.
1. Develop Proper Running Technique
Yes, there is a correct way to run. While running is a fairly natural movement, you may have bad habits that are holding you back. The main things to focus on when you run are to maintain good posture and keep your feet underneath you. Good posture involves staying tall and straight, with the chest up and a slight lean forward. For your feet, make sure you aren’t overextending yourself while trying to lengthen your stride. Your stride is the result of your legs pushing off the ground, not your legs reaching forward.
2. Use Gradual Adaptation
It’s a mistake you see often, especially with people who are new at running – too much, too soon. Don’t push yourself too hard. The human body is meant to slowly but surely adapt to what you make it do. It’s hard to jump from running 1 mile to running 5 miles, but it’s easier to push yourself to 1 ½ miles, and then 2, and then 3, and so on.
3. Clean Up Your Diet
To perform at your best, you need to provide your body with the best food possible. Avoid or at least limit foods and beverages that impair athletic performance, including junk food and alcohol. Make sure your diet has plenty of lean protein sources, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t forget to drink your water either – at least 2 liters per day, but 1 gallon is better, especially if you’re running frequently.
4. Set a Running Schedule
Creating a schedule helps you stay consistent with your running and track your results. Switch up your routine by running different distances and intensity levels. Try a long, low-intensity jog one day, and medium to high-intensity interval training another day. Make sure you also schedule the occasional rest day to avoid aches, pains, and injuries.
5. Use Your Head
Don’t discount how important your mind is when it comes to athletic performance. Your central nervous system is often the first thing to quit on you when exercising gets tough. Train yourself to push past your mental breaking point when you run, as you’re capable of much more than you realize. One great way to push yourself is by coming up with a mantra that you repeat to yourself when you start feeling tired.