Keep Going and Going and Going: How to Increase Your Endurance
Signing up for a distance race is exciting! But if the length's got you worried, it's good to know that endurance is a skill. Just the act of exercising regularly will help you be able to become stronger and exercise for longer, but there are specific ways you can help your body during vigorous or long-lasting workouts. Here are five tips to help build your endurance.
A cup of coffee or tea in the morning doesn't just give you a jolt for the office — it's also a good way to give your workout the same wake-up. Studies have shown that drinking a cup of coffee (or another caffeine drink that imparts one to five milligrams of caffeine per kilo of your body weight) can help you perform your best — meaning you'll be speedier, stronger, and last longer no matter if you're a regular coffee drinker or not.
Slow and Steady
High-intense workouts have their place, but if you are looking to up your endurance, try alternating your days with some "recovery" exercise. You'll be able to work out longer, which will help you build your endurance over time. Start at 40 minutes of running at an easy pace and gradually increase throughout the week until you are at an hour.
Fuel the Right Way
There's nothing worse than not having enough energy to complete a workout, so make sure you fuel correctly beforehand. Foods high in complex carbs are a great pre-workout meal since they translate to sustained energy — just make sure you eat it at least two hours before going for a run. A quick snack of easily digestible carbs and protein works well if you're heading out soon; this low-calorie protein smoothie goes down easy and keeps you energized throughout your run.
Show Your Strength
We've all heard (or preached) the importance of adding strength training to your regimen to build muscles, and it's no joke. Only relying on cardio can lead to muscle breakdown since your body is looking for fuel, which does not make marathon-running material. In addition to fueling your body, make sure you are including 60 to 90 minutes a week of strength training to your regimen to counteract any effects of depletion.
Up That Incline
Running or biking up a hill can be fun or frustrating, but it's a wonderful way to up your calorie burn while building endurance. Increase the incline on your treadmill gradually or add hills to your outdoor route, and you'll be amazed at how easy flat-surface workouts become (and how much longer you can keep going).