6 Tiny, Trainer-Approved Fitness Tweaks That Can Boost Your Endurance

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Endurance is kind of my thing. As a marathon runner, I've come to love workouts that can go the distance — yep, I'm going for that pun. But with most of the races that typically keep my endurance up canceled, I've found myself in need of a little boost. Sure, I've still been lacing up my run-ready shoes like UA's HOVR™ Phantom 2 Running Shoes ($150) and hitting the streets, but my runs haven't quite felt as powerful as I knew they could.

To help with my endurance lull, I turned to Mauro S. Maietta, a certified personal trainer and district fitness manager at Crunch Fitness, to get his top tweaks for both cardio and strength training that can boost endurance.

Tweaks for strength training:

  • Focus on three to five sets with 15-plus reps per exercise: "Gradually, reduce your rest between sets from 90 seconds to no rest between sets," Maietta said. "Once this becomes too easy, change the exercise or increase the weight for the exercise."
  • Pair exercises in groups of three or more, and train each exercise in succession: "Each week, add an exercise to the group until you can perform your entire routine as one giant set."
  • Change your focus from repetitions to timed sets: Perform an exercise for 30 seconds, 45 seconds in week two, and increase the duration by 15-30 seconds each week, Maietta explained. "Once you get to 90 or 120 seconds per exercise, change it up or increase the intensity!"

Tweaks for cardio training:

  • Focus on the total work time of the cardio bout: Start with 30-45 minutes, and increase by 10-15 minutes each time you perform the workout.
  • Vary your intensity and rest periods: Higher-intensity cardio bouts need longer rest periods. Lower-intensity cardio bouts should get less rest in between.
  • Train your work capacity: Try to accomplish the same distance in less time, Maietta explained. For example, if you are a runner, aim to accomplish your "usual distance" in less time each workout, or try to go further in each run in the same period of time. Compete with yourself, and have fun!

Even if they may seem like small changes, I've found that implementing just one or two whenever I start to feel like I'm plateauing has challenged my body and pushed me in a way I usually feel pushed from my marathon training. In the end, it's been the smallest tweak to my usual running routine that has made a difference and propelled me to make my weekly runs a powerful endurance moment.