Secrets to Increase Running Endurance: Get Past the Sucking Wind

You’ve finally conquered one distance, which obviously means you wouldn’t spend time getting better at it, but instead dive right in to a longer race!

This is the bizarre world of running and part of why I love it. Challenges never end.

Thus leading to the next question “how do I increase running endurance?” Why can you crush 5 miles, but not 6? Why do you fly through 10 miles, but need two weeks to recover from 13?

Let’s start with what is endurance. As stated by the dictionary:

1. the fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships, etc.
2. the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions
3. lasting quality; duration:
4. something endured, as a hardship; trial.

That description might sound a little harsh, but that’s the reality. Endurance running is a process of embracing discomfort.

Not the I want to vomit discomfort of track sprints, but the “am I still going? why can’t I feel my toes?” discomfort of increased time in your shoes. So let’s discover how to increase stamina for running to help you get through 5K or 26.2.

Since I love this topic so much I’ve covered it in video and detailed below. Let me know which way is most helpful to you, so I can keep creating the content you need!

Tips to Improve Running Endurance

Some of these will sound like no-brainers, but you aren’t doing them or you wouldn’t be emailing me in utter frustration every week, so read it anyways! These will show you how to increase running stamina for beginners.Increase Running Endurance

Slow Down
You need to get in more time on your feet and the only way that will happen is by lowering your fatigue in the early miles to allow you to go farther later. Learning how to run farther is often first about learning how to truly run easy.

One of the best tools for this is LHR training, which I have talked about extensively.

The basic idea is to build a base of aerobic fitness which allows you to continue running farther without raising your heart rate, which is what taxes the body and slows down recovery when we do it repeatedly for long distances.

Step 1 for how to run longer is truly to work on your pacing. Stop worrying about your watch for a few runs, once you break through a mileage barrier where you’ve been stuck your brain and body will open up to the possibilities.


Believe that walking and being a runner aren’t compatible? Real runners don’t walk??

Or do they?! This is not about run-walk intervals. This is about adding walking to your routine, which does so much for allowing your body to get used to more time on your feet!

Running along side one of the speediest man I’d ever met, I was shocked when he told me his very expensive coach ordered him to start more walking AFTER finishing long runs. Validation that all my walking is more than just free transportation!

Does walking help running endurance?

Let’s look at why I’ve found it so helpful:

• Walking builds endurance {consider it extra credit training}
• More time on your feet during training ensures you are race ready even after the expo and site exploring on race weekend
• One can walk much further than they can run
• It utilizes the same muscles without the impact
• Walking eases low back pain {an issue of many desk jockeys}
• Walking strengthens your feet
• Walking large hills strengthens the glutes without the heart rate raising intensity
• Adding some walking to your routine might just help you run farther and faster by building leg strength, increasing lung capacity, reducing stress and burning extra calories.running stamina

Speed Up

No time for all those extra miles, then you might need to checkout the Hanson Plan, which is all about using less frequent, but more intense runs.

Under this method, you aren’t training with long runs, but instead using those intense short runs, to allow you to run much farther on race day by simply slowing down.

In this method you are building endurance by going hard on shorter runs, which then can make a longer run feel easier when you slow down.

Another option here is to ensure that your slower runs, also include cross training days of HIIT or circuit training. Those bursts of high intensity moves can help make your running at a slower pace feel easier mentally, simply because it’s not require the same intensity.Increase running stamina with weights

Incorporate Hills
Early in base building, I have all my runners include hill workouts because it creates leg strength and encourages better running form. You have to drive your knee up, rather than over extending the leg to make it up the hill. These two pieces together improve endurance and injury prevention.

Beat Boredom
This one rarely enters my mind, but I hear it so often “how do you keep going, I just get so bored!” Of course you aren’t going to keep pushing the distance if it’s boring and why would you. A few ways to make it more interesting:
• Running in new places, while actually paying attention to what’s around you
• Try trail running
• Practice my treadmill boredom beaters
• Ask friends to run with you
• Join a running group
• Don’t try to run daily, mix in other cross training activities
• Listen to audiobooks or podcasts instead of music

Manageable Goals
Maybe one of the reasons you aren’t increasing your distance is the goals you set…are you trying to go from one mile to your first 10K and feeling like you’ve signed up to climb Mount Everest?

Stop focusing on the ultimate goal and look at today’s goal. Today you simply need to go one step farther than you did yesterday and it’s a success, you’ve officially improved your running stamina. Those little steps add up, stop discounting them! Minus Dean Karnazes, few of us head on our first run and conquer the world.

We do it little by little.
Consistently showing up.
Embracing the bad runs.
Believing we can.

That’s right, as much as running is about getting your lungs, heart and legs on board, it’s all a bust if you don’t get your brain in the game.

How can I run longer without getting tired?

It’s a process of incorporating all of the techniques listed above. You need to allow your muscles to get stronger through the right workouts, you need to back off the pace to give your body longer energy, you need to mentally jump some hurdles and it will happen.

So maybe there isn’t really a secret at all, it’s just about showing up day after day and putting in a little more time on your feet without being so focused on your watch.

What helped you increase your distance?

What’s your current distance goal?