For runners, stamina is one of the most important elements of performance. Whether you’re a beginning runner or a veteran on the pavement, you need the endurance to get you to the end of the run. While stamina is something you will build over time with regular runs, there are other ways to boost your endurance. Incorporating other forms of exercise into your fitness routine can increase your stamina to keep you going longer and positively impact your overall performance.
According to ShapeFit.com, one of the biggest mistakes a runner can make is consistently training at the same pace. Sticking to the same speed will actually hinder your performance, but you can mix it up – and boost your stamina – by doing interval training. Interval training is a program that alternates high- and low-intensity activity, which increases your heart rate and then allows for a rest period so your body can recover. For runners, this could mean running at a faster pace than you’re accustomed to for one minute, then slowing to a jog or walk for a few minutes before increasing your speed again. You can also do interval workouts by mixing cardio exercise with strength training at home or at the gym.
Plyometrics, sometimes referred to as jump training, relies on explosive movements to build endurance and speed. These exercises can also help lengthen your stride and improve range of motion in your ankles. While much of plyometrics is centered around jumping, there are other activities, like high knee sprints, that will have the same results. Spending time doing jump rope, skipping drills and one- and two-legged hops can have a dramatic impact on your stamina and overall running performance.
Yoga has been shown to boost endurance, and not just in the physical sense – it can also help your mental stamina, which can be just as important, especially if you’re running long distances. Because much of a yoga workout is focused on breathing, participating in this activity can improve your respiratory system by enhancing your lung capacity and range of motion in your core. Regular yoga will also contribute to flexibility and muscle strength, as well as improved concentration and energy preservation. Poses that may be especially beneficial to runners include the Side Angle pose, Upward-Facing Dog pose, Camel pose and Boat pose.
Successful runners also need to have strong cores. Because the core muscles – the abs, back and pelvic muscles – help stabilize you during a run, these muscle groups need to be exercised to increase and maintain strength. Doing this will decrease your risk for injury, while building strength and stamina in your core. There are several variations on the traditional crunch that will target these areas to benefit your running performance. For muscle stamina, try incorporating lunge and moving crunches. Lunge crunches work just how they sound – you do a lunge, but keep your core tightened and your butt tucked in to work your abs. Moving crunches are similar, with alternating leg lunches and tightened abs, but after a few reps of this, you contract and release your abs while doing an easy run.
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