Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Increasing your Endurance

What do you think about when you hear the word endurance? Chances are that you think about a long hard road. And that's a pretty fair thought. Endurance isn't something that's easy to gain and you have to work hard and go long to work for it. But it doesn't have to be as scary or as daunting as that sounds. 

Endurance is important for running whether you're a long distance runner or not. Your body has to be able to stand to go a certain pace for a certain distance and that's where endurance comes in. So how do you gain that endurance so that you can meet your goals? Let's talk about this in list form, because that seems to be the way I'm doing things lately. 

1. The first step in gaining endurance is to make a goal of where you want to be and how much time you want to do it in.  It helps me to focus on the smaller goals and not bite off more than I can chew all at once.  I usually start working on strengthening my endurance by adding one mile extra at a time. Once I hit that goal, I work for one more mile after that. And that doesn't mean all in the same run. That means over the course of a week or more I'll work on that goal. Endurance takes time, so does growing your speed work. Once you reach your goal, reward yourself with something and then set another goal.

2. When I want to increase my endurance, I move my run outside. When it comes to endurance, and going further, I run outside as much as I can. Not everyone can do this, and thank heaven for the treadmill because some runs just wouldn't happen at all without it. But for me, it is so much easier to go further when I don't have a stop button in front of me. When I'm outside running and want to stop early, I remind myself that in order to get home, I have to run there anyway, so I might as well finish. It's also a lot easier for me to stay interested when I'm not staring at a TV, or wall, or the numbers on the treadmill. 

3. Slow down. This is hard for me to remember. I have a hard time running a slower pace because I start to feel like I'm not making progress. But, When you want to lengthen your run, you can save a little energy by running at a slower pace, and use that energy for your extra mileage. Adding mileage will, in turn, help you increase your speed on your shorter runs. I really think that everything in running is related like that. 

4. Get a buddy. Running buddies are good for more than just adding mileage! It is way easier to run further when you know someone else is counting on you and working with you.  You can help push each other through your hard miles. I also love working on endurance with friends because the longer your run the more time you have to catch up and talk.  This is especially fun when you're a mom and need friend time so you can talk to someone who is an adult and who can relate.

5. Plan out your run ahead of time. Sometimes winging it works ok for endurance runs, and sometimes that's fun too. If you want to make sure you're getting the right mileage though, planning out your run usually works better. I like to use the Footprints app for this. It lets you trace your route and then it tells you the distance. So you can know if you need to add an extra loop or one more block on to meet your mileage. 

6. Tell someone where you're going. Not only is this a safety tip we have all learned since we were kids, but this is a helpful little tip if you are driven by keeping your word. I always feel a little bit embarrassed (not too much because listening to your body is important too) when I end up cutting my run short. 

7. Increase your daily mileage. That doesn't just mean running. Get out and move more often. Park farther away from the store or work, Take an extra lap around the grocery store (although, I can see that being a little bit bad for your wallet). Go on walks or bike rides, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Even swimming is a great way to Cross train and get extra mileage for your day. 

8. Don't get discouraged. Sometimes when we want something so bad, we get discouraged when we don't meet our goals. I've had this happen so many times and it usually leads to a burnout. Remind yourself that everything good takes time. Recover from that run, remember that we all have hard days, and try again with your next run. 

What is the hardest thing about endurance for you?

What helps you reach your goals?

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