Why building your Running Endurance so important

Dec 5, 2023

How to Build Running Endurance

Endurance is not only important but essential for all runners, as it allows them to push their limits, cover greater distances, and maintain peak performance without succumbing to fatigue. As such you cna also reduce your injury risk as a result of this training, so it is a super important for every runner. It is not only for your average park run runner but also for competitive runners. Competitive athletes need endurance to compete for extended periods, including marathons and ultramarathons, and to increase their muscles’ ability to consistently exert force over time. Recreational runners may also increase their output over time, benefiting from other variables such as increased fitness, a decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other systemic diseases. This underscores the importance of endurance for all individuals, regardless of their running goals, to prioritise its development.

What is Running Endurance?

Simply put, running endurance can be divided into three different types: aerobic, anaerobic, and muscular.

Aerobic endurance: This is the ability of the body to use oxygen to produce energy for sustained physical activity. Aerobic endurance is important for any endurance activity such as running, swimming, and cycling.

Anaerobic endurance: This is the ability of the body to produce energy without oxygen for short periods of high-intensity activity (also known as VO2 Max). Anaerobic endurance is important for activities such as sprinting and weightlifting.

Muscular endurance: This is the ability of a muscle to contract repeatedly without fatigue. Muscle endurance is more important for ultra-endurance athletes, like marathoners or ultramarathoners. Again the better your dynamic strength the better your running will be at all levels.

How Do I Build Running Endurance?

Endurance can be built through many ways; however, it depends on a person’s current fitness and goals.

When it comes to running, there are several different ways to build endurance:
• Increasing Weekly Mileage: Slowly increasing mileage week by week can help improve overall endurance and be one of the best predictors for race performance. Remember no more than 10% increase in volume each week, while it is also worth remembering to drop every fourth week by 10-15% to allow for recovery and prevetn overloading the body.

• The Long Run: The addition of long runs can be great for building endurance when supplemented by a variety of base runs. This is essential for boosting distance and weekly mileage and typically is the longest run of the week. These runs should be once a week for most runners and are followed by a rest day or maybe a walk to recover. Please follow your time guide to increase and not distance, allowing you to manage your progress steadily.

• Aerobic Workouts: A workout at a faster pace or at the lactate threshold. These can be sessions such as HITT, British Military Fitness, Cross Fit & F45 – they are high intensity, dynamic and will hlep you build overall strength while challenging your aerobic capacity. If you would like these sessions to be runs then you can look at Interval or Hills sessions.

Endurance can also be built in other ways through cross-training and endurance training in other disciplines.

• Cycling, rowing, and the cross-trainer are three good forms of exercise that runners may choose to improve endurance. Cycling is not only a low-impact exercise but can also be paired well with running due to the decreased risk of injury, although it uses your muscles in a very different way so as you progress you may find less benefit. Rowing is also great for fitness, muscular endurance, and is a low-impact exercise similar to cycling, again it uses the muscles differently as you are sitting which can affect your push off phase. A cross-trainer mimics the process of running and is a great way to build endurance, and it’s also another low-impact exercise that improves endurance.

In summary, endurance is vital for both competitive and recreational runners, enabling them to extend their boundaries, cover greater distances, and maintain peak performance without succumbing to fatigue. It comprises three essential types: aerobic, anaerobic, and muscular, each serving distinct purposes in running and physical activity. To bolster endurance, runners can gradually increase their weekly mileage, include long runs, and partake in aerobic workouts at the lactate threshold. Cross-training in activities like cycling, rowing, and using a cross-trainer can further enhance endurance while minimising the risk of injury.

Fundamentally, endurance is a critical component that all runners, regardless of their aspirations, should prioritise for success and enhanced well-being.

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