8 Simple Exercises to Improve Running Speed and Stamina
A good run can do amazing things for you. So whether you are an athlete or not these running exercises can help you boost your stamina as well as increase speed. But before you start your workout, keep in mind to start it with a warmup.
Warming up before working out reduces the risk of injury, increases the blood flow to the muscles and increases heart rate which in turn helps you in burning more calories.
A good warmup can be something like; a 6-8 minutes of jogging, mild/light exercises and stretching. This piece of writing focuses mainly on the running workouts or exercises that help you to increase your speed and stamina. So let’s dive deep in and get our kicks running.
1) Run Long
Its simple – To run more, you actually have to “run further”. The best way to increase you running distance is by increasing the running time by 5 minutes every day or by increasing running distance everyday (approx 0.5 miles daily). It might sound a little but it really adds up in the end.
The good idea is to run at a slow pace and be consistent in completing the track rather than running fast and then struggling to finish. Once you get hold of it then increase your speed. There’s a great saying that – “Speed follows Endurance”. So completing your run till the last mile decided and this is surely going to increase your speed as well as stamina.
2) Tempo Runs
Tempo runs basically range for a shorter distance but at a pace higher than the normal at which you would generally run. Release of Lactic acid in your body is the reason behind the fatigue that you feel. Tempo runs like these trains your body in cleaning out lactic acid from your bloodstream quicker. This means that you can run at longer intervals and the lactic acid and fatigue building up in your body at a slower rate. It also makes you feel easier at running pace. Tempo runs are the key to improve the running speed.
For mid range and novice runners, tempo runs should last for about 20-30 minutes and approximately an hour for high end or advanced runners. Tempo runs should be done at a pace that you can maintain over the whole running duration rather than an all-in-one effort at a time leading to panting and slowing down.
3) Interval Training
Interval trainings are a great way to increase your stamina, speed and endurance. Interval trainings basically involve alternating you running styles and speed. An example would be – Sprint as fast as possible for an interval of 30 seconds and then slowing down to a speed approximately 70% of your sprint and then continuing at that speed for another 2-3 minutes and after that again start sprinting.
Another example would be – running on an inclined path. This allows the body to recover in between the sprinting and slow running sessions. You can repeat these intervals approx 4-5 times keeping walking/jogging resting sessions in between.
4) Run with the beat
Voila, this trick is quite effective when it comes to working out. Keep your headphones on while running. It is a human tendency that we match our footsteps with the beats of the music. Keep up with the tempo of the music. As the music goes slow, your speed goes slow and as the music beats pump, your speed increases too. Music helps in maintaining the flow and keep you running.
So just make your running playlist with whatever kind of music you prefer and get your kicks running. Music also fills you up with energy and keeps you boosted. Running with the music beats pumping is an implicit way of interval running. In a study conducted, people with the music turned on while running ran an extra mile as compared to people without the music beats on.
5) Running Stairs
Well, it turns out that whenever you are running up the stairs you are indirectly doing a lot of plyometrics. Running up the stairs exerts maximum force to your body muscles. It’s like doing cardio exercises along with lunges and squats. The best thing about this exercise is that; you train your hamstrings in a way that they are not generally used to.
Another benefit is that it increases your overall leg strength. It takes a lot of explosive power to speed up the stairs and you reach your AT (anaerobic threshold) quickly. Your body reaches to a point where it creates more lactic acid as compared to the quantity it can process. Training your body beyond anaerobic threshold improves your stamina and strength in an immense way than any other running exercise.
6) Walking Lunges
Walking lunges directly impact the thigh and leg muscles. They are great at improving the balance of the body posture. They also tone the hip muscles. Apart from all these, walking lunges improve the hip flexibility and make your thighs stronger.
Stronger thighs directly impact the leg muscles strength. So indulging your body in exercising walking lunges before or after running will have a direct impact on speed and endurance as it will make your leg muscles stronger.
7) Progressive Running workout
It’s simple: Start slow – Constantly increase your pace – Finish fast.
Just start your run at a normal slow pace but keep increasing it as you go further and aim to finish at a sprinting pace. Progressive runs like these indulge your body in a complete workout as they use both your anaerobic and aerobic systems. It also gives your body a recovery time as a normal running workout.
An example of progressive running workout would be – to run at an easy normal pace for approx 15 minutes followed by a hard pace comfortable run for another 15 minutes and then the next 15 minutes at an uncomfortable hard pace. The basic idea is to increment the running speed at every 15 minutes interval.
8) The fartlek running
The Swedish meaning of fartlek is “speed-play” and that’s the whole flavour of this workout – to play around with different distances and speed in one workout. The process of this workout is simple like intermixing slow and fast running and varying the distance and pace at each interval.
There are no rules to this workout and it can be as flexible as you want. Just randomly pick any place like a park or a street and then start sprinting for 2 minutes then slow pace running for 4 minutes or vice versa. Fartlek runs are very unstructured and unorganised.
These were all the running workouts that increase the speed and stamina of your running. There is more to building endurance like eating the proper food and indulging in workouts. To keep you on a good track there are some workouts and exercises that do wonders when it comes to building endurance and stamina. Some of them are:
Plyometrics are basically the explosive workouts like jumping squats, jumping lunges, burpees and froggy jumps. Explosive cardiovascular workouts like these are the core to building a strong foundation to a muscular body. Workouts like these burn a lot of calories too.
* Strength Training
Of course you need strong legs to run a long distance. So, strength training is very vital to building endurance and stamina too. The core strength of the leg muscles really matters when it comes to running longer and better. Strong muscular legs increase power and it consequently leads to increased stamina and speed.
* Proper Nutrition
Taking a good diet is of utmost importance to building stamina and endurance. The food that you feed your body acts as the fuel to everything that follows be it a simple run or an aggressive workout. Make sure to take in good carbs and lean proteins.
Make it a golden rule of thumb: Never go running without doing a good warmup and cool down always after you have completed your workout. Stretching before starting your work out loosens up your muscles and increases the performance.