How to Build Endurance Without Running: The 5 Best Exercises!
Improved endurance boils down to muscular stamina as well as cardiovascular capacity. Attempting to increase your overall endurance with running alone can sometimes feel like smashing your head against a brick wall.
The trick to improved endurance often lies in what you do off the treadmill, and below I wanted to take a quick dive into all of the things you can do to tackle your next race with ease.
5 Types of Exercises to Increase Endurance
1. Cardio. Fun fact: there are more machines at the gym other than the treadmill! Runners often feel that the treadmill is their chosen machine, and hopping on any other machine is short of blasphemous.
Jumping on a stationary bike, for instance, allows you to work out for longer periods of time rather than running. When your cardio sessions last longer, your overall endurance improves.
2. Sports. Who says that working out has to be boring? Getting a group together for a game of basketball is a great way to elevate your heart rate for longer periods of time without becoming bored. Sure, your heart is racing, and your muscle is burning, but you cannot quit until the game is over.
It’s fun, challenging, and a perfect way to keep things fresh.
3. Speedy Circuits. Strength training is a perfect way to build muscle to improve your muscular stamina, which will help a great deal on the track. To kill two birds with one stone, be sure to keep the downtime between circuits low.
If your circuits involve squats, cleans and presses, bench presses, curls, and deadlifts, keep the downtime between sets low. If you have a heart rate monitor, be sure to keep your heart rate locked in at around 90 percent of its max.
4. Plyometrics. There are few activities that boost endurance and speed off of the track more than a good plyo workout. A good plyometrics workout includes exercises such as box jumps (that really get the blood pumping!), burpees, Mary Catherines, tuck jumps, and jump squats.
5. Jump Rope. It may seem incredibly simple, but jumping rope comes with a myriad of benefits to runners, including increased stamina and endurance.
Jumping rope even 10 minutes a day can increase your lung capacity, build muscles in your lower body, and it doesn’t require a trip to the gym!
4 Helpful Tips to Get it Right!
1. Avoid finding yourself in a rut
More often than not, stalled endurance is a result of a rut. Sure, you may have found the absolute best plyometrics routine that fires up every single muscle group and gets your heart pumping, but that routine can become stale.
Over time, your muscles and your heart will adapt to the same repetitive routine, and it will stall your progress. If you find that your muscles aren’t quite as sore the next day, or you can get through the entire routine without feeling out of breath- it’s time to switch it up!
2. Eat right
We have all had those days where we lace up our running shoes, but the energy and enthusiasm just aren’t there. More often than not, this classic dip in enthusiasm results from improper nutrition. To keep your energy levels high, be sure to fill your diet with complex carbohydrates and protein instead of reaching for a caffeine-dense energy drink.
The best endurance-boosting foods are those packed with complex carbs, protein, and potassium. The holy grail for increased endurance is a simple banana with peanut butter. The banana provides a good source of potassium (ideal for dipping energy levels), and peanut butter adds an extra kick of protein.
Foods such as grilled chicken, kale, oatmeal, and walnuts are also great choices to keep your body running at peak performance.
3. Set Realistic Goals
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to set realistic goals. If you are jumping from a 5k to a marathon, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You may have the heart and drive to make it to the finish line, but your body has limits.
The key to success is identifying places where you need to improve and building a training schedule around those shortcomings.
If you become winded after one mile, adding heart-pumping cardio routines into your weekly training schedule is the best way to improve. If your calves are tight balls of fire after a run, grab a jump rope and get moving.
4. Know when to take a break
Sometimes, dipping endurance happens because you aren’t training hard enough. Other times, it’s because you are training too hard and you aren’t giving your body enough time to recover.
Muscle soreness is great it means that you are challenging your muscles and training them to grow back stronger. If you don’t give your muscles time to repair all of those tiny micro-tears, you aren’t allowing enough time for your body to heal.
Overtraining causes more than just stalled muscle growth and strength, it also impacts your energy levels and endurance. If you find that it’s becoming harder and harder to move through even a simple workout, it may be time to take a break.
It’s so incredibly important to listen to your body and train smarter, not harder.
How Long Will It Take to Notice A Difference?
Progress won’t happen overnight, but after a few weeks of continued training, you should start to notice a difference.
As long as you keep your training new and engaging, get enough sleep, eat the right foods, and maintain a positive attitude, you should start to notice that your daily runs will become a little bit easier.
Plus, by incorporating speedy circuit training and plyometrics, you may even notice that your laps times become faster as well!
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