By Liz DiAlto
Once you start cardio training more regularly and have a feel for your form, posture and how long you like to go for, inevitably boredom starts to set in and it’s time to set goals and strive to accomplish a new challenge. Whether you’re looking to go farther, last longer or increase your speed, endurance is the determining factor. So, how do you increase your endurance? Here, we have three tips to help you go farther, longer (and maybe even faster).
Interval Train. While baseline training (staying at the same pace for the entire distance) is important, it is equally essential that you incorporate interval training into your routine. If you usually cardio train 3 days per week, interval train for one of them. If you do cardio 4 or more days each week, be sure to train with intervals at least twice each week. So, what does interval training “look” like? After warming up, work at your baseline pace (the pace you usually run, walk or cylce at, or at an intensity level of 5 or 6) for 5 minutes before kicking it up a notch (to a level of intensity of about 8) for between 1 and 3 minutes, depending on your fitness level. Repeat as many times as you can. Your endurance should start to increase after 2-4 weeks depending on the person. How will you know? Your normal workouts will feel easier, and you’ll last longer. (Yes!)
Cross Train. While running (or cycling, or swimming), for example, may be your end goal, it’s not necessarily the only way of getting there. Rather, other cardio training is a great way to increase your overall endurance. Whether you try a spin class (a great break from the impact of running your joints too!), pick another class you’ve never tried at the gym or just jump on a different cardio machine, the variety in your cardiovascular training will help your endurance, making you a better runner, cyclist or swimmer.
Walk. While this may sound counterproductive to your ultimate goal of increasing endurance, short breaks can actually be just the solution you’re looking for. As you run more, you likely (or hopefully!) become more familiar with your body. If you notice, for example, that your right knee usually starts hurting around 25 minutes in, but you usually push it out for that last 5 to get to your 30 minute goal, instead, try taking a brief break before the pain strikes (or right after you notice it) and walk for 3 to 5 minutes. Allowing your knee a short break from pounding on that joint could add an extra 10 to 20 minutes to your run! If you’re training for a race and putting in extra-long runs on weekends, this can be particularly useful. Remember, the stubborn runner gets injured—there is no shame in walking for a few minutes if it yields less pain and longer, better runs.
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