How Beginner Runners Can Build Endurance

Here’s the thing, getting started with running can be a really frustrating and also a really overwhelming process if you are a novice runner. It could end up taking a while before you actually get to see any kind of improvement.

You will find that when running starts to become that bit easier for you, you will find this confidence to just push yourself that bit further.

This comes back full circle because pushing yourself further will feel difficult again, so when it comes to running it is all about endurance and sticking it out. If you are just getting started with running then this might not feel all that exciting, with running it gets a lot harder before it gets easier.

However, you will be pleased to know that there are some strategies that you can use to help you build your endurance – you just need to know your own limits. Increase your weekly running distance in a gradual way that works for you.

The Run/Walk Strategy

To get started on your running journey, you can aim for a run/walk kind of strategy, especially if you get to a stage where you want to try and increase your distance. A run/walk strategy definitely makes this much more manageable.

For example, you can try doing this in intervals – you could run for five minutes and then have a minute of walking. Gradually over time this will get easier for you to accomplish, and you can instead carry on adding minutes to your running intervals or deducting time from your walking intervals.

Your goal will be to be able to run continuously without breaks, and this is doable but you need to make sure that you listen to your body and know its limits.

Over time, you will be able to build up not just your fitness but your confidence too, and you will progress to running with less walking breaks until you can eventually run continuously. 

Do not beat yourself up for walking for part of the distance, in fact, you’ll be pleased to know that there are actually a lot of benefits to testing out this strategy. Lots of people will actually include these breaks not only in their training but also in races too.

Following a personal training schedule can also really help you to stick to a good running pattern and this can help you get into a really good daily routine.

Additionally, depending on what time of the day you prefer to go for a run then you might want to invest in some reflective accessories to make sure that you are safe when running in the evening or during a dark winter day.

Try Out The Talk Test

If you are a beginner runner then you should try and use the talk test to see what pace to run at. The talk test involves you running and also trying to have a conversation – as you should do your run at a conversational pace to begin with, as this should be a good indicator of a pace that you are comfortable with.

If you find yourself gasping for air then you will definitely be going too fast, so if you slow your pace down instead then you will find that you will actually be able to run for a lot longer. 

Additionally, you need to make sure that your form is correct – if you are not running with proper form then you might find that you start feeling aches and pains which will ultimately make you want to throw in the towel and give up completely.

This is something that you want to work hard to avoid because you want running to be an enjoyable experience, and not something that you want to quit before you make a proper start.

To help you to avoid encountering aches and pains you need to make sure that you run with your shoulders relaxed and back, basically stand up nice and straight – no hunching over while running!

If you find yourself hunching over then you are actually making your own life harder as you will find it a lot harder to breathe which makes it a lot more difficult to run. You also need to be mindful of your arms too, because they should be at your side and positioned at a 90-degree angle.

Your arms should be rotating at your shoulder and not at your elbow. Make sure that you also keep your hands in a relaxed fist but do not clench too hard, as this can have an effect on the tension in your arms, and in your shoulders and in your neck.

To help you keep track of your running progress, you should consider joining the millions of people who have smartwatches that specifically help them keep track of their running progress.

Get Goal Setting ASAP

There really is no motivation like self-motivation, and by selecting short-term goals to work towards then you can build yourself up to working past the mental challenges of running for a longer amount of time.

The great thing about your goals is that they are personal to you, this means that you do not have to proclaim to the world that you have challenged yourself to run 50km in a week. For a beginner runner that would be crazy – and would be enough to put you off running forever.

You could just set yourself the goal of running to the nearest mailbox, or to a particular block. This might not be the most revolutionary goal ever – but once you reach this then you can pick a new target.

You need to set goals that work for you, so if you find that this kind of thing works pretty well for you then why not stick to it?! Like we said, this is all about YOU, and what will motivate you to keep running.

It can be really hard to find the motivation to keep running in your daily life, especially when you factor in a long day of work. But, you should consider a running desk calendar to help motivate you to keep up with your new fitness challenge.

Additionally, you need to factor in the amount of runs a week you go on. We hate to burst your bubble completely, but going for a run once a week will not help you build your endurance.

You need to gradually increase the runs you do weekly, these can be shorter runs depending on what suits you, it’s always better to do something than to do nothing at all. The more you run, the easier it will be to build up your stamina, and then you can end up adding more miles to your running schedule.

Another great way to help you improve your endurance is to run uphill, because this really helps you to build your lung endurance and also your muscle strength.

If you are especially keen to get your running shoes on, then you should invest in compression socks as these aid circulation and therefore help to speed up recovery time too.

Matt Williams