Lately it seems that attempting a 5K, 10K, or even a half-marathon is all the rage among newbie runners. Unfortunately, a good amount end up giving up not long after they start, feeling like they’re just one breath away from passing out. If this is you, remember that you can’t expect to be able to run 3, 6, or 13 miles right from the get-go. It takes time to build your endurance, but by incorporating these three tips you may be able to get there faster.
Don’t do too much too soon
It’s important to increase mileage slowly by following the ten percent rule – don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than ten percent of the previous week. This will help boost your endurance while also helping to prevent injury.
Change your routine
No matter what your goal, switching up your routine is a must for building endurance. Consider running intervals by adding several ten second sprinting intervals into your run every few minutes. Another option is to try hill running, which helps to build leg strength and lung endurance. If you have access to stadium bleachers, running up and down the bleachers, even for just 30 minutes at a time, can make a significant difference in endurance and strength. If you don’t have access to hills or bleachers, increasing the incline on a treadmill will also do the trick.
Drink beet juice
Beet juice and nitrates have been growing in popularity due to their ability to improve athletic performance. A recent study found that athletes were able to cycle for up to 16 percent longer compared to those who drank a placebo. The researchers noted that such a dramatic effect is not achievable by any other known means. Another study found that runners who ate about one cup of baked beets an hour before racing, were able to shave a minute off their time.
Why are beets so effective? Beets are a great source of inorganic nitrate. Some of the nitrate ends up in your saliva, where friendly bacteria convert it to nitrite. This helps to aid blood flow and the delivery of oxygen to the muscles, resulting in the ability to work harder with less effort. It’s been well-documented for a number of years that a diet rich in vegetables can improve heart health due to high nitrate content, beets are just one of the best. You might also increase your consumption of other high-nitrate vegetables such as spinach and arugula.
If you’re serious about improving endurance, Runner’s World advises using concentrated beet juice to help get the benefits without experiencing digestive issues, although a number of athletes have reported success by drinking about 500 mL of regular-strength beet juice several hours before a race.