How to Build Stamina: 6 Tips

By Kim McDevitt, MPH RD on October 8, 2014 , categorized in Endurance

how to build stamina

Do you continue to be unable to hit the speeds you’ve set to do on track workouts? Does it feel like you frequently hit the wall during long workouts, no matter how hard you try? If you found yourself struggling to give it your all in a recent 10K or half marathon, or keep up with your teammates in a recent cycling race, lack of stamina might be getting in your way.

What is stamina?

In sports, stamina is the body’s ability to endure periods of intense aerobic and cardiovascular activity, at maximum capacity.

To best understand this think about this example: 2 runners are on a track. Runner #1 is able to run 800 meters at 6min/mile pace, but after 1 lap can no longer hit that speed. Runner #2 is able to run 800 meters at a slightly slower 6:30min/mile pace, but can repeat this distance and pace for up to 5 times. Even though runner #2 is slower, they have greater stamina due to their ability to run more repetitions at maximum rate.

You might be wondering what the difference is between stamina and endurance. They are, in fact, different. Simply put, endurance just looks at overall ability to complete an activity over a period of time. You train for a marathon – you run a marathon. Stamina, on the other hand, is the ability to hold an 8min/mile pace for the entire marathon.

How to build stamina:

1. Endurance train

Endurance training is effective in improving not only endurance but stamina and strength as well. To improve endurance, gradually increase your workout by 10% each week. If you’re a runner increase total mileage on long run days by 10%, if you’re a cyclist add extra time or mileage to your long ride. Not sure where to start? Learn tips & tricks on how to build a training plan.

2. Add strength

Incorporating two to three days focused on weight lifting can be beneficial to you as an endurance athlete, but choose weight lifting moves wisely. For endurance athletes, focus should be primarily on lower and overall body (don’t just do some bicep curls and call it good!). Try starting with 3 sets of 12 reps of lunges, weighted squats and push-ups, plus abdominal planks holding for at least 1 minute. Strength training will increase leg strength as well as improve the body’s ability to use energy and oxygen efficiently.

3. Get some R & R

Recovery directly affects stamina and athletes who lack proper rest will likely also compromise their ability. During exercise, and especially high intensity speed and duration work, we put our body into a great deal of stress. It’s proper rest that is a primary player in bringing the body back into a balanced, homeostatic state, helping to compensate for the stress.

4. Switch it up

Routine, while safe and comfortable, holds us back from building stamina. Try incorporating different forms of cardiovascular training each week, such as cycling, running, stairs, etc. as well as including strength workouts and HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your plan. When we switch up our activity we call on different muscle groups, keeping the mind and body working hard.

5. Fuel better pre-workout

Often times we’re fueling with all the right  foods, but we need something to help push us to the next level in a workout. Many athletes find that caffeine, a stimulant that has an effect on the central nervous system, can be used as affective ergogenic aid and has been proven to increase physical endurance. Choosing caffeine from holistic sources, such as green tea and yerba maté, delivers not only a clear mental boost but also a nice dose of antioxidants, which will help rid the body of free radicals.  Get in the zone and take your workout to the next level with Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer.

6. Recover smarter

Get out there faster and stronger by being smarter with your recovery, starting with your nutrition. In order to replenish lost energy, repair muscle tissue, it’s crucial to reach for foods or a drink with a 4: 1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. This will ensure glycogen replenishment, as well as repairing and rebuilding of muscles. You also want to make sure you’re rehydrating and consider including foods or supplements to reduce inflammation and soreness, such as turmeric. Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator is a simple way to replenish the body, allowing you to continue to increase duration and intensity of your efforts.

With a combined training focus on strength and endurance in addition to adequate recovery regimen you’ll be on your way to your strongest training season yet!

How are you Fueling Your Better?

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Kim McDevitt, MPH RD

Kim McDevitt works at Vega as a National Educator. A runner, cooking enthusiast, plant-focused flexitarian, Kim has passionately built her career in nutrition. Noticing that her running performances were closely tied to what she was eating, Kim decided to study nutrition and pursue advanced degrees in Dietetics and Public Health, to better understand the power of food in performance. Today, Kim specializes in sports nutrition to enhance athletic performance and focuses on realistic and approachable ways for improving health through educated dietary choices within an active lifestyle.

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