Running is indeed a beautiful sport for your body and your mind. As soon as you start running, one of your first thoughts is how to run longer. In this post, I will try to show you a few ways of how you can improve your stamina and what are the most important things that you should consider if you are a beginner and you want to run longer.
Keep in mind that you should focus on how to run longer if you already have a few hours and kilometers ran at the time you read this article. I suggest you to read How To Get Into Running or Starting A Running Routine so you can have an idea what running for beginners means.
Set A Running Goal To Achieve
As I said in any previous articles that I invite you to read on this blog, you should have a goal. This goal should be realistic and you should set it. For instance, you would like to start running for a distance of 2.5 km. Or maybe you want to set a period of time of running, for example, 45 minutes.
Goals are really important in life, not only in running. They have the particularity to keep you on track and to go towards something. Otherwise, things would have some kind of randomness and your ambition and desire to evolve would not exist.
To answer your question of how to run longer for beginners, it is important to take this step and set your running goals.
If you do not have a goal then you cannot run longer. Longer means more than you already ran so for you to run longer you need a goal to be set. Now that we understood the importance of goals let’s move to the next step.
You Already Achieve Your First Goal
Your desire for running longer should appear after you set a goal and you achieve it multiple times. For example, you stated that you want to run 2.5 km and you managed to reach it multiple times.
I say multiple times because you want to be easy for you to get to that point. If you managed to reach it once, you may wanna try that again and see how it goes.
Keep in mind that in running there are a lot of factors that can contribute to your running session, like outside temperature, your eating before running, how rested are you, the level of humidity and air and so on.
So you may find that sometimes it is easier to run, even on the same route and sometimes it is much harder, even the distance is the same. This is why I would recommend reaching your goal multiple times and you can have a fair conclusion that you can easily achieve it anytime.
Why You Can’t Run Now?
To answer the first question, how to run longer for beginners, maybe we should ask yourself why you can’t run longer right now? This question is important because the answer will tell you what you need to improve.
In general, when you run, you can see for yourself that at some point, something stops you from running. A person who is not into running might think that legs are the first piece to give up. I would say that is not actually true and the legs might be the last ones to give up on you.
If you already ran for a few km then you might notice that breathing becomes harder and you just can’t find enough oxygen for your lungs. You sweat, your face turns red and you make a strange noise when you breed.
Your lungs do not have the habit to exercise like this. They were thought to work on low power. You are now forcing them to move like pistons inside a car motor and I can assure you that they have the capability to do it. Just not now but slowly in time.
Also, you may experience pain below the ribs on the right side or left side. I usually have it on the right side under my ribs. It is my liver which expands with blood when I run and that it is painful. You need to keep running and the pain will pass.
Another thing with the lungs is about smoking. If you smoke then it is quite natural to believe that a non-smoker runner might have an advantage upon you. Quitting would be the best for you, not only as a runner but as a human too. If you cannot quit than smoking less would also help you a lot.
The thing with the smoke is that your lungs are not smaller but their ability to transport oxygen is weakening. A study showed that smoking would not have any effect on power but upon fatigue.
The conclusions of the study about smokers and non-smokers showed that smoking decreases the resistance. You can check the study here if you want to go more in depth about this. So, if you want to run longer you should consider quitting smoking if you have this bad habit.
Your legs are very strong, they contain the biggest (by volume) muscle in the human body, the Gluteus Maximus which is one of three gluteal muscles. So, maybe it is not randomness when God gave us the biggest muscle into legs. Running was, at the beginning of our times, essential to survive.
In a more in-depth and a medical explanation, the pain comes from lactic acid accumulation in your muscle, through the process of lactic fermentation. Basically, when you run, your muscles need oxygen.
But muscles will need more and more and you will produce more CO2 than your O2 can keep up so the pain will result in final but we will discuss this later.
They might break but they are tougher than you might think. If you have to correct mind set, they just keep moving.
How To Run Longer?
Now we come to the part in which we see what we need to improve our running skills.
If you find yourself that legs are giving upon you than you need to train them more. You can do this by walking a lot more or running more.
What you can do is alternating walking with running. In this way, you will also build up your lungs but also training your legs. Walking is very healthy for your legs and they will improve in time.
I found out that running trainers are recommending doing squats or press training. This is also fine but this is different and has a different purpose.
Those type of training will get you to muscle development and gaining volume and power, not necessary stamina. The pain you experience comes from not having a habit in running (like lungs – your legs are not used to work on such a high level).
This is an image in which we see two athletes. The first one is a runner, a marathon runner and the second one is a sprinter.
You can see that the marathon runner, which can run long distances and periods of time, has a very low musculature body type.
The sprinter has really developed muscles, from his arms to his toes. He looks like a bodybuilder.
Doing squats and leg press will help you to develop muscle grow but will not help you very much on stamina, it might have not any effect on that.
If you want to run longer as a beginner I would recommend to keep running and walking and your legs will naturally evolve. You can go to the gym and also train your legs in special but this will not make a big difference in your resistance for running.
If you see that your lungs are very bad then in order to run longer you need to increase lungs capacity. What happens is that your lungs cannot satisfy the amount of oxygen that is required by your muscle tissue.
What you can do to improve your lungs capacity is to stand up correctly and to run with a good posture. Do not run with your head bend down, keep it up straight, like an alpha male or female.
One of the most known exercises to train your lungs is to keep your breath. You can do this while you are at home or the office on a chair. Take a big breath of air and keep it for like 20 seconds. If you find yourself that you cannot keep it for 20 seconds, then keep it as much as you can but set your goal to gradually reach 20 seconds and then 30 seconds and then 40 seconds.
You can do this kind of exercise while running too but be very careful.
In the end, the best exercise to make so you can run longer is just running. By repetition, you will force your body to run for a long distance no matter what. It is just pushed to evolution so you will finally get it there.
The only thing that is stopping you right now is the need to see a fast evolution. If you ran yesterday 2.5 km do not expect to run today 5 km.
So, what you need to understand that progress is not easy to be made. You are a beginner runner and so it is your body. He did not experience before such intensity in leg movement and so much oxygen demanding. Keep running and you will see by yourself an improvement of your running resistance.