Often, endurance and stamina are used interchangeably in the fitness realm. However, upon closer inspection, you will realize that the two terms represent different things but have various similarities. As an athlete, you need both endurance and stamina. However, it will depend on your goals to determine which one you should train more.
What is Endurance
Endurance is the maximum amount of time you can perform an activity using the same muscle group. Therefore, athletes that benefit the most from endurance training are marathon or long-distance runners. Proper endurance training for an athlete entails elongating the time it takes for your body to stop supplying the required oxygen to run aerobically.
There are two aspects of endurance, namely- muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Simply put, muscular endurance represents the maximum period your muscles can continue summoning the required energy to run. On the other hand, cardiovascular endurance represents the maximum amount of time your lungs and heart can continue supplying the required amount of oxygen to the working muscles.
How to Increase Endurance
Like any other physical activity, practicing hard for extended periods is the only way to get good at it. Below are a few ways to increase your endurance.
Increase the Volume and Intensity of your Workout
Muscle memory is a real thing. Therefore, if you are trying to increase your endurance, gradually add the time and distance you run each session. Most times, you may not notice the difference as it will be small. However, with time, if you can only do 150 km, you will be able to do 153 km, and so forth.
When preparing for a run, try to eat foods that will help you increase your energy levels. With proper dieting, you will realize that you are fueled enough to run for extended periods.
Secondly, try to be well-hydrated the entire time you run. Failure to which the feeling of dehydration will overwhelm you, thus infringing on your endurance. Also, adding electrolytes to your water works wonders.
Rest and Recovery
While training consistently is advisable, you should also schedule rest and recovery days. This way, your muscles have time to repair any tears and bounce back stronger. If you train without rest, you will notice that you will get progressively exhausted over the days, which will harm your endurance levels.
As a marathon runner, you are supposed to have a base speed that you maintain for most of the race. To increase your endurance, slow down whenever you feel tired to summon the energy required to run at your supposed pace. This way, you maintain momentum by resting mid-race and gradually increase your endurance.
Increasing your muscle strength will also increase your endurance level. Therefore, in between running, try incorporating muscle-strengthening activities such as squats, weight lifting, lunges, etc.
What Is Stamina?
Stamina is the amount of time you can perform an activity at the maximum capacity. Keeping that in mind, stamina differs from endurance because the goal is not just to complete the race at hand but to complete it in record time. That said, athletes who benefit the most from stamina-building exercises are those training for short races requiring them to exert massive bouts of energy in short periods, e.g., sprinters.
With proper stamina training, the athlete improves their running times and reduces the risk of injury that comes about when the body is shocked into action.
How to Increase Stamina
Below are several ways to increase stamina. However, before employing any of the suggestions in your routine, consider consulting a professional.
A recent study has shown that athletes who take caffeine supplements tend to be able to master more energy when compared to their counterparts. However, if you are not a fan of caffeine supplements, consider natural substitutes such as ashwagandha.
Besides increasing stamina, supplements also boost cognitive function.
Training more than one type of exercise is bound to increase your stamina. While you can create a routine that works for you, consider applying a 20-20-5 interval routine. You run for 20 minutes, perform another weight-lifting workout for the next 20 minutes, then rest for 5 minutes and repeat. This way, the next time you run, your body will be prepared with more energy and stamina than needed.
It’s important to pace yourself when running so your body is mentally prepared to move at the set time. Also, consider gradually increasing the set pace to increase your stamina.
Perform Breathing Exercises
According to recent studies published by sport mont, breathing exercises help increase stamina for athletes. Proper respiratory exercises will train your lungs to deliver ample oxygen to your body while you run. After a while, you will realize that you aren’t out of breath while you run, which significantly increases your stamina.
Conduct proper research to find out the different foods which will aid in increasing your stamina, as you can’t outwork a bad diet. Also, avoid smoking and alcohol to reap the maximum benefits of your efforts.
Push Your Limits
Consistently sprint as fast as you can before your running becomes anaerobic. This way, you teach your muscles to have enough stamina to run at maximum speed. For maximum results, try wearing a weighted vest and gradually increase its weight until it seizes to be safe.
Take Care of your Muscle Health
To ensure your muscles can deliver maximum stamina, you need to ensure they are as healthy as they can be. To do so, you need to give them enough time to recover after an intense workout. Also, for added benefits, consider muscle treatments such as cold therapy during your rest days.
Stamina and endurance are essential for any athlete to perform decently. Therefore, it’s imperative to include both aspects in your fitness goals. However, if you are a long-distance runner, endurance exercises should take precedence over your routine, while stamina exercises should make up most of your routine for short-distance runners.