Running – How to Build Endurance and Pacing

By Patricia ZelmEmmart CHHC, AADP

To have endurance in your running you need to have stamina, motivation to train long hours, and the willingness to possibly fall short of your goals. During your training you will focus on finding your pace and gaining endurance to go the distance for your next race.

Building Endurance

If you are a beginner runner, you will want to turn to a beginner’s running plan for a little extra advice. You will be given a calendar to increase speed and distance daily. It is vital for all runners to gain endurance before speed. Increase your running time and distance slowly to decrease injuries and aid your overall longevity during your next race.


Set a moderate pace for yourself while running. Generally you should be able to carry on a conversation easily. Doing this will increase endurance for longer distances and also reduce fatigue. If you cannot chat for more than a sentence with a running buddy, then you are overexerting yourself.


Eating a healthy diet has a dramatic effect on your running performance.

  • Carbohydrates
    These give energy and should make up 60 to 65% of your total daily calories. Good sources include whole grain pastas, brown rice and potatoes.
  • Protein
    This will help to repair damaged tissue from running or cross training. Protein should make up about 15 to 20% of all your daily calories. Lean meat, fish and beans make up this category.
  • Fruits and Vegetables
    These should include a wide variety of colors and types to feed the body.
  • Fats
    Fats are vital, but should be kept to 20-25%, primarily coming from nuts, oils and cold-water fish.
  • Vitamins and Minerals
    Supplements are able to fill the nutritional holes left by your diet.
  • Stay Hydrated
    This is also vital to healthy running. Water is easiest for your body to process, so drink this primarily.

Cross Training

Cross training is beneficial for runners because it works to strengthen muscles in your body that running does not cover. Elliptical machines, ski machines or water running are some easy options.
Generally, do two to three days cross training a week and running on the alternate days.

Benefits of Cross Training:

  • Reduces chances of injuries during a race.
  • Improves your over all cardiovascular fitness.
  • Balances all your muscles even the ones not used in running.

Setting Goals

Once you have registered for a race consider setting goals for your training program. Setting goals will help you to stay on track and not strain your body before increasing in distance or in time. Be specific when you make your goals so that you do not lose motivation.

Also, adjust your goals if necessary. There is nothing wrong with taking more time to reach the end point you’ve been striving for.

Now the final step is to enjoy your running journey. Each day, listen to your body and make sure you don’t strain yourself. Just have fun and enjoy!

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