We all know that you need stamina to participate in endurance sports. And one of the best ways to get stamina is by running. But as with most things in life, it’s good to have some variation.
This article will teach you how you can increase your stamina without going for a run. We’ll discuss what stamina is and why it’s important. We’ll also review why you should build it without running, and how exactly you can do that…
What is Stamina?
Stamina means the ability, energy, and strength that you have in order to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort. You can also think about it as endurance. It’s when you keep going even when you’re tired and want to stop.
If you want to boost the productivity of your heart, lungs, and muscles, you need to have stamina. If you want to be mentally ready to take on a race and make sure that you can push through the end, you need mental stamina.
To use running coach Matt Fitzgerald’s terminology, stamina is saying that you want it bad and you’re willing to work for it. But this takes time to develop, and you’ll likely need to do more than just running in order to be successful in building stamina.
Stamina is especially important for endurance sports like running because it’s not going to end anytime soon. You have to keep pushing hard through the end whether that’s a 5k or a full marathon.
Why Build Stamina Without Running?
If stamina is so great and you can build it running, especially the longer the distance, why bother doing anything else except running?
Well, first, it’s another way to add cross-training to your workout routine if you’re looking for other ways to develop stamina.
Second, increased stamina will make you a stronger runner in the long run. Always keeping your body guessing is the key to seeing progress and improvement and using a variety of different workouts to increase stamina will translate to your running.
3 Ways to Increase Stamina Without Running
Stamina just means pushing yourself so that you’re tired at the end and know that you did the most that you could at that time. As you keep pushing harder and harder, you will improve your endurance and stamina.
1. Add a HIIT Program to Your Workout Routine
If you want to improve your endurance, one of the best ways to do it is through High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts. You won’t have to sustain exercises for long, but they are going to be at a high intensity, as the name implies.
If you want to become fitter quickly, you have to do HIIT. You’ll do short bits of cardio exercise that can last anywhere from 10 seconds to five minutes, and you’ll have short rest breaks in between.
If you’re going full throttle, you likely won’t have to sustain that for anymore than 30 seconds, but if you’re at 90% or so of your max heart rate, you’ll sustain it for longer like 3-5 minutes. For your rest periods, they will be the same time or shorter than your exercises.
One study found that just two minutes of sprint interval training can help improve your performance and stamina, thus proving that HIIT is a powerful way to get fit quick. It also helps you burn fat quickly if you want to get more trim.
Additionally, research shows that you’ll improve your ability to think and increase your brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which you use for learning, memory, and mood. If you typically are cranky or need to study for something, HIIT will do the trick.
Plus, since you don’t need as much time, HIIT is great for days when you need to rush out the door for work and don’t have much time to get a workout in. Or when you get home late from work and don’t have too much time for a workout before dinner and bed.
2. Decrease Rest Time Between Reps While Strength Training
Another way to increase your endurance is to decrease your rest time between reps while strength training. If you’re already in a good regimen and don’t want to add HIIT workouts just yet, you can change up what you’re already doing.
By decreasing rest time, you’ll have to push harder through your workout, and your muscles will be burning as you drip with sweat at the end of strength training. You’ll have to want it enough to push through, but the more you do it, the more you’ll start to see progress.
Another option is to reduce your weight and increase the number of reps. If you’ve gotten used to doing three, your body will have to work harder to get through five reps even if there isn’t as much weight.
If you want to build stamina, you can also add some rapid-pace lifting to your strength training, which boosts endurance although it’s not as good for building muscle.
3. Add Cardio Workouts to Routine
In order to build stamina, you have to train your body how to push through things it doesn’t like and to power through new things as well. If you typically have a running intense cardio workout routine, add some new cardio into the mix.
You can try cycling, rowing, swimming, the elliptical, or pool running. By switching some of your cardio to another sport, you’ll also reduce your risk of injury from overuse because you’ll be working different muscle groups. Pool running and swimming is especially good for this.
It might even encourage you to start training for a duathlon (biking and running) or triathlon (swimming, biking, and running) to change up your race schedule some once you get more comfortable with a variety of different cardio.
Don’t forget that other team sports that you might be able to play with a group of friends are also great forms of cardio. You just need to move around a lot. This can include badminton, basketball, soccer, tennis, and volleyball.
In the end, just think of stamina as working really hard and being able to sustain that effort for a long period of time. While it’s great to develop stamina through running, you can also do it in other ways as well.
By varying up your routine, you’ll not only become more physically fit but also you’ll become a better runner. And you won’t get as bored with the same old exercise routine.
If you want to be able to answer Matt Fitzgerald’s question, “How bad do you want it?” with very bad and be able to push through any run and any race even when you don’t feel like it, you need to build up your stamina without running.