What’s the Difference Between Stamina and Endurance?
Stamina and endurance are terms that both refer to how long you can sustain physical activity. They’re often used interchangeably, but to be precise they’re not exactly interchangeable. Stamina is how long an activity can be performed at maximum capacity. It considers both the physical and mental burden of work. Endurance is how long an activity can be performed in total. It refers to cardiovascular efficiency. This is how well your heart, lungs and muscles work together to distribute blood and oxygen around your body to sustain activity. Sports that require stamina include anything high-intensity. That might be football, triathlons, rowing, martial arts, tennis and basketball. These sports involve bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by active recovery and going again. Having stamina allows you to keep up, mentally and physically. Any activity that needs to be sustained for long periods requires endurance, like marathon running. Your cardiovascular system needs to be efficient at transporting oxygenated blood around your body to your working muscles to continue the movement. The goal in endurance sports isn’t to max out on effort or work at maximum capacity; it’s to be physically capable of persistent activity.
How to Increase Stamina and Endurance for Running
- Stay Consistent: You build endurance by running as regularly as you can. Be consistent with your schedule, running at least three to four times a week. The exact number of runs depends on your running experience and fitness levels. Beginner runners should start small with only one or two runs per week, allowing for your body to adapt. More experienced runners can increase the running volume.
- Set an alarm: Setting an alarm to work out can give you the cue you need to get going. Instead of coming back from work and collapsing on the couch, set an alarm to remind you of your goals and get those running shoes on.
- Get a running buddy: Running with friends can improve exercise adherence. You’re combining social time with physical activity time.
- Schedule it in advance: A busy schedule can cause running time to be pushed to the side. Schedule runs in advance to hold yourself accountable.
- Increase Your Mileage Gradually: Any experienced runner will tell you the 10 per cent rule – Increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10 per cent per week. Small mileage increases help to prevent injury and gives your body a chance to adapt without feeling overloaded. So for example, if you run 10 miles total in one week, the next week, you should run 11 miles maximum.
- Incorporate HIIT Into Your Training: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to boost your endurance. A September 2013 study in PLoS One found that interval training improved VO2 max (a marker of endurance) more than endurance training. Interval training involves alternating between periods of max-effort exercise with rest periods. This might be a hill workout — running up the hill for 30 seconds and walking back down for 60 seconds. This type of interval workout strengthens your heart and lungs to handle the demands of longer races. Training at a high intensity will also help your muscles better handle lactate, a chemical byproduct of anaerobic respiration. When lactate builds up in the muscles during intense exercise, you might experience a burning sensation which can be uncomfortable. This is actually a build-up of hydrogen ions and not ‘acid’ as you’ve been told.
- Practice Plyometrics: Plyometrics is a type of training that uses explosive exercises. Think: box jumps, squat jumps, clap push-ups and tuck jumps. Your muscles have to exert maximum force in a short period of time, which increases muscular power. This helps running stamina in a few ways. Firstly it improves your ability to store energy between eccentric and concentric muscle contractions. Concentric muscle contractions are the weakest muscle action for the majority of people. Plyometrics increases this, creating the greatest force during the concentric phase. This can transfer into speed as your body can produce force more efficiently. Other benefits include making your muscle fibres stronger. Working against resistance with explosive movements puts your muscles under a new type of stress. This triggers the hypertrophic process in which muscle fibres get stronger and bigger in size.
- Manage Your Stress: An often forgotten component of stamina is how well you handle stress. This could be emotional stress (e.g., a hard day at work) or physical stress (e.g., a tough workout). Being stressed puts your body in a compromised state. Your immune function declines, hormone imbalance occurs due to elevated cortisol and adrenaline, your sleep gets interrupted, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, a September-October 2019 study in PAIN Reports found that stress impairs recovery. Your body isn’t able to focus on repairing damaged tissue because it’s in fight-or-flight mode. All the other processes are on pause. Some of the best ways to manage stress are meditation, mindfulness and yoga. These modalities help to calm the nervous system, fight inflammation, and relieve muscle tension.
- Run 800-Meter Intervals To Increase Endurance: add some 800s into your training plan. This training style can help runners improve their performance by running multiple shorter sprints interspersed with rest intervals. If you’re training for a marathon or half-marathon, this type of exercise can simulate the effort required for a long run while helping you build endurance. All you need to do is figure out your goal pace, then run it for 800 meters (two laps around a standard running track). So if your goal is 3:45/mile, your 800-meter goal time would be 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Run rounds of 800 meters until you can comfortably reach your goal time.
- Don’t Skip Strength Training: Strength training should be a part of your training routine regardless of whether you’re an experienced or beginner runner. It’ll improve running economy, which will help you use less oxygen and keep your pace for longer, per a June 2010 study in Strength and Conditioning Journal. It can also help you develop muscle and joint strength, allowing you to activate key muscle groups more easily. The better muscle recruitment, the better physical performance. This translates into running faster, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
See below some of our top recommendations for running shoes.
Adidas SuperNova 2.0
Whether you’re new to the sport or training for your first 10K, these running shoes meet you where you are on your journey. Responsive BOOST in the midsole supports your landing and energises every step, while springy forefoot cushioning propels you forward. Targeted zones of flexibility and ventilation on the Adidas PRIMEKNIT upper keep your feet comfy so you can reach your goals. Made with a series of recycled materials, this upper features at least 50% recycled content. This product represents just one of Adidas’ best solutions to help end plastic waste. £90.00, Adidas.co.uk
On Cloud Runner
One of the premium shoe companies on the market, the Swiss brand On is currently making a big name for itself both with recreational and professional runners alike and for good reason. The On Cloud Runners are the perfect everyday runner. A cushioned, supportive running shoe with a unique comfort sensation and On’s famous carbon fibre speed board these really will be a staple of your shoe collection. £139.99, On-running.com
UnderArmour Flow Velocity 2
Feel a need for speed as opposed to long steady runs? The UA FLOW is the brand’s fastest shoe to date and perfect for short, fast runs. Lightweight, rubberless, and durable, UA’s newest cushioning gives a close-to-the-ground, grippy feeling of speed. The kind of speed that feels like you’ve got the wind at your back. £140.00, Underarmour.co.uk