Fit Tip: How to Build Endurance as a Beginning Runner

Posted On Oct 14, 2020 By BowFlex Insider Team

A woman running outside.

If you’re new to long-distance running, building endurance to increase your distance sounds daunting. How come? As hard as we may try not to, we tend to compare ourselves to others. When we compare, we think we should be running faster, longer, better in a blink of an eye – this isn’t the case. Even the people you compare yourself to had to start somewhere.

Many people either start running too far, too soon, or they simply increase their mileage too quickly. While being overly aggressive as a beginning runner is extremely common, it can result in running-related injuries like chondromalacia patella syndrome (runner’s knee), shin splints, IT band issues, and more. Mental pitfalls about your pace and distance can be discouraging at times, but starting slowly and listening to your body will ultimately lead to success.

The key is to start slowly and increase your mileage gradually.

BowFlex Fitness Advisor Tom Holland shares a few tips to increase your running endurance, while minimizing the chance of injury, including:

  • Starting slowly
  • Gradually increasing mileage
  • Running on non-consecutive days, if possible
  • Strength-training
  • Cross-training (biking, swimming, yoga, etc.)
  • Considering hiring a coach or joining a running club
  • Adding in walk breaks

To put these tips into practice, the chart below is a great example of a workout routine for building endurance:

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
Run Strength Run Strength Run Cross-Train Rest

Endurance does not equal speed, especially when you are just starting out. Endurance is directly related to a strong heart, which leads to a longer lifespan, as well as increased functional fitness for daily activities.

Over time, you can decrease the frequency and duration of walk breaks, boost your pace and increase mileage until you are running the entire distance without stopping. Until then, plan on following a training schedule, like the one below, to build your endurance and you’ll feel like an experienced runner in no time.

Beginner 5k 8-Week Training Plan

Monday Tuesday Wedneday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 R/W 10 Min Strength R/W 10 Min Rest X-Train R/W 10 Min Rest
2 R/W 10 Min Strength R/W 10 Min Rest X-Train R/W 10 Min Rest
3 R/W 10 Min Strength R/W 10 Min Rest X-Train R/W 15 Min Rest
4 R/W 15 Min Strength R/W 15 Min Rest X-Train R/W 20 Min Rest
5 R/W 15 Min Strength R/W 15 Min Rest X-Train R/W 25 Min Rest
6 R/W 20 Min Strength R/W 20 Min Rest X-Train R/W 30 Min Rest
7 R/W 25 Min Strength R/W 30 Min Rest X-Train R/W 35 Min Rest
8 R/W 15 Min Strength Rest R/W 10 Min Rest R/W 5 Min RACE!

R/W = Run/Walk. Use whatever intervals works best for you.

For more running tips, check out these posts from BowFlex Insider:

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