How to build up endurance

Endurance allows people to work out at a certain intensity or for an extended amount of time.

From cycling, to running, to soccer, to swimming, aerobic exercise requires endurance so athletes can keep on going without losing steam. But it may not be as easy as running longer, swimming farther, or cycling all around the country. Here, are some traditional ways to keep going stronger, longer.

Endurance allows people to work out at a certain intensity or for an extended amount of time, try these tips to help bump up endurance a notch. With some smart training and nutrition guidance, that Ironman may totally be within reach!

Rest up. To go long and hard, athletes need fresh muscles. Go hard on hard days; go easy on easy days; and never string hard days together without adequate rest. Feeling fresh can help anyone go the distance.

Eat right. When it comes to exercise nutrition carbs are key, since the body uses glycogen for fuel when the going gets tough. Studies have also found a mix of carbs and protein can enhance endurance performance and reduce muscle damage. That said, keep in mind that the best mix of carbohydrates, fat and protein varies considerably amongst athletes. Experiment, experiment, and experiment some more to find the right combination for you.

HIIT it up. It might sound crazy, but often less really is more. High intensity interval training—aka quick bouts of intense exercise—can help improve endurance in conjunction with traditional training. Need some ideas on how to mix it up? Run some stairs or try a track workout for some speed. Just remember to get plenty of recovery after these workouts—they’re intense!

Add some strength. When it comes to endurance training, variation is important. Resistance training can strengthen our bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. This helps improve overall fitness and helping with that final sprint to the finish.

Turn on the tunes. Could it be as easy as pumping up the volume? Listening to music has been shown to boost endurance, so it doesn’t hurt to work out with some tunes. The mind-body connection is especially strong among endurance athletes, and any pick-me-up can help when the going gets tough.

Work on what’s weak. People often find their fitness niche and stick to it. Instead, Mandrola advises people to mix it up in order to build endurance: Marathoners should work on speed, and flat-landers should stomp those hills. Getting to that personal best means working on what’s most challenging.

Drink beet juice! Yup, it’s science. One study found nitrate-rich-beets  may help increase stamina up to 16 percent by reducing oxygen intake in athletes (It remains unclear if other nitrate-rich foods produce similar effects). So consider drinking some beet juice along with that bowl of pasta the night before race day. You never know. Just remember that beet juice can be high in sugar, so use in moderation.

Train smart. The gradual adaptation principle, that is, slowly and steadily increasing mileage and speed—is a great way to build endurance. There are ways to do this safely to avoid injury, from running on soft surfaces, to getting enough sleep and drinking tons of water.

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