If you’re looking to bike harder, run faster or swim farther, here are some great tips to increase your stamina, build your endurance and become a better athlete by training the right way.
Decide on a goal
Do you want to beat your 5K personal record? Finish your first 50-mile bike ride? A surefire way to hold yourself accountable is to get an event on the calendar. Target a race that’s three to six months away so you can budget enough time to train Try searching active.com or trifind.com for local events.
Follow the 10% rule
If you’re gearing up for a longer distance, build up gradually. The golden rule: don’t increase mileage by more than 10% per week. So if you run 25 miles one week, increase that by no more than 2.5 more miles the following week.
Vary your pace
Going one moderate speed for every workout won’t take your endurance to the next level. “Swimming for a straight 30 minutes loses its benefit after doing it five or six times,” says swim coach Gerry Rodrigues of Los Angeles–based aquatics program Tower 26. “You need to incorporate intervals and work different systems.” Try swimming 4×200 yards “descending,” making your last 200 is the fastest. Not only does this build endurance, but also teaches proper pacing so you finish strong.
Do test sets
Track your progress and push yourself by doing a time trial every two to three weeks. You could do one mile all out on the treadmill or a 30-minute timed effort on the bike. Keep track of as many stats as you can to chart your progress: pace, heart rate, distance, time and how you feel.
Keep up the strength training
“When done properly, strength training has an excellent carryover to endurance sports,” says physical therapist and triathlon coach Bryan Hill of Rehab United in San Diego. “It will keep you injury-free and ensure that you maintain form all the way to the finish line.” He suggests timed circuits to simulate intervals, high reps with lower weight to aid in muscle endurance, and plyometrics for integrating power.
Schedule recovery days
“Recovery days help prevent injuries and breakdown of your body,” says Adam Friedman, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute trainer. Treat downtime as part of your training, and schedule at least one recovery day each week.