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How Not to Get Tired When Running? Tips to Improve Running Endurance
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How Not to Get Tired When Running? Tips to Improve Running Endurance

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on August 17, 2022
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11 min

One of the most exciting parts of running is running farther and faster than you did the week before. Using the tips listed in this article will help you improve your running distance and stave off fatigue as you run.

how to not get tired when running

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Is it a struggle for you to put one foot in front of the other while you run? Or maybe when you get home, instead of experiencing a “runner’s high,” you feel the need to crash? Both of these examples could mean that you are doing something wrong when going for a run.

In this article, we will cover some of the reasons you might be feeling exhausted as you run. We’ve also included helpful tips, which, if used, can help you improve your running endurance, so you can enjoy your runs more without getting tired.

What Causes Running Tiredness?

There are a number of things that can cause tiredness when you run. In this section, we will outline some of these factors, giving you insight into what might be causing you to feel fatigued.

Running for too long

When you run, it’s important to pick a distance that is right for you. Although it might seem like running for as long as you possibly can is a good idea, choosing a distance that you aren’t ready for can actually do more harm than good.

As you run, your muscles produce lactic acid. Lactic acid is the by-product of anaerobic respiration, which, simply put, is what happens when your muscles are using more oxygen than your lungs are able to provide.

It’s important to push yourself to get the most out of your workouts, but as always, you have to listen to your body. If you notice that you are feeling weak and sore or are starting to lose some of your muscle function, then you’ve gone too far.

A good goal when you start running is to simply run for 20 to 30 minutes. This should put you at between 2 and 4 miles run but could be a little more or less depending on your level of fitness.

As you get stronger, you can start increasing the distance, as well as the amount of time. Eventually, your base runs should last between 50 and 60 minutes.

Following the 10% rule, which states that you should add on no more than 10% of your original running distance, is a good way to make sure you are running within your means.

Picking the wrong running pace

Picking a running pace that is right for you will depend on things like the distance you plan to run, as well as your current level of fitness.

Running at a conversational pace, or pace that you feel you maintain while also holding a conversation, is great when you plan on running for a long time. This can be used for any runs that last for an hour or longer.

Working with base runs is a way for you to continue feeling energized during and after shorter, higher intensity runs.

A base run is when you choose a pace that feels challenging but that you can also maintain. Generally, this will be 60–75% of your maximum heart rate.

You should be able to sustain the pace of your base run for 20–30 minutes without needing to take any walking breaks. As your running stamina increases, so will your pace and the distance you are able to run in this time period.

Choosing a pace you cannot maintain can cause unnecessary fatigue that lasts longer than just during your workout. After your runs, you should be enjoying that “post-run glow,” not feeling tired enough to need a nap.

Consuming not enough food before and after a run

We live in a time when people are afraid of carbohydrates. And while bad carbs – things such as white bread and sugary cereal – should be avoided, eating healthy, whole-grain carbohydrates is necessary for anyone choosing to take on a vigorous exercise routine.

This is because carbohydrates are what our bodies use as fuel, especially when we start increasing our running pace. As we get above 70% of our maximum heart rate, our bodies stop using fat as a fuel source and switch to glycogen, which is created when our bodies break down carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are essential for giving your body proper fuel to use while working out. If your diet isn’t high enough in carbs, you will literally not have enough fuel to use as you exercise. This will cause you to crash post-workout.

After a run, it is important to replenish these sugars. You could do this by drinking a sports drink or even treating yourself to a glass of chocolate milk.

Not drinking enough water

Being properly hydrated for your workouts is important for a few reasons.

Muscle function

Drinking enough water before your workout is essential for muscle function. When you are running low on water, it causes a depletion of electrolytes in your muscles.

Electrolytes like calcium and magnesium are what conduct electric charges through your muscle, causing them to tense and allowing you to carry out muscle movements.

Water is also helpful in flushing lactic acid out of your muscles after your workout.

Overheating

The other essential aspect of proper hydration is that it allows the body to cool down during vigorous exercise. As your body heats up, some of this heat is sent to the surface of your skin through sweat. When you become dehydrated, the loss of water means you stop sweating, which can cause you to overheat.

Not only that, but your blood volume decreases, making it more difficult to get blood back to the heart. Both of these effects of dehydration can lead to heat stroke, especially if you’re exercising on a hot day.

Dehydration accounting for only a 2% loss of your body weight can have noticeably negative effects on physical performance.

Lack of sleep

A lack of sleep is probably a pretty obvious reason for us to feel fatigued while we exercise. When you are sleep-deprived, naturally, you won’t have the energy you need for intense physical activity. Not only that, but when we are sleep-deprived, our decision-making abilities are affected. If your mind is not engaged during your run, it can increase your risk for injury.

A lack of sleep can affect not only your energy levels but can also have a negative impact on your ability to recover post-workout. The majority of HGH, which is a hormone responsible for bone and muscle growth and repair, is released when we are sleeping deeply.

7 Tips to Improve Running Endurance Without Getting Tired

If you’re struggling with feeling fatigued and wondering how not to get tired when running, you can try some of the following 7 tips. Making changes to each of these areas can help set you up for success in the long run.

#1 Proper warm-up and stretching before and after a run

Stretching before a run is an important part of getting your body ready for exercise. You can try doing dynamic stretches to get your muscles warm or do a pre-workout jog followed by static stretching. Either way, you will be lengthening your muscles, making sure they have a full range of motion, and improving your running form.

After a long workout, you must fit in a proper cool-down. Stretching after your run can contribute to less lactic acid buildup in your muscles, helping speed up recovery.

Not sure how to arrange your training plan to fit in pre and post-workout stretching? There are apps like Joggo that not only create personalized running plans for you to follow but also include stretching routines.

Using apps that set you up with a training plan made by a personal trainer can be as helpful as hiring a running coach and can greatly improve your running performance in the long run.

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#2 Stay hydrated throughout the run

Hydrating properly before and after your run is one of the best things you can do to keep from feeling tired. It improves your running performance today and can help you recover more quickly tomorrow.

Make sure you are getting enough water before your workout to prevent cramping and improve muscle function. Proper rehydration after your run will also contribute to a quick recovery.

#3 Gradually increase running distance

As mentioned earlier in this article, a good rule to follow when it comes to increasing distance is to follow the 10% rule.

This means that if you start by running 1 mile a day, the next distance that you undertake would be 1.1 miles, instead of immediately jumping to 2.

It’s not recommended that you increase your distance every single run. Instead, it’s better that you take time in between your increases to let your body adjust. Maybe one week you run 1 mile, the next week you make the jump to 1.1, and the week after you decide to go for 1.2 miles.

Making small adjustments like this will give you time to adapt and can help you continue running without a high injury risk.

#4 Try different running exercises

Doing different running exercises will not only build your muscle in a more well-rounded way, but it will also help you stave off the boredom that can come from always doing the same workout.

Some different runs that you can try include:

Fartleks

Fartleks are similar to interval training but are more open-ended. An example of a fartlek would be choosing an object in the distance to run to, maybe a park bench or a tree, and sprinting there. After reaching this object, you would return to a slower pace, maintaining this for however long you see fit, rinse and repeat.

This kind of workout is very dynamic. Fartleks can help get you in better running shape while adding a fun element to your workout.

Hill climbs

Hill climbs will help you quickly increase muscle strength and improve your cardiovascular fitness. They will also help you improve your mental stamina, as forcing yourself to repeatedly run up a hill with very little rest isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

Hill climbs should be done on hills with no more than a 5% or 6% gradient. A good way to figure out if the hill’s too steep is to pay attention to whether or not you’re able to catch your breath by the time you reach the bottom of it. If you can’t, it could be that the hill is too steep or that you need to slow your pace going up.

Base run

Base runs were mentioned earlier in this article. They should make up the majority of your running days, and they create a solid base for your running.

A base run should be done at a more or less ‘comfortable’ pace. You should be challenged, but it should also be a pace that you could maintain for a good amount of time — 20–30 minutes to start, eventually building up to 50–60 minutes — without needing to take a break to walk or completely stop running.

Over time, your base distance and speed will improve, it’s okay if it’s on the slow side to start.

Tempo run

A tempo run is similar to a base, but the pace will be quicker, and the amount of time you run will be shorter.

During your tempo runs, you should aim to be outputting maximum effort (landing somewhere between 6–10 on a scale of difficulty) for as long as you can. Generally, tempo runs will last between 10–30 minutes, and they will increase your running capacity.

#5 Get enough sleep

A lack of sleep can not only leave us feeling fatigued, lowering our mental capabilities, but it can also impair our ability to recover from strenuous activity.

Getting enough sleep means you have enough energy to make it through your workouts without feeling tired, and it can also have an effect on your mental health.

We all know how much a lack of sleep can affect our everyday life. When you feel exhausted, you’re not only highly irritable, but your decision-making ability is also inhibited.

If you are running consistently, make sure that you fit in enough rest days, and it’s not a bad idea for those rest days to include a nap or two.

#6 Don’t forget strength and power exercises

Even if your focus is on improving your pace and running long distances, it’s never a bad idea for you to include some cross-training exercises. It’s best to choose low-impact activities to help alleviate strain on your bones and joints.

Swimming

Swimming builds strength in almost every muscle in your body. It also improves cardiovascular health and is one of the lowest impact exercises you can do, making it a great option for anyone who is overweight or dealing with injuries.

Strength training

Strength training is a great cross-training exercise for a number of reasons. It can help you gain bone density, lower inflammation, and can even help improve your posture, which could help you run with proper form.

Cycling

Cycling and running are similar in that they are both lower-body-focused exercises. When you cycle, you can expect to increase muscle mass in the same muscles that you use when you are running. It is the perfect low-impact exercise for you to do when your bones and joints need a break from running.

#7 Consistency is key

It’s better for you to focus on getting into consistent running habits than to try any sort of extreme fitness regime. Not only will it help you maintain your results in the long run, but it will also help prevent injuries like shin splints or stress fractures.

Many runners talk about how it’s better to set smaller, more realistic goals than to undertake more than you are ready for. And they couldn’t be more right.

It’s better for you to consistently run a mile 3 times a week than to run 5 miles 5 times a week for two weeks. Doing the latter could cause you to injure yourself or get discouraged by how difficult it would be to maintain that level of effort.

A Word From Our Coach

If you are starting to dread putting on your running shoes, then it’s time for you to make a change! Feeling tired after our workouts is normal every once in a while, but once it becomes routine, that means there is something wrong.

Whether you aren’t providing yourself with proper nutrition, are perpetually underslept, or are training too hard for your current level of fitness, listen to your body, and don’t be afraid to switch things up.

Exercising is supposed to be an act of self-love, not something that you dread doing.

Take an extra rest day when you need it, run to make you feel good instead of half-dead, and enjoy feeling better and better every single week.

Bottom Line

In this article, we’ve covered various reasons that you could be feeling tired when running as well as some ways that you can prevent post-workout fatigue.

Some of the topics have included:

  • Running too fast or for too long
  • Not enough carbohydrates in your diet
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of sleep
  • Training plan variations

By using some of the tips outlined at the end of this article, you will be able to set yourself up for success in the long run and start to love working out once again.

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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