How to Run Longer Without Getting Tired

Three Methods:Building EnduranceDeveloping SpeedMaintaining Good Form

The idea of running long distances can be daunting at first, especially for the uninitiated. However, with a lot of patience and a baby-steps approach, you can steadily develop a solid pace that will last for longer and longer stretches, even while you chitchat with your running partner!

Method 1
Building Endurance

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    Train within your limits. Whether you are only beginning to run or have already made a practice of it, design a training schedule based on your current abilities. Forget “no pain, no gain.” Resist the urge to push yourself too hard too fast. Keep your runs sensible and achievable, especially in the beginning.[1]
    • Running is a high-impact exercise with a risk of injury, especially for beginners. The tortoise-wins-the-race mindset will decrease your chance of injuring yourself while gradually increasing your endurance.[2]
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    Run and walk in intervals. If you have little or no miles under your belt, alternate between running and walking in the beginning. Jog for one minute, then walk for four. Repeat three more times for a total workout of 20 minutes. As the one-minute jogging intervals become easier from one workout to the next, double them to two minutes each and decrease the walking intervals to three. Continue to increase the jogging and decrease the walking over time until you are comfortably running for a total 20-minute stretch. [3]
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    Stick to an easy pace. Keep it slow enough for you to be able to jog and talk with someone else at the same time without becoming seriously winded. Worry about developing speed later. For now, allow your body to adjust to the rigors of running without taxing it too much. Concentrate more on perfecting your form so it becomes more natural and less of a “pose” that you have to actively think about maintaining.[4]
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    Increase your mileage. Whether you plan your runs according to distances or set amounts of time, increase the amount you run in one session bit by bit. Be sure to make the changes gradually. [5] For instance, once you are able to run 20 minutes at a consistent, easy pace, add another five minutes to your runs. Then, once 25 minutes becomes perfectly manageable, add another five to make it a half-hour run.
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    Establish “normal” runs versus longer runs. Once you are consistently able to jog comfortably for a certain length of time or distance (let’s say for 30 minutes straight), designate this length as your normal or “easy” run. In a given week, alternate between easy runs and longer ones.[6] Again, increase your mileage gradually. On your first longer run, jog at your normal pace for 40 minutes, or even just 35. As this extra mileage becomes manageable, increase it by another five or ten minutes.
    • However many days per week you are able to commit to running, always be sure to go out on more easy runs than longer ones each week.[7]
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    Select a “medium” run. As you grow more accustomed to jogging for longer stretches than your easy run, pick a certain distance or amount of time as your medium run.[8] Include at least one medium run in your weekly training, as well as one longer run. On your medium run, stick to the designated distance or time, while continuing to add mileage incrementally to your “long” run.
    • Let’s say you run five days a week. Your easy run is 30 minutes and your medium run is 40 minutes. On Day 1, jog for 30. On Day 2, jog for 40. On Day 3, jog for 30. Then, on Day 4, jog for 45 or 50 minutes. After that, finish your week with another easy 30-minute run.
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    Keep your easy and medium runs fixed. In general, the more mileage you run, the more damage your body incurs due to the constant impact with the ground.[9] Once you establish your easy and medium runs, stick to those limits, whether you define them by distance or time. Focus on improving your performance within those limits rather than continue to endlessly expand them over time.
    • Continue to add mileage a little at a time to your long runs if desired, but never do more than one long run per week. Give your body the chance to recuperate.[10]

Method 2
Developing Speed

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    Shorten your runs. Once you are satisfied with your ability to run long distances at a comfortable pace without getting tired, focus on increasing your speed. Start with your easy runs. Run a shorter distance at a slightly faster speed than normal.[11] For example, if your easy run is 30 minutes, run for 20 minutes at a quicker pace. If you have built up enough endurance, you should still be able to have a slightly breathy conversation while doing so.
    • As you adjust to jogging faster on your easy runs, increase your easy runs back to their original length. Move on to running shorter medium runs at a quicker pace. Once you have mastered that, slowly increase your medium runs until they reach their original length.
    • Once your faster pace becomes your new “normal” pace, repeat the process to add more speed with an even quicker pace.
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    Run fartleks.[12] When you go out for a run, set the timer on your watch for a short amount of time. Let’s say five minutes. Be sure to set the timer on repeat so it continues to count down five minutes again and again. Start off at your normal pace for the first five minutes. When the timer goes off, increase your speed to a pace that you can run consistently for the next five minutes. When the timer goes off again, drop back to your normal pace. Repeat for the duration of your run.
    • Over time, as five-minute intervals become less challenging, increase each interval by another five minutes.
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    Charge hills. Find a low, steep hill. Or, if you live in a particularly mountainous area where there is no such thing as a “low” hill, mark a distance up the gradient to sprint for eight to twelve seconds. Sprint up the hill as fast as you can, walk or jog back down, and repeat. Exercise as many leg muscles as possible, all at once.[13]
    • Gradually increase the number of reps from workout to workout as each one becomes easier.
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    Work out on the track. Sprint at full-speed on a 100-meter straightaway.[14] As always, start small. Do only a few reps at first, with a focus on form. As you become able to maintain maximum speed from start to finish in every rep, increase the number of reps.
    • Also gradually increase the distance. Do 200-meter sprints, then 300, then 400. Each time you increase the distance, decrease your speed so you can grow accustomed to the longer distance, then gradually increase your pace, with the aim of sprinting at a consistent pace from beginning to end.
    • Try combining various distances into your reps. For example, sprint for 400 meters, then jog for 100. After that 100-meter jog, sprint for 300, then jog for another 100. Sprint for 200 after that, then jog one 400-meter lap around the track to recuperate before repeating the rep.

Method 3
Maintaining Good Form

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    Keep your strides short. Avoid overextending your leg in front or in back of you. When you raise your knee ahead of you, keep that foot’s heel directly below it as you bring it down, so that your shin is perpendicular with the ground at a 90º angle when your foot lands. When you want to burst forward with a faster speed, focus on increasing the number of strides you take while maintaining this form, rather than reaching farther forward with your leading foot.[15]
    • The only time you should change the length of your stride is on hills. Shorten your stride to climb hills faster with more steps, and then open your legs up into a wider stride as you descend.[16]
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    Maintain posture. Keep your back straight to open your chest and fill your lungs with air. Imagine drawing each breath all the way down to your stomach in a straight line from your nose and mouth to your belly.[17] Lean forward a tiny bit to push your body forward if needed (for example, when you run into the wind),[18] but avoid slouching so far forward that your lungs become constricted.
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    Keep everything moving forward. Keep your eyes up so that you are looking directly ahead. Pump your arms front to back to drive your legs. Avoid crossing them over your chest in a side-to-side motion as you run, or bunching them up tight over your armpits.[19]
    • With each stride, your knuckles or hands should brush your hips on their way forward or back.[20]
    • Running with your thumbs up is a simple way to remind your arms to move forward and backward instead of side-to-side. Don’t hold them too rigidly, however,[21] since this will tense up your arms, needlessly burning energy.


  • Proper rest, diet, and hydration are essential for a healthy running program.
  • To minimize the chance of injury, wear sneakers that fit well and have plenty of life left in their soles.
  • To train for races (as opposed to running for the heck of it), concentrate on building endurance first, well before racing season begins, to avoid exhausting your body and risking injury from too much mileage once race time finally arrives. Then focus on speed work.
  • Consistent running is key to maintaining endurance. To give your body a break, stick to easy runs for a while, but don’t quit running entirely.


  • If you suffer asthma, heart problems, lung disease or breathing problems, long distance runs may cause your breathing to play up. Consult a doctor or your GP about this.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Individual Sports | Outdoor Recreation