Beginners and advanced runners alike want to find out how to run without getting tired. The answer lies in a combination of training practices and downtime techniques you can deploy to boost your endurance.
When you’re just starting out, it can feel like you’ll never be able to reach your goal without stopping for a walk break. You’re wondering when you’ll get over the hump and start enjoying your runs.
Likewise more advanced runners aiming for longer distances like half marathons and full marathons can get frustrated when they get tired during those longer runs.
Each new level has its own barriers and breakthrough points. The key is to find that sweet spot through techniques to help blast through the challenges.
In this post, we’re going to detail the factors that affect your ability to run without getting tired, including:
– Training techniques to run longer without getting tired
– Practical tips for running without tiring yourself out
– Downtime techniques you should use to maximise your running endurance (including diet, fuelling, and rest).
Interested in how to not get tired when running?
Let’s jump in!
Why Do I Get Tired When I Run?
There are a few factors to consider when looking at your exhaustion level while running and how to improve it, namely:
- Your endurance capacity. In other words, how long your body can keep running before it gets tired. There are a few components to your endurance capacity, including lactate threshold, aerobic capacity, mitochondria levels, and musculoskeletal endurance. Each component is a separate part of your physiology, but contributes to your ability to keep running without stopping.
- The type of running workout you’re performing. There’s a big difference between getting tired on a slow, easy run than getting tired on an intense hill sprint session. The intensity of the workout affects how quickly we fatigue.
- Your condition during the run – whether you’re tired, stressed, distracted, overfed, hungry…all of these factors play a huge role in how well you perform, and how quickly you get tired. Anyone who has felt some overwhelm in their life then tried to go for a run and simply not had the willpower knows what I’m talking about. It’s also important to be fuelled adequately for the workout you have planned.
Each of these can affect how to not get tired when running. Now I’m going to share exercises and pieces of advice for addressing each of these, and explain exactly how to run longer without getting tired.
11 Ways To Improve Your Ability To Run Without Getting Tired
To prevent getting winded and running out of steam too fast, you should know the major contributing factors that make you a stronger runner.
The Starting Point: Your Wellbeing
It’s often the last thing runners consider, but almost everything in your life can affect your running performance in one way or another.
Tip #1: Ensure You’re Well-Rested
Sleep deprivation is a major problem in modern society – and it’s affect on your running performance might explain why you get tired so quickly.
Studies have shown that there are several consequences to running while sleep-deprived, including:
- rate of perceived exertion increases (a workout feels harder than when you’re well-rested).
- body slower to produce glycogen, which is used to fuel your runs
- increase in stress hormones, depressed immune system
- compromises your body’s ability to thermoregulate.
Attempting to run when sleep deprived is, in short, a recipe for a bad run.
If you’re trying to figure out how to run longer without getting tired, one of the first fixes should be your sleep.
Here are three tips to improve your sleep quality:
- Have a quality sleep environment. Dark, cool, and with minimal distractions – try to leave your smartphone on airplane mode, and preferably at the other side of the room!
- Cultivate a night-time wind-down routine. An hour or so before hitting the sack, begin a wind-down – perhaps that’s a cup of camomile tea on the sofa, or reading a good book.
- Stick to a consistent schedule. Trying to mess around with your sleep schedule often just results in you being unable to fall asleep and getting frustrated, Stick to a consistent sleep schedule, aim for the same time every night.
Tip #2: Avoid Overwhelm, Temper Anxiety
Overwhelm is the sensation that you’ve got more on your plate than you can handle. It’s especially common in athletes and people who tend to commit to a lot of things, whether it’s training for a marathon or hitting new targets at work. Whatever it is, overwhelm can diminish your athletic performance.
This can be surprising to hear, but overwhelm can make it harder to work out effectively. Same goes for anxiety – studies have proven that anxiety leads to a higher rate of perceived exertion (how hard you feel you’re pushing), so you’re more likely to feel exhaustion and get tired as you run.
If this sounds like you, my advice is to relax into your runs.
Running can actually be an extremely effective stress reliever or anxiety buster. And the fact that you’re getting twisted up and tired as you run is perhaps a sign that you’re treating your run like another challenge when it should be a time of calm reflection.
If you’re in this camp, perhaps you need to lower your expectations for your runs – stop chasing a target pace, don’t look at Strava, and lean into being present as you run.
When wondering how to run without getting tired, sometimes the answer lies within.
Tip #3: Ensure You’re Well Fuelled and Hydrated
Getting tired when running is often a sign that you don’t have enough fuel in your tank.
Runners mostly get their fuel from carbohydrates, and making sure you’ve loaded up before your run is an essential part of pre-run prep.
Read more: 11 Great Carbohydrate Sources For Runners
Before a run, something as simple as a banana and peanut butter on toast will give you the fuel needed for a 30-45 minute run.
As you get into runs of 45 minutes or more, you need to start thinking about fuelling as you run in order to avoid hitting the wall. Grab a few energy gels or sports drink.
During the week you should eat vegetables and fruits, fresh juice, and lean meats to keep your carb and protein levels in good shape..
Hydration is another factor often overlooked by runners which plays a part in your time to exhaustion. If you’re wondering how to not get tired when running, it may be that you simply need to drink a little more water before your runs.
Your Run Training – How To Run Without Getting Tired
Tip #4: Set An Achievable Pace
This is the biggest mistake runners make when trying to improve speed: they run at random paces.
Many runners are tempted to run close to their fastest pace until they get tired, then they quit.
While sprinting does improve your stamina, it’s better to use it as a cross-training workout. The best way to regulate your pace to run longer is the rate of perceived effort (RPE).
RPE measures the intensity of your exercise. The Clevland Clinic gauges that scale from zero to 10.
You should aim to keep your exercise at a moderate level, between levels 3 and 6. Watch out for shortness of breath and tired leg muscles.
Aim to run at a comfortable conversation pace. This will help you keep running without getting tired.
Tip #5: Warm Up Before You Go
Always warm up before a run. You don’t need special techniques for warming up – the basics will do. Just be sure to stretch the muscles you’ll be using during your run.
The most important areas to stretch are:
When you’re doing your exercises, be sure to breathe through the movement and stretch those particular muscles, rather than straining your knees or back.
Warming up also involves a brisk walk before the run. Never start and stop a run abruptly, but always ease into it with a quick warmup and cool down.
Tip #6: Do Weekly Intervals
Intervals are another method to help you pick up the pace long-term. The best way to do them is by setting a timer or choosing a distance, setting your pace at heavy to very heavy (7-10 on the RPE scale), and running until you reach it.
Then walk or jog lightly for a set amount of rest time before starting again.
Tip #7: Mix It Up With Weight Training
Running is mainly a cardio exercise, but it takes body strength to run too. Strong glutes, quads, and core propel you up hills, and keep your body moving forward during a long-distance race.
Building that extra muscle strength requires some simple exercises that make a big impact.
- Bodyweight core exercises (like pushups, planks, and side planks)
It’s best to use weights (a barbell with weighted plates, dumbbells, or kettlebells) so you make the most of your session in a concentrated amount of time.
With these 5 exercises, plan to do 3 sets lifting the heaviest amount you can. Your total gym time will be 15-20 minutes.
It’s amazing the endurance benefits you’ll note through strength training when thinking how to run without getting tired.
Tip #8: Small Goals for the Win
Always break small goals into large goals. If you want to run a half marathon, take that distance and split it up into smaller increments.
Sign up for two races before your designated half marathon time: a 5K, then a 10K. When you cross those finish lines, you’ll boost your confidence and celebrate your successes along the way to the larger goal.
Tip #9: Give Your Feet the TLC They Deserve
Feet don’t last forever, as much as it hurts to admit it. They need care and attention so they’ll keep supporting your body and carrying you along hundreds of miles.
Caring for your feet prevents long-lasting injuries down the road, like tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.
- Wear proper shoes: your shoes need to fit your feet perfectly. They shouldn’t squeeze your toes at all; in fact, buying running shoes one size too big is a good practice, since it gives room for swelling in extreme weather conditions. The right shoes should always have a good arch and be able to tie firmly at the ankle.
- Ice your feet after a long run: There’s bound to be swelling at the end of a workout, so don’t ignore it until it dies down. Soak those feet in an ice bath and encourage healing and speedy recovery from the exertion.
- Massage sore muscles: Find the tense spots in your feet and rub the soreness out of them to prevent the formation of lumps in the sore tissue.
- Hold swollen ankles above the heart: The best way to get rid of that inflammation is by letting the blood flow freely from the swollen area to the heart. If they’re extremely swollen, ibuprofen will speed the process along.
Final Tip: Above All, Be Consistent
All the tips I’ve outlined in this article will guide you in how to run without getting tired, but only if you turn them into habits. None of them will help you if only do it one time or every once in a while.
When you download our free half marathon training plans, you can add these weekly habits into the customizable Google Sheets portion of the plan.
Choose 2-3 techniques and put them in your weekly running schedule to enjoy the full results of your effort!