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How to improve stamina

Whether your goal is to increase your daily running mileage or total weekly miles, you can improve your running stamina by following an effective training program. The appropriate program combines weekly training runs and regular resistance training with proper nutrition, as each piece of the program provides an essential function in building stamina.

 

Step 1

Run more kilometer each week. You can increase your total running volume by increasing either the distance of each run or adding more runs. This allows your body to develop the systems needed to get more blood and oxygen to the muscles that are working. However, limit the increase to no more than 10 percent per week to allow the body time to adapt and reduce the risk of injury. In other words, if you run 15 km this week, you should aim to run no more than 16.5 km next week.

 

Step 2

Include one tempo run per week. A tempo run is done at approximately 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate, or about 30 to 40 seconds slower than your 5k race pace, often described as “comfortably hard.” Tempo runs challenge the lactate threshold, or the point where the muscles become fatigued. With regular tempo runs, the body will adapt and the lactate threshold will become higher.

 

Step 3

Incorporate a resistance workout two to three times per week, focusing on all of the major muscles groups of the body. Resistance can come from free weights, machines, body weight or bands, depending on what is available. At a minimum, the strength program should include squats, push-ups and planks because the combination of these three exercises will strengthen all of the major muscles of the body. As time allows, additional benefit would be gained from including more muscle-specific exercises such as dead lifts, rows, biceps curls and triceps extensions. Increasing muscle strength and endurance trains the muscles to work longer before reaching fatigue and that translates to being able to run longer.

Step 4

Consume a nutritious diet, high in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and low in fat to ensure you have enough energy to complete your run. The diet of a runner should be made up of 60 to 70 percent carbohydrates, 12 to 15 percent from protein and no more than 30 percent from fat sources. Runners must also focus on staying well hydrated, drinking water regularly throughout the day and before, during and after workouts.

 

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The best food for runners

The Best Foods For Runners

Runners by and large understand that food is fuel. They know that for energy and power and sustenance, they need calories and carbohydrates and protein. But that doesn’t mean they are the patron saints of nutrition. Runner standbys like pasta dinners, peanut butter-slathered bagels and neon-coloured sports drinks do not a balanced diet make.

In fact, says Liz Applegate, Ph.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of California Davis, with a little more attention to whole, real foods, runners don’t have to rely on energy drinks, bars and gels at all.

We asked the experts to tell us what should be considered the staples of a runner’s diet. And by runner, we mean you. Whether you’re the once-around-the-block type or a decorated marathoner, check out the picks below. (And click here for more detailed info on how much you should be aiming to get of the essential nutrients discussed below.)

 

Whole Grains

“Runners pretty much have it down that they need carbs, but the problem is getting quality carbs,” says Applegate. Instead of loading up on spaghetti for energy, she swears by black rice. When compared to its cousins white and brown rice, black rice takes the cake with more vitamin E and antioxidants, Health magazine reported. Susan Kleiner, Ph.D., RD, sports nutritionist for USANA Health Sciences, votes for quinoa, which even her culinarily-challenged NFL clients can prepare easily, she jokes. In addition to providing those whole-grain carbs, quinoa is also a complete protein, since it contains all nine essential amino acids.

Whole grains in general are also higher in fibre than white breads and pastas, so they’ll help you maintain a healthy gut. Just make sure to eat your most fibrous meals after you’re done working out for the day, since fibre is harder to digest, says Applegate, and the body isn’t meant to be digesting while exercising.

Lean Meat

While it isn’t for everyone, meat is an undeniably great source of protein — which speeds muscle recovery and growth — with about 20 to 25 grams per 3-ounce serving. (Vegetarians needn’t fret, there are many more protein options below.) Applegate recommends lean meat especially to female runners, since it’s also a great source of energy-boosting iron. Try it after your workout in a stir-fry with chinese cabbage, onion and carrots, she says, for a tasty dinner with lots of antioxidants that won’t take long to prepare, either.

Eggs

When it comes to protein, eggs reign supreme. A single, large hard-boiled delight packs 6 grams of protein, plus additional nutrients you won’t get from any other protein sources, says Applegate.

 

One of those is choline, an often-overlooked B vitamin, says Kleiner. It plays a role in a key neurotransmitter in the brain that the body needs every single time you move, let alone run. Choline has also been linked to reduced inflammation, a plus for runners, and greater happiness!

 

Yogurt

Not only does it provide vegetarian protein, it’s loaded with calcium. But yogurt’s biggest benefit for runners is the live bacteria, which help keep your gut in top shape, says Applegate. Opt for low-fat plain, then add your own flavouring like fresh fruit and a little honey, she says. Eating some on the regular is essentially like training your digestive tract, she says; stocking up on the good bacteria can help keep bad bacteria out.

Almonds

Kleiner calls almonds and other nuts sources of “healthy, high-performance fats”. Olives, olive oil and avocado are also safe bets, just don’t eat them too close to exercising, since fat slows digestion, she says. Almonds have the benefit of boasting a significant dose of vitamin E, important to runners for its immune-boosting powers. Believe it or not, that peanut butter on your banana may just be slowing you down — and it’s probably not providing as much protein as you might think, says Applegate.

 

Bananas

Speaking of bananas, “nature’s power bar” deserves its reputation in the fitness world. Bananas are loaded with potassium and rich in vitamins C and B6, as well as fibre, which gives them an edge over sports drinks when it comes to boosting performance and balancing electrolytes. Raisins pack some similar powers, says Applegate, who conducted a study that found that about an ounce of raisins provided the same amount of carbs as an energy gel during a long run and didn’t upset runners’ stomachs, either.

Kleiner suggests freezing bananas, then blending them into a smoothie for a texture closer to that of ice cream. “You’ll feel like you’re really eating something, but it still digests pretty quickly,” she says.

 

Sweet Potatoes

Whether they’re sweet or not, potatoes — with the skin on — are great sources of carbohydrates for runners, the experts say. They also pack some potassium and fibre and are loaded with antioxidants. Not to mention, they are quite versatile — instead of topping with melted butter, try adding your favourite protein source to your next baked potato, or try a sweet one with an egg, avocado and salsa.

 

Salmon

Runners should aim to get about 250 grams of seafood a week. Fish is a great source of protein and also omega 3 fats, which we don’t often get from other foods, she says. Canned salmon, which you can whip up like a tuna salad, is a convenient pick, she says. Plus, salmon is also a rich source of vitamin D, which is intricately involved in your mood. Getting enough of the sunshine vitamin means you will have the energy and focus to get off the couch and go run.

 

Leafy Greens

It boasts folate, an important B vitamin for circulation for runners, antioxidants, vitamin K — all for very few calories. She recommends starting a salad with a dark, leafy green base and then adding at least four other colourful veggies to the mix. You can’t go wrong with any salad green, though, since most pack fibre, calcium, iron and vitamins A and C, among other good stuff.

 

Fluids

While not exactly a food, fluids are paramount. Dehydration is one of the most common reasons people feel too sluggish to work out. Casual runners can usually drink according to their thirst; endurance runners will want to replace fluids on more of a schedule.

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The benefits of virtual race

  • Convenience

Obviously, the most popular reason to participate in a virtual run is the convenience of being able to run anywhere. Whether it is around your block, on the treadmill or even in a separate race. This freedom offers the convenience of time and money. All races have registration fees, but the time and travel to get to and from races can be expensive and stressful.

Virtual runs also offer, not only one day and time to run but usually a whole week, at any time of day, in which you can complete the run

  • Perfect for Beginners

Race events can be intimidating for beginner racers. The crowds, noise, knowing that your run will be timed, and let’s face it, the other, more experienced runners, can all potentially cause unwanted stress and pressure. if you need to ease yourself into the racing world, virtual runs are the perfect next step! Virtual runs enable you to join the running community and encourage you to push yourself to the next level, without the pressures and stress of competing with other athletes.

 

  • Connect with friends, family and the running community.

The great thing about virtual runs is that anyone can join! So if you have family or friends that live far away, you can connect with them be creating joint running goals and participating in the same virtual run. Virtual runs also can give runners a sense of a running community, even if they live in rural or out in the middle of nowhere locations

 

  • Medal

Let’s be honest, earning medals is fun. When you participate in virtual runs with Will Run for Medal, you earn medal & T-shirt with every race. Each medal is unique to the race, marking your individual accomplishments and progress with each race.

There are many people who would love to participate in physical races but are unable to for one reason or another. Therefore, a virtual race is a great option for those who want convenience.

That’s the kind of flexibility offered by virtual races, a new trend in the running community. Runners who sign up for a virtual race register online and simply choose their own starting line, whether it’son treadmill or a neighbourhood street. They run the race distance, upload their finishing time and get a medal.

 

“With virtual races, you don’t need to deal with traffic, parking, poor weather or unexpected schedule conflicts or injuries that might cause you to miss the race.”