If you’re trying to improve your aerobic endurance, consistency is king. But you also need to change your running game, eat for endurance, ensure your recovery is on track, and get in the proper mindset.

Have you ever found yourself gassed after climbing a set of stairs? You’re not alone. Whether you’re an avid lifter, a runner, or just someone who enjoys walking a few times a week, aerobic endurance is essential to overall health and fitness.

But boosting aerobic endurance isn’t as easy as it sounds—but it’s crucial to your overall ability to perform an exercise for an extended period.

Whether you’re carrying groceries inside or hitting the trails for a run, this article is about improving aerobic endurance and giving you our best tips to improve your performance.

Let’s get started!

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Endurance vs. Stamina: What’s The Difference?

When you hear these two words, chances are you think they’re the same—but they’re not. Endurance is a component of physical fitness, whereas stamina results from increasing your cardiorespiratory fitness.

But before we dig into the details, let’s be sure we know what endurance is. Technically speaking, there are two types of endurance: cardiorespiratory and muscular.

Cardiorespiratory endurance is what we call aerobic endurance; it is your ability to perform sustained endurance exercise (long-distance running or cycling, for example).

Muscular endurance, however, is your muscles’ ability to exert force repeatedly or for a prolonged time before fatigue.

Which endurance you focus on largely depends on your fitness goals, but building both is crucial to overall fitness and can be hugely beneficial for your workouts and quality of life.

But studies also show that boosting your aerobic endurance has benefits beyond just the gym or a set of stairs—it can increase your metabolic rate and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, the number one killer worldwide 1.

But how do you build aerobic endurance? Just like you build muscle, aerobic endurance takes different skills and exercises to improve overall cardiorespiratory function and support more intense or maximal exercise performance for longer.

Ready to see how? Let’s do this.

7 Tips For Building Cardiovascular Endurance

1. Consistency is king with aerobic endurance

Whether it be strength, speed, power, or aerobic endurance, consistency is the number one way to unlock your body’s potential.

Consistent training with an endurance-focused program will help build your aerobic base, increase your aerobic capacity (VO2 max), and build strength and power.

The foundation of any aerobic endurance training program is based on gradually increasing the amount of training stress (load) you place on your body.

But if you want to see progress, you must remember that this load must be followed by adequate recovery to allow your body to adapt to training stress.

Over time, your body will adapt to the increased load with hypertrophy, strength, and stronger cardiovascular endurance. You must increase the load consistently to get maximum benefit from your training.

If you’re training to increase your running distance, it doesn’t always have to be about the length of your run. Research shows that short sprint interval training sessions can increase endurance as effectively as longer runs but require less time and volume 2.

2. Increase your run distance

Although short sprints can increase aerobic endurance, don’t forget about longer runs—even if you increase it by one mile. Although it might not sound like a lot, it begins to add up.

But once you start with high-volume training for a marathon, your longest runs should still only be 30-50% of your total distance for the week, done at a slow and sustainable pace.

Don’t be afraid to slow down and cover the distance—this is about steadily increasing your insurance, not vying for the top spot for time.

Here’s a simple way to increase your running stamina:

  1. Calculate your total running distance for the week
  2. Enter it in this equation: [total distance] x 0.30 = [single long run distance]
  3. Once you’re able to comfortably run this distance, multiply your total miles by 0.4 and then by 0.5

3. Incorporate tempo runs

You may have heard about tempo lifts for resistance training, but what on earth is a tempo run?

Tempo runs, also called threshold runs, are a great way to kick your training up a notch and boost cardiovascular fitness—they are a shorter distance run at a difficult pace.

They’re designed to increase your anaerobic threshold so your body gradually adapts to comfortably performing at a higher intensity—this intensity could be either distance or pace.

With tempo runs, you’re trading a light jog at a relatively leisurely pace for pushing your body, elevating your heart rating, and building stamina; you’ll be running at a faster pace but for a shorter distance.

But we’re not talking about interval training here because there are no rest periods—you’re running at a continuous pace for 20 to 30 minutes, and you should feel fatigued by the end.

Keep in mind that there is no single tempo for a tempo run. It’s customized to your running capabilities, and your tempo changes as you do.

Ideally, you want to maintain about 70% of your maximum effort for the entire duration of your tempo run, trying to gradually increase your speed with each subsequent training session.

You can also consider Fartlek training, essentially a form of unstructured speedwork. Fartlek training involves a continuous run with faster high-intensity running mixed with periods of moderate-intensity or lower-intensity running (no complete rest intervals).

They’re a simple and efficient training method for building aerobic endurance and improving the function of the cardiorespiratory system.

4. Eat for endurance

Regardless of what you’re training for, diet is huge—and it can make or break your results.

If you’re looking to improve aerobic endurance, you need to eat for endurance. That means getting enough protein, carbs, and fat to support your energy needs and recovery.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Moderate carb loading before a morning run can be helpful, especially for longer-duration runs. If your primary aerobic exercise is running (endurance-based), you can get as much as 65% of your calories from carbs, although you may play around with this ratio 3.
  • Fats are essential for runners. They’re needed for proper cellular and nervous system function, insulation, and organ protection and can function as an energy source when glycogen stores are depleted 4. Consuming less than 20% of your calories from fat isn’t recommended, as dietary fat is critical for nutrient absorption.
  • Sufficient protein is needed to repair muscles after strenuous activity and maintain muscle mass 3. Generally speaking, aim for 1.4 g/kg/day or 0.3 g/kg every 3–5 hours. If you need fuel before training, consider 0.3 g/kg immediately before aerobic exercise and 0.3 g/kg within two hours post-exercise.
  • If your run or other activity exceeds one hour, consider fueling during. Research finds that a simple carb-based drink effectively boosts glycogen stores and maintains energy levels.

If you want to perform at your best, appropriate nutrition is vital for endurance performance, conditioning, and recovery.

5. Get your recovery on point

How you train is only part of the equation—making gains is also about how well you recover, which isn’t just about taking time away from training. It’s about your nutrition, recovery practices, sleep, stress levels, and more.

When training to boost aerobic endurance, you must remember that long runs take extended periods of recovery, as they cause more muscle damage.

Want to maximize your body’s ability to recover after aerobic endurance training?

Here are some tips:

  • Good quality sleep is imperative to a proper recovery. Studies show that sleep deprivation not only impairs mental performance but also reduces protein synthesis (i.e., your muscles’ ability to repair themselves) via interfering with hormone secretion 5, 6. Ideally, aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
  • Stay properly hydrated. After a run, water, sometimes with electrolytes added, is essential to replenish stores lost during sweating and to help rebalance electrolytes. Some research recommends consuming a beverage with 30-50 mmol/L of sodium for optimal absorption and to prevent hyponatremia 7.
  • Use recovery tools like massage, self-myofascial release, deep breathing, stretching, cryotherapy/hydrotherapy, and others to enhance blood flow and facilitate better oxygen and nutrient delivery.

6. Get your mind in the game

Your mind and body work together to push you through some of the most challenging situations in your life. If your body is ready, but your mind isn’t, chances are it won’t happen - and this holds true for aerobic endurance training.

So, if you’re looking to boost your aerobic endurance training and elevate your performance to a new level, get your mind in the game!

Focus on what you’re doing now—don’t worry about what’s going to happen in 10 minutes, 45 minutes, or two hours. You want to ensure you’re present and tuning into your body and mind and how they feel during intense exercise.

7. Consider a pre-workout

While you may not need a pre-workout to crush your aerobic endurance training session, it can be a great crutch to help boost your aerobic endurance and help you power through with ease.

But not all pre-workouts are created equal. With Pre Lab Pro®, you’re getting a state-of-the-art nutritional formula designed to maximize nitric oxide levels to help sustain maximum performance for longer.

You also benefit from 80 mg of caffeine, L-theanine, and other nootropics stacked to support more energy, focus, and intensity with fewer side effects.

And to top that off, Pre Lab Pro® adds essential nutrients before training to help you perform at your peak, maintain hydration and electrolyte balance, resist stress, and accelerate recovery.

If you’re looking for a solid complement to a good aerobic endurance training program to enhance your aerobic fitness, PLP is it.


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  2. Koral J, Oranchuk DJ, Herrera R, Millet GY. Six Sessions of Sprint Interval Training Improves Running Performance in Trained Athletes. J Strength Cond Res. 2018;32(3):617-623.
  3. Vitale K, Getzin A. Nutrition and Supplement Update for the Endurance Athlete: Review and Recommendations. Nutrients. 2019;11(6):1289.
  4. Trumbo P, Schlicker S, Yates AA, Poos M; Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, The National Academies. Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids (published correction appears in J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 May;103(5):563). J Am Diet Assoc. 2002;102(11):1621-1630.
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