I want to increase my stamina when running, I know that the standard way to do so, is to increase the duration of the workout session, for example a runner may start by running for 30 minutes straight and add, say 5 extra minutes in every workout.

However, since I only have time for 30 minutes of workout per day I was thinking of a different approach to progress, instead of increasing the duration of my workout, I instead attempt to increase the speed, so I cover more and more distance over the same duration.

I want to ask if this way of progressing can increase my ability to run for longer periods than just 30 minutes.

1 Answer 1


Can I improve running stamina by increasing intensity rather than duration?

Yes, increasing intensity rather than duration is a perfectly valid way of training, and is even better under the right circumstances.

There are many factors that determine how much endurance you have. Two of the most important factors are the rate at which the athlete's body can consume oxygen (VO2 max) and what intensity of exercise at which lactate begins to accumulate in blood at a faster rate than it can be removed (lactate threshold).

In this 2007 study they recruited 40 nonsmoking, moderately trained male subjects and assigned each of them to one of four groups.

  1. Long Slow Distance: 70% maximal heart rate
  2. Lactate Threshold: 85% maximal heart rate
  3. 15/15 Interval Running: 15 seconds of running at 90-95% maximal heart rate
  4. 4x4 Minutes of Interval Running: 4 min of running at 90-95% maximal heart rate followed by 3 min of active resting at 70% maximal heart rate

Shown below demonstrates what the heart rates would look like in each group. enter image description here

They found that both of the higher intensity groups significantly increased their V02 max, yet the lower intensity groups had no statistically significant changes in their V02 maxes. The velocity at lactate threshold was significantly improved by an average of 9.6% for all groups as a consequence of changes in running economy and V02 max. Due to how difficult it is to do the 15x15 at a heart rate of 90-95% HR max, they advised to do 4x4 min training if you want to improve V02 max.

  • 2
    "Active rest" = code words for "laying on track attempting to keep your insides in" :D :D
    – JohnP
    Jul 7, 2021 at 14:58
  • 1
    Ahahaha I thought that was an interesting way to word that too xD Jul 7, 2021 at 15:04

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