I am a Tennis player. 23 M USTA 4.0. I am pretty much well in shape (height:6'00" weight:170 pounds).

I want to improve my stamina. I run 3 miles(at speed about 9 minutes/mile) thrice a week. I can run about 5 miles without a stop before my body urges to take a break. (I try to run as much as I can once in every two weeks). My problem is this number (5 miles) is not improving for last 6 months. That means even if I am working hard my stamina is not improving. Please suggest some techniques.

EDIT I run to improve my stamina in general. Yes, I want to improve my stamina for Tennis. My experience is - For about first hour, I can split step every shot. After one hour, my capacity to split step gradually decreases. At hour 3, I do split step only about 20% of shots, I can still hit my shots though. At hour 4, I find myself not moving my legs at all, but I can still hit the ball. What can I do from Tennis' perspective. Is this kind of stamina considered low. (My breaks are very short).

  • 2
    Do you want to improve your stamina for tennis or for running? Jul 20, 2012 at 18:18
  • @dave for tennis. Jul 20, 2012 at 18:59
  • Are you competing for 4 hours, or practicing for 4 hours? Jul 20, 2012 at 19:03
  • @dave: practicing Jul 20, 2012 at 19:13
  • @hrishikeshp19 Try to give people more than 15 minutes before you accept an answer.
    – michael
    Jul 21, 2012 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


The nature of tennis is 3-5 second bursts of speed with 3-5 seconds rest for around 30 seconds, followed by 30-60 seconds of rest. This suggests that the Phosphagen and Glycolitic pathways will be be called on the most. If you are able to play explosively for an hour or more before fatiguing, it is likely that the problem is not fitness, but nutrition. Your glycogen stores may have been depleted over time, and your body can not produce enough on its own during the activity. You may consider a pre-exercise carbohydrate source, as well as more carbohydrate during the exercise Physiology of Preparation, Competition & Recovery

Running distances trains the oxidative pathway while ignoring the other two pathways. For this reason, increasing your distance running fitness will probably not help you in the later hours of your tennis. In fact, it may be counter productive, as it is difficult to have all metabolic pathways in peak form simultaneously.

So, to train for longer tennis activities, train the correct pathways. Consider several rounds of tabata sprints with side-switching length rest, and make sure you are replenishing your glycogen stores with carbohydrate.

  • makes sense. I am a bit underweight. Also, my diet is mostly vegetarian food. I will probably do some research on what should my diet be. Thanks, the post was useful. Jul 21, 2012 at 6:33
  • Whatever you're doing now, do the opposite. Start alternating your workouts. If you do short bursts one day, do long marathons the next. Try running full throttle for one block, then walking two, and repeat. Keep your body guessing.
    – siouxfan45
    Jul 22, 2012 at 19:21
  • @hrishikeshp19 you are NOT underweight. Don't change your diet. Jul 23, 2012 at 13:28
  • @RyanMiller What is the point of this comment? 6' 170# definitely sounds slim, but the diet changes are for performance improvements, not weight change.
    – michael
    Jul 23, 2012 at 14:27
  • 1
    @RyanMiller BMI of 29: whatsurfrantime.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/rf.jpg?w=529 BMI is useless, especially for athletes.
    – michael
    Jul 23, 2012 at 16:36

I will address this simply from the standpoint of increasing the amount of time you can run, but I do want to point out that there are other factors that may influence this, such as your nutrition, hydration, other workouts around the run, things of that nature.

You are running approximately 30 minutes, 3x a week, for around 9-10 miles total distance. If you keep running at that same pace, same distance all the time, then your body cannot adapt to longer distances, and thus when you nearly double your distance, you fatigue. This is not surprising, since you are not stretching yourself. If you want to run longer than 5 miles, then you need to work on that day to day.

I personally think that you get much more out of your running if you are doing it more often, so in addition to the 3x per week, I would add in 2 days of 15 minute runs. Keep this up for a few weeks to get used to it, then start adding some time to all your runs. Don't add more than a few minutes to each run, and then give it a couple weeks to adapt to the new level.

After a few months, your daily longer runs will be in the 45 minute range, which will put you in the area of 5 miles at your current pace, and that should result in being able to run 7-9 miles for a long run.

To adapt to run longer distances, you have to practice longer distances. Right now, you are not pushing past that limitation, so it's not going to naturally get longer. You can level off wherever you want for your own personal fitness goals.

Edited to add: You are 4.0 player, which is getting pretty decent. I would assume that you have a coach, but even if not, you have to also consider if simply running more will give you the fitness you desire. If you edit your question to let us know what kind of stamina you are talking about you may get better responses. I can run 13 miles at any time due to my training, but I couldn't do the lateral movements required in tennis for more than probably a set before I'd be dragging. Where do you feel your fitness is failing you?

  • I second the "more often" idea. As one of my coaches use to say, "5 4s is better than 4 5s". On one of his shorter days I think working in some strides would actually be pretty beneficial.
    – nurdyguy
    Jul 30, 2018 at 19:46

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