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Gaining Running Endurance As A Vegan

Jason Hughes
Published by Jason Hughes
Fact checked by Markus Oliver, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 23, 2021

If you do it right; follow a good running routine and eat a healthy and balanced diet, you can absolutely gain running endurance as a vegan.

In fact, some professional athletes think that a vegan diet can improve your overall fitness and performance. And running is no exception.

You just need to make sure you eat the right amount of nutrients and get enough protein, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, omega 3, and iodine. Also, you need to follow a running workout routine.

This way, you can improve your running endurance and improve your overall health. So here are the top distance running workouts you can try out as a vegan:

7 Running Workouts That Help Increase Running Endurance For Vegans


If you want to increase your running endurance as well as your running speed, there are some workouts you can follow to improve your overall performance.

Here are seven strategies you can use; but remember that everyone is different and has different bodies. All of these are recommended for vegans, but anyone can follow them.

It’s not necessary that every single one of these work for you, but it’ll help to try as many as you can to see what works for you and what helps you to improve your running endurance.

The important thing is that you find a running routine that suits you and that you feel good about yourself. You should start easy at first and then progressively build up endurance so that you don’t get any injuries or feel down mentally. That’s advice that works for any type of running training and for whatever level you’re at.

Before you start a new workout program, talk to a doctor or a fitness coach, and make sure your body can take it. Take things slowly, especially for long-distance running, and be patient and kind to yourself.

Increase Your Speed And Endurance With Run-Walks

A run-walk is a good running workout for everyone and not just for beginners. When you start running for the first time, after a period of rest, or after an injury, you need to take things slow and allow your body time to adapt.

That’s the basic workout to improve your running endurance, no matter what level you’re at. Basically, you gradually and slowly build up your resistance.

For this to work, you need to be patient, disciplined, and consistent. The same goes for the Sunday runner and the marathon runner.

So to gradually increase your speed and endurance, you simply run longer and faster each time. Start really slowly, and don’t push yourself too hard at first. It’s a simple concept, but that’s what everybody does to build endurance. And it works.

Run-walk programs are ideal for beginners. You can choose what distance you want to prolong. For example, you can run one extra mile a week. So then gradually, you’ll run 1k, 2k, 3k, and so forth. It’s not about speed but about progressively augmenting the distance you run.

It’s really important that you reduce your distance every four weeks or so. You need to let your body rest and recuperate, so it can do better and be at its top performance. Then, start to build up again until the next time you rest.


Alternate Training Distances

Another way to build running endurance as a vegan is to alternate training distances.

You want to make sure you’re running smartly and that you’re not overtraining and damaging your physical or mental health.

So to improve your running endurance, you can run longer distances but at a slower pace. Most runners usually train at 90% of their speed, which can actually damage their health. This program tells you to run much slower than the speed you could actually run at. Run at about 80% of the speed you could actually race at.

This prevents any injuries and actually helps you to build your endurance, even if it seems like you’re doing less. This way, you stay healthy and improve endurance, and the effort you provide will be easier to keep up.

Yasso 800 Workout

If you’re more of a marathon runner, you can follow the Yasso 800 workout. The name of this program is an homage to Bart Yasso, the former chief running officer of Runner’s World. So he knows what he’s doing.

A lot of marathon runners follow this running workout, but anybody can follow this program as long as you have some experience.

So what’s the Yasso 800 system exactly? You simply run 800 meters on repeat, at the same time as your goal time to finish a marathon or another goal that you have.

For example, if you want to do a five-minute marathon, do the 800 meters in that time frame or at a two minutes thirty pace per 400 meters. Follow your natural pace and recover for the same time as when you run. So for this example, recover for five minutes.

As for how often you should follow this Yasso 800 workout, you should do this once a week. Ideally, do four or five of them.

This method has seen a lot of success for a reason. It builds your endurance and gives you a clear goal, which you can progressively augment the difficulty of.

Sure, it can be tough, but if you have the discipline and have an end goal, it’s definitely one of the best marathon endurance training programs there is.

3-Days-A Week Intense Training

running man

Another thing you can do to gain running endurance on a vegan diet or on any other diet is to train three times a week.

Instead of alternating between hard and easy workouts, you can only have hard workouts for three days a week. On the other days, you don’t run, but you can do easier workouts like walking, playing tennis, or you could do weight-lifting, for example. Or you can just rest.

Usually, on these three days, you do three different intense running workouts. You can do a long run, a tempo run, and a speed run. You can adapt the speed and the distance you’re running depending on your running level and what your overall goal is.

This program won’t be for everyone as it’s at a really high intensity. It can lead to injuries if you’re not careful, even if you’re a more experienced runner. I wouldn’t recommend you follow this program for long, but it’s good to train harder once in a while.

Obviously, don’t start running at an intense pace and for a very long distance if you’re new at this, if you recently recovered from an injury, or run again after a quiet time.


Plyometrics Workout

If you are very serious about running and consider doing this semi-professionally or professionally, you should definitely try the Plyometrics workout to build your running endurance, strength, and speed.

Plyometric exercises can improve your muscle strength, which helps you run faster and build endurance. They also help you stretch your body, which prevents injury and helps your overall fitness.

There are different ones you can try out that will help you to improve your performance. Here are the best ones you can use to gain running endurance:

  • Bleacher Hops

This is a great exercise for your entire body and makes you work on your cardio and your endurance. It’s perfect for long-distance running.

  • Box Jumps

This is an intense workout that contracts the muscles you need when you run. You can do several reps, but don’t overwork yourself. You just need to jump on a box with both legs or one leg if you need an extra challenge.

It sounds easier than it is,though.

  • Burpees

Burpees are really intense, but they’re great for your overall body to tone your core muscles. If you only have five minutes to do Plyometric exercises, do this one.

  • Jumping Lunge

This is an exercise specifically targeted at runners. It’s intense and will make all your running muscles work.

Jump Squats

If you need to strengthen your glutes, that’s the exercise to go for. It also reduces the risk of injuries that naturally come with running.

  • Side Hops

These will help your lower muscles, which include your calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, which are essential for running.

  • Single Leg Lateral Jumps

This exercise increases the strength of your legs and helps with overall balance. So if you want to control your body better, try this one out. You can see exactly how much effort you need for every little movement, and you can adjust.

Long And Fast Runs

trail runners

You might be a bit confused with this workout program since usually, you build up endurance by running long and slow runs.

Every runner is different and has a different constitution, so you need to figure out what works for you. You could try doing long and slow runs as well as long and fast runs and see what you prefer after a few running sessions.

Some people love long and fast runs and say it really helps to gain running endurance. So if you want to try this method, you can augment your speed for the last 25% of your running.

That’s what people do in marathons. When they’re almost at the finish line, they usually tend to run harder and faster since it’s the final effort, and you have to give everything you have and more. So, for example, if you run a total of 10 miles, run faster and harder for the last 2.5 miles.

So during your training sessions, run harder and faster when you reach the end of your session. Also, progressively augment the distance and speed you’re running at. This way, you can train your body to be more resistant and gain endurance.

This workout is not meant to feel like you’re dying, but it’s about always pushing your limits and always doing your best. Get used to the tiredness, but don’t run so hard that you collapse after each time.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs, aka threshold runs, are a method of running that makes you run a bit above your threshold and makes you breathe hard. So if you can’t talk, you’re following a tempo run. If you still can talk, you’re still in your comfort zone.

This can be a bit of a controversial method to gain endurance as it pushes you really hard, but it definitely works. For health reasons, you shouldn’t do this too often. It’s good to do a tempo run every eight weeks or so.

What’s suggested for a tempo run is that you run 20 to 40 minutes at a pace that’s 10 or 20 seconds slower per mile than your 10k usual pace. Then, add five minutes to your tempo run every week. Of course, you can adapt that to the distance and speed you’re running at.

This method will give you extra-strength and endurance. Make sure that the day after your tempo run, you take it easy and give your body time to rest and heal. In general, two days before and after tempo runs, you should take it easy.

Of course, your vegan diet needs to be healthy and varied. You should make sure you eat a mix of healthy fats, protein, and whole carbs. Diet is key to help you with your running and physical and mental health as well.


As you can see, there are multiple workout programs that can help you gain endurance as a vegan.

Being on a vegan diet is a plus, but it can really help you to improve your strength, speed, and endurance.

A workout regime is nothing without a proper diet, and a vegan diet can help fuel your body and improve your overall performance, as well as help with your mental health.

So pick out one program or multiple programs out of this list, and see what works best for you!

We guarantee you that you can find something adapted to you that is well suited to your goals.

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