Why Can’t I Run Longer

This is a question that nearly every runner will have asked themselves at some stage of their running career. However, the answer to why can’t I run longer will vary from a new runner to an experienced runner.

Why Can’t I Run Longer

There are many reasons why a runner will ask why can’t I run longer? I will list these reasons below, and then I will explain each in detail below: why can't I run anymore

  • lacking consistency
  • poor fitness level
  • run more often
  • too fast a pace
  • not breathing correctly
  • not properly warmed up
  • tight muscles
  • incorrect running form
  • running after eating
  • not hydrated properly
  • anemic
  • overweight
  • not doing strength training
  • running on your own
  • may have overtrained
  • poor self believe
  • too high an expectation for yourself
  • Incorrect shoes and clothing

Why Is Consistency Essential To Help Us To Run Longer?

It is tough to run longer if we are not consistent with our running. If we run consistently, it will generally make us better runners. To be able to run longer, we need to be able to build stamina. If we run twice one week and then miss a week and then run once again the week after, this will be like starting over again, and we will never build consistency running like this, as you need your hearts, lungs, and muscles to get used to running. When we run 3 times every week, we will build consistency.

Can Poor Fitness Level Stop Us From Running Longer?

Poor fitness levels will stop us from running longer. We need to have a high level of fitness to be able to run longer. We need the patience to be able to build up our fitness. Once we build up our fitness, we can run for longer.

Should I Run More Often To Help Us Longer?

When we run regularly, it will help us to run longer. For example, if we usually run 2 times per week, increase it to 3 times per week. If we run 3 times per week, increase it to 4 times per week. When we grow our running days, it will generally help us to run longer.

Running Too Fast Stops Us From Running Longer

If you run too fast, you will burn out quickly, forcing you to stop your run. We should start our run slowly and at a nice leisurely pace when trying to run longer. Some runners run continuously, while others begin too fast, not allowing the body a chance to warm up properly.

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Incorrect Breathing And Running Longer

If we don’t breathe correctly, we will find it harder to run longer. If we breathe correctly, it will help improve our efficiency, and we will be less tired, enabling us to run longer. When we breathe incorrectly, our lungs and muscles lack oxygen.

We can use nasal breathing in and out through the nose when running. Generally, we should only do this when running at a nice leisurely pace, as it limits the oxygen we get.

We can breathe in and out through our mouths which results in us getting more oxygen into the lungs than nasal breathing.

The best way to breathe when running is through the nose and mouth together. We breathe in together through our nose and mouth and exhale again. This will keep our breathing steadier for a lot longer period. It is probably worth practicing this when you are not running to get used to it.

Does Warming Up Affect How Long We Run?

Yes, warming up will affect how long we can run, as the muscles and body need a chance to warm up properly. If we don’t do an adequate warm-up and start running fast, our muscles will tire quickly, and we may even get injured.

By warming up properly, it helps

  • muscle imbalance
  • increased heart rate
  • decreases the risk of injury

The best warm-up to do is a series of dynamic exercises.

Tight Muscles

If the muscles in our legs are very tight, it will stop us from running longer. More often than not, tight muscles are a sign of weak muscles. Running is okay if the muscles are just sore, but if they are painful, it is time to stop running; otherwise, we may cause a severe injury which may put us out for several weeks.

Proper warm-up and cooldown are essential when we suffer from tight muscles. A good foam rolling technique is also very beneficial.

Incorrect Running Form

An incorrect running form will cause us various issues when running. First, it will stop us from trying to run longer as our bodies will be screaming at us. There are a few things that we need to look at in our running form:

  • Relax our shoulders – running with rounded shoulders inhibits our oxygen supply. So when we breathe in and then sigh, we should feel our shoulders drop when we do this.
  • stand tall –  if we stand tall as we run, this will result in us taking more oxygen into our lungs which helps improve our stamina. In addition, our heads should be in line with our spines.
  • slight lean – as we run, we should lean slightly from our ankles but keep the rest of the body straight. This takes a lot of effort to get right.
  • arm movement – our arms should swing naturally forward and back, with palms in a light fist facing the body with our elbows at 90deg as we run.
  • cadence – we should aim for a cadence of 180; this is the number of times our feet hit the ground as we run.

Running After Eating

It is not wise to go running after eating as this will limit our performance. Nothing is worse than feeling that you are about to regurgitate what you have just eaten or that the food is bouncing around in your stomach. Worse still, if we eat not long before running, was at a high risk of suffering side stitches; this is very debilitating when running as it is tough to run through a stitch.

Eating a light snack about 30 minutes before a run may be okay, as this will help fuel the run.

If you are eating a substantial meal, you need to eat at least 3 hours before a run; if you are like me, I need to eat at least 4 hours before.

Not Hydrated Properly

If we don’t hydrate our bodies properly regularly, we will always struggle with our running.

We get the following benefits by being hydrated adequately:

  • avoid heatstroke
  • reduces body temperature
  • reduce injuries
  • increases endurance
  • improves performance
  • reduce muscle cramps


When your iron levels are low, we will generate fewer red blood cells, declining hemoglobin levels. This will lead to less oxygen going to your muscles, and running will become more challenging, so running longer will become nearly impossible

The main symptoms of iron deficiency in runners are:

  • fatigue
  • slight shortness of breath.

If you suffer from these symptoms, get a blood test to determine if you are anemic.


You will find it very hard to run longer if you are overweight. When you are very overweight, it might be better to walk and run as too much weight will put a lot of pressure on your ligaments and muscles, resulting in the injury before you even get a chance to try to run longer. For every pound of fat, we lose, our pace per km should increase by 1 second, so if you have lots of weight to lose, you can see the difference this will make to your running.

No Strength Training Lift weights

Strength training is vital if we want to progress our running. By doing strength training, we will strengthen our muscles and our core. The core is essential when running as it helps us keep proper running form.

Strength training helps the running economy by increasing the runners’ strength, muscle coordination, and activation. This means it takes less energy to run at the same speed so that a runner can run faster and longer than before.

As a runner, when doing a strength workout, we should focus on lower volume and heavier weight, not lots of sets and reps with lighter weights. Runners get all the cardio they need just from running rather than adding more when doing weights.

I believe that if all runners only do one other type of exercise apart from running, it should be strength training.

No Running Buddy

Sometimes we find running very hard if we always run by ourselves. I believe everybody needs a running buddy to run with. There are many benefits to a running buddy, including the following.

  • more accountable
  • please help us achieve our goals
  • please encourage us
  • someone to talk to, which helps to take our minds off running
  • improves performance

When picking a running buddy, it is essential that we run with someone who is not overcompetitive but supportive and always ready for a chat.

Overtraining And Its Effect On Running

Overtraining, or Unexplained Underperformance Syndrome (UPS) as it’s now known, is a persistent, unexplained dip in performance that continues even after you’ve had what you think is sufficient rest. The body is not recovering properly after exercise

There are a few symptoms that we should look out for:

  • elevated resting heart rate
  • lack of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • run down and pick up colds and flu
  • disturbed sleep
  • loss of motivation
  • deterioration in race performance
  • more arduous effort for the same results

It can take months to recover fully if we overtrain, but we need to let the body recover and relax.

Poor Self Believe Slows Our Progress Down

Many runners have very poor self-belief. It would be best if you believed in yourself to succeed in any part of life; the same goes for running. When you have poor self-belief, you will never get running longer, as you will tell yourself that you can’t do it. Furthermore, when running, you must tell yourself the mantra, “I can do this.” Eventually, you will believe it and achieve your aim of running longer.

Too High An Expectation Of Yourself

When a person starts running, they believe they should be able to run the same as a person running for years or at least months, and then new runners can get very disheartened if they start with this high expectation of themselves. Like anything, when we start something new, we must take it slowly and steadily and build it up gradually, and this process varies from runner to runner, but the best way is to follow proper training plans.

Incorrect Shoes And Clothing

As a runner, if we are not wearing the proper running shoes and clothes, this will affect our running. If our shoes do not have adequate support for our feet, depending on whether we pronate or not, this will affect how we run and probably cause us to get injured. If we don’t wear proper breathable sweat-wicking tops and bottoms when running, our bodies will overheat, resulting in a bad run.

Final Thoughts

We have now looked at why runners can’t run longer—the reason why varies significantly from one runner to another.

For beginner runners, it will generally be

  • running too fast
  • poor running form
  • too high an expectation
  • poor self-belief
  • overweight
  • lacking consistency
  • poor fitness level.

For intermediate runners, the reasons will generally be

  • running too fast
  • poor hydration
  • eating too close to running
  • overtraining
  • no strength training
  • no running body
  • too high an expectation of themselves.

Finally, I hope you have a much greater understanding of the various reasons why you can’t run longer now.

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