Practice, practice, practice applies to both questions, but there are some tried and true guidelines to building up wind (i.e. endurance and stamina) and eating right to fuel a run.
Try incorporating these tips into your workouts to help build up wind:
Warm up with walking and slow running for 10 minutes. Starting out slowly will ease your body into increasing blood flow and getting ready to work harder.
Do interval training at least once a week to build up your speed and endurance. Sprint at max speed for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by slower jogging or walking until your heart rate comes back down (usually about 2 minutes). Repeat four times. Spinning classes and treadmills also take you through interval training with less impact.
Cross train to build supporting muscles used in running and improve your overall efficiency when you run. Weight lifting and low-impact activities like bicycling and swimming are ideal.
Create a training schedule. A good rule of thumb is to increase the total miles you run each week by 10 percent to steadily increase endurance. Make sure to schedule recovery days after a race or a hard workout.
Healthy eating is the best diet for feeling energized. This means loading up on fruits and veggies, keeping your protein lean (fish, poultry, lean meats, and plant sources), choosing whole grain cereals and breads, and getting calcium from low-fat dairy or plant sources. When you are preparing for a race or the APFT, stick to foods you know—this isn’t the time to indulge in something exotic. Here are some other eating guidelines for running or workouts:
After a meal, wait one to three hours to work out so that your running muscles don’t compete with digestion for energy.
Carb loading is still a good idea for marathons, but if you typically work out for an hour or less, no special diet is needed besides eating right (see above).
Eat some carbohydrates and protein 30 to 60 minutes after your workout to help muscles recover and rebuild. Try half a bagel with peanut butter or cheese, Greek-style yogurt, or a handful of nuts.
Don’t forget to hydrate before, during and after working out. Water is best for most workouts; sports drinks can help replace minerals lost after heavy sweating for an hour or longer. Energy drinks are not the same as sports drinks and should not be used for hydration.