There is no doubt that running is a great way to lose weight. It burns more calories than most activities. But if you are running with an attempt to lose weight, there are a few things you may want to understand. First of all, did you know that it takes 3500 calories burned in order to lose a pound? The heavier you are, the more calories you burn per mile. So as you lose weight, you burn less calories per mile. You will continue to lose weight if you continue to run, but it will begin to take more time to see the weight loss results. For some people this can be frustrating, but persistence will pay off and you will start to see your body change. Check out these six tips to lose weight while running.
Six Tips to Lose Weight Running:
- In order to lose a pound each week, you need to try to cut about 500 calories each day, with a combination of both exercise and diet. Mixing up your runs to include hills and different elevations is also important. Your body will adapt and plateau if you continue to do the same thing over and over again. Cross training is important as well so running isn’t your only form of exercise.
- One mistake runners often make is within their diet. As you begin to run more often you may find yourself getting a much bigger appetite. When I first began running marathons I made this very mistake. I was hungry and I was running so much more, I thought it gave me a free pass to eat whatever I wanted. The result of this was that I was running and running and not losing a pound. I wasn’t gaining any weight, I was staying stagnant. While it is okay to eat some extra calories, especially after long runs, it is important that the extra calories are from things like fruits, veggies and lean meats. You don’t want to start adding a lot of sugary and starchy foods, although that may be what you crave. Not only can choosing the wrong foods after a run make you eat too many calories, they won’t sustain fullness and you will be hungry again in an hour. This will lead you down a path of no weight loss at all.
- Varying up your distance and your speed can help you lose weight as well. Studies show that longer runs at a slower pace burn more calories than shorter runs at a faster pace. I try to do a combination of both.
- Interval training is also a great way to burn fat and calories. If you can’t get outside for intervals, a treadmill is a great way to challenge yourself. You have to make attempts to push your body outside of your comfortable pace. This is when you will start to see changes in your body. One of my favorite interval workouts is a .25 mile run at a pace that is outside of your natural pace (a pace that is actually uncomfortable), followed by 10 burpees and 10 jump squats. Then I repeat that 10-12 times, resting for 60 seconds in between. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is necessary in order to get faster, even if it is only for 2 minutes at a time.
- There is also a correlation between weight loss and speed. Losing weight can increase speed, and increasing speed can make you lose weight. Either way it is a win-win.
- One of the biggest problems is that beginner runners lose their patience and they give up. I will say it again, persistence is key. While you do not have to run every day, 3-4 days a week would be great. I have heard so many times things like “I could never run a mile”, well you don’t have to start with a mile! Start with a quarter of a mile. As you add on a little bit at a time it will get easier. Also if you eat right, you will begin to lose weight as well.
Variation, goal setting, proper diet, and persistence are the four most important things to maintain if you are using running as a way to lose weight or even just to stay in shape and maintain. However, if you stay with it, I promise that the physical and mental benefits will be worth every step.