Running and weight fluctuate hand-in-hand for most people. For some, they see the pounds drop when they develop a running habit or run further/longer than before. Others pack on the pounds despite their best efforts because let’s be honest–a post-run donut sounds amazing (I’m guilty of this too). And then there are those who find equilibrium and manage to remain at the same weight.
If your goal is to lose weight through running, there are steps you can take to make sure your miles work for you. marathon or ultramarathon. Although it might be fun to switch up your program once in awhile with different terrain or challenges, that’s not necessary unless you want to Extreme measures aren’t required -unless of course you love pushing yourself.
My Weight Loss Journey
For more than a decade, I’d followed a cycle of losing and gaining weight, but I struggled to lose weight permanently. In truth, I found it pretty easy to lose the weight, I would reduce my calorie intake down to less than 1000 calories a day, and the weight would quickly fall away. The problem was that this never lasted. I’d grow tired of restricting my diet, and soon I’d find myself eating junk food again and gaining back every pound that I lost. Then I discovered the secret, and when I did, I wondered why nobody had mentioned it to me before. It was easy, effective, and helped me to lose weight permanently – Running. I was about 200 pounds when I read an article in a newspaper in which someone said that they’d taken up running and not only lost weight, but kept the extra pounds off. I thought it sounded like it was worth a try, so I pulled on some trainers and ran a mile, tracking my steps on an app I’d downloaded onto my phone. I must have looked a mess, huffing and puffing through the park, but nobody seemed to notice me, even a big group of kids which nearly had me turn around and run the other way. I slowly built up my miles, and before long, I was running thirty miles per week. I noticed that I wanted to eat a bit healthier to try and help me to run faster, but my weight started to drop as my miles increased.
Running 30 miles gave me an extra 3000 calories that I could consume, or allowed me to drop just under a pound a week. That sounds like a lot of miles but split over a week, it doesn’t seem too much of a commitment, especially when you think of running as me time. After I’d been running for a while, someone mentioned a local running club, and though it terrified me, I went along and found the other runners very supportive. I ended up joining.
It was only when the running club had a night out that the conversation turned to weight loss. It seemed that I wasn’t alone; everyone who I was now running with had lost 60 pounds or more. We all took out our phones and showed each other before running pictures; it was extraordinary. We’d all discovered that running was the route to losing weight and keeping those extra pounds off permanently. Other people around me noticed the difference, and a couple of people took up running inspired by my story. It was great to see them ditch diet meals and shakes and discover for themselves that they could get the weight loss results that they wanted just from running. Four years later, I’m still keeping the weight off, and even better than that, my kids are running too. My decision to try and run a few years ago has transformed my life and, hopefully, the lives of my children.
Can running help you achieve your weight loss goals?
If you up your activity level by running, even if it’s just around the block or for 30 minutes, you will lose weight. Just beware that unless you are careful, you could end up eating more than before and negating your progress.
But when you’re running the same amount every week, your weight will stay consistent. In other words, you’re still burning calories by running, but not more than before. So if nothing changes with your diet or exercise, neither will your weight. To improve your calorie burn rate while running, you’ll need to do more than what you’re used to. This could include making minor adjustments like going faster or further than before, adding hills to parts of your route, etc. If you want to see more benefits from running check out this list.
1. Go for a run: This first step is pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. You can’t lose weight by running unless you actually go for a run! Get out there and do it, even if it’s just around the block.
2. Track your progress: Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply improve your fitness, it’s important to track your progress. This will help you see how far you’ve come and give you motivation to keep going. There are a number of ways to track your progress, including apps, fitness trackers, and even good old-fashioned pen and paper.
3. Increase your mileage: If you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you’re taking in. One way to do this is to increase your mileage. Run a bit further each time you go out, and eventually, you’ll be burning more calories than before.
4. Add hills: If you live in a flat area, running can get pretty boring after a while. To mix things up and make it more challenging, try adding some hills to your route. This will not only help you lose weight, but it will also make you a better runner overall.
5. Join a running club: If you’re serious about losing weight, consider joining a running club. This is a great way to meet other runners and get motivation to keep going.
6. Set goals: Having goals is a great way to stay motivated. Whether you want to lose a certain amount of weight or run a certain race, setting goals will help you stay on track.
7. Be consistent: The most important thing when it comes to running for weight loss is to be consistent. You won’t see results overnight, but if you stick with it, you will eventually lose weight.
The time to start running is now!
Run to lose even more weight
If you want to lose weight by running, experts say that in addition to changing up your routine, you need to monitor your diet. “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” says registered dietitian Jillian Michaels. “If you want to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, and the best way to do that is by eating less and exercising more.”
To make sure you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning, Michaels recommends tracking your food intake and using a calorie-tracking app like MyFitnessPal. She also suggests adding interval training to your runs, which has been shown to be more effective for weight loss than steady-state running.
How many pounds can you shed by running?
Running Burns More Calories than Other Cardio Exercises
There’s no getting around it—if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. And when it comes to burning calories, running is one of the most efficient exercises out there.
In fact, a 150-pound person can burn approximately 100 calories per mile when running at a moderate pace. That means that if you run just five miles per week, you could theoretically lose one pound every eight weeks!
Running is a Low-Impact Exercise
Another reason why running is great for weight loss is that it’s a low-impact exercise, which means it’s easy on your joints. This is especially important if you’re carrying around extra weight, as the added stress on your joints can lead to injuries.
Walking, on the other hand, puts similar amounts of stress on your joints as running—so if you’re looking to lose weight without putting your joints at risk, running is the way to go.
Running Boosts Your Metabolism
Finally, running helps boost your metabolism, which means your body will continue burning calories long after your run is over. In fact, research has shown that runners have higher metabolic rates than sedentary people—and the more muscle mass you have (which you’ll develop by running), the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. So not only will you burn calories while you’re running, but you’ll also continue burning them long after you’ve stopped.
6 Week Running Plan to Lose Weight
Ready to start reaping the weight-loss benefits of running? Then check out this six-week running plan, designed by Jason Karp, PhD, author of Run Your Fat Off. With a mix of running and walking, it’s perfect for beginners (or people coming back from a long layoff). And since the program gradually ramps up the mileage, you’ll be less likely to get injured.
Week 1: Walk/run 30 minutes, 3 days per week
Start by walking and running for 30 minutes, three days per week. “Alternate two-minute walking segments with one-minute running segments,” says Karp. “Do this until you’ve reached your 30-minute goal.” If you get tired, simply slow down the running segments to a pace that feels comfortable.
Week 2: Walk/run 35 minutes, 3 days per week
Increase your time to 35 minutes, still running three days per week. “Keep alternating walking and running segments,” says Karp. “If two minutes feels like too long to walk, shorten the segments. But don’t add more running time—just make the walking segments shorter.”
Week 3: Walk/run 40 minutes, 4 days per week
Now you’re up to four days of running, and your goal is to hit 40 minutes. ” again, keep alternating walking and running segments,” says Karp.
Week 4: Walk/run 45 minutes, 4 days per week
Same drill as the previous week, but you’re adding five more minutes to your total time.
Week 5: Walk/run 50 minutes, 5 days per week
Add another day of running, and aim for 50 minutes total.
Week 6: Walk/run 60 minutes, 5 days per week
For your last week, add ten more minutes to your total time. “By now you should be able to run the entire time,” says Karp. “But if you need to walk, that’s perfectly fine. Just listen to your body.”
And that’s it! After six weeks, you’ll be running five days per week for a total of 55 minutes. And if you stick with it, you’ll start seeing (and feeling) the weight-loss benefits in no time.