Many people start running hoping to lose weight. While there might be some weight loss in the beginning, it usually tapers off unless you have a plan. There’s no one formula for dropping weight, but there are some prescriptions for running long or running hard that work well for weight loss, depending on your skill level and experience as a runner.
PLANS FOR BEGINNING RUNNERS
1 GO LONG
“If a client is interested in losing weight by running, I prescribe building up distance,” says Andy Jones-Wilkins, Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) coach. “I don’t suggest doing a lot of intensity. The longer time on your feet at an aerobic pace, where you can carry on a conversation … That’s what’s going to help you burn fat.”
Start slowly adding more distance and time to your run. That might mean increasing from 30 minutes to 35 or from 65 minutes to 70. Whatever you do, don’t increase your mileage by too much, too soon. That’s a recipe for burnout, injury, fatigue and soreness that can leave you cracked and on the couch — and not dropping weight. If adding more mileage to a run seems impossible, just add an extra 5 minutes of walking to the beginning or to the end of your current runs, and focus on adding more and more time each week at your own comfortable pace.
2 CROSS TRAIN TO ADD HOURS
If you’re a new athlete who gets out for runs out three times each week, consider adding another workout or two of cross-training to your schedule. You may only be able to do a couple of miles worth running at a time before feeling tired and sore, but you can look to other activities to increase your overall hours and energy expenditures by adding cross-training.