Running: Weight Loss You Can Count On

When it comes to running weight loss, there is no better way to shed a few pounds. In all effects, running is the perfect exercise to lose a few pounds or more. No matter what your current physical condition is, you can improve it with a plan. We have one designed by Wayne Westcott, Ph.D. Dr. Westcott is the fitness research director at South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. The bottom line is to reduce the amount of calories that you are taking in or to increase the amount of calories that you burn, or both. By running, weight loss can naturally occur.

Running Weight Loss: The Process

There are three steps in this running weight loss plan. Here they are.

Step One: Running better is the goal here. For the average person, running one mile will burn about 100 calories. Knowing that you many think that if you get in gear and add on the miles you can quickly burn through calories. While this will work at first and increased miles can help, eventually it won’t. Why? It's because your body will get familiar with your running. If you plan to do the same pace on the same terrain, your body will get accustomed to it and actually learn to burn fewer calories! So, we need a change of plans. Instead, try these on for size.

  • Speed bursts: Adding in a variety of speed bursts followed by recovery periods, you will help your body to burn those calories better. Because your body cannot work efficiently when you are running faster, it will need extra calories to propel it.

    Try this. If you plan to do five miles, you’ll still do them, but with a little flare! In your first mile, do it at a ten minute pace as a warm-up. This is probably a little slower than starting out but that’s just the warm up. From here, go ahead and run the next few miles at an eight minute rate. Slow it down again to ten minute pace. Back up to eight mile pace again for a mile. Then, use the last mile as a recovery rate mile.

  • Hill Running: Adding a little up hill running will help to increase the amount of calories you will burn and therefore benefit your running weight loss plan. So, spend a day with some hill workouts but be careful with the decline. Take it on the most gradual side you can in order to reduce the chance of injury.

  • Split the long run: Split your long run that you may be doing into two sections. Doing half the amount twice a day will increase the amount of calories you are burning significantly.

Step Two: Crossing Training. Cross training can be an excellent addition to a running weight loss plan. For many, running is all there is, but if you add in a few other types of exercise, you can increase the productivity of your body as well as burn extra calories. The combination is perfect for weight loss.

One of the ways in which you can do this is through circuit training. In this method of exercise you spend a limited amount of time on a series of exercise machines without a rest period in between. Doing a few reps at each station, you will maintain your increased heart rate while working several areas of the body. Weight machines or free weights can be used and all areas of the body should be targeted.

Don’t forget about other forms of exercise as well. Adding in variety does more than keep you interested. It helps to keep all of your body on the running weight loss plan. Consider swimming, hiking, kayaking, or rowing.

Step Three: Consider Caloric Burn In the last step, you don't need to work hard on your running weight loss, but you need to work smart. Consider all those other things you can do to control your caloric deficit. Walking a little more here and there, taking the long way, finding a farther away parking spot can all help you to increase the calories you are burning. A great way to do this is to get and use a pedometer. Your goal is 10,000 steps a day without considering any running that you may do. This can help you to burn many more calories and ultimately help you enhance your running weight loss plan. Consider getting a dog to walk as it has been shown to help people walk more efficiently. Or, use your free time to do relaxing activities that are not sedentary. Fishing, hiking, gardening, golfing are just a few to get you thinking!


Return to Running Nutrition