5 Key Strategies for Running to Lose Weight

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Many people begin running because they want to lose weight. As one of the most vigorous exercises out there, running is an extremely efficient way to burn calories and drop pounds.  Read more...

Article By Christine Luff 

5 Key Strategies for Running to Lose Weight
How to Boost Your Weight Loss Efforts Running

Many people begin running because they want to lose weight. As one of the most vigorous exercises out there, running is an extremely efficient way to burn calories and drop pounds. A 68kg person will burn approximately 100 calories per km when running. If you're hoping to use running to lose weight, here's some advice on how to be successful.

1. Healthy Eating is the First Step

If you want to lose weight by running, keep in mind that you'll only shed kilos if you burn more calories than you consume. To lose a kilo, you have to burn, through exercise or life functions, about 3500 calories. So you'll need to combine running with a healthy diet. Runners do have special nutrition needs, but the basic principles for healthy eating still apply. Try choosing smaller portions of high-fat and high-calorie foods and eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

One common eating mistake among runners is that they overcompensate for the calories burned by exercise with extra calories from more food and beverages. Some runners even find that they gain weight or hit a weight loss wall, despite their regular training.

One way to prevent "stealth calorie" consumption or mindless eating is to write everything you're eating in a journal for a few weeks. Seeing a record of your food intake will help you see where your diet needs improvement. It will also keep you on track because you'll think twice before putting that chocolate-covered donut in your mouth.    Control your portion size.

2. Follow a training schedule.

Sticking to a training schedule is a simple way to stay motivated to run. You'll know exactly what you need to do every day and each run builds on the next, so it's much harder to postpone or skip workouts. Following a schedule can also help you avoid a running injury by not increasing your mileage too quickly.

3. Run Regularly

If you don't want to follow a schedule, you still need to have some consistency with your running because you won't lose weight by running once a week. It's best to get some activity every day but, if that's not possible, try to shoot for at least 3-4 times per week. If you find that your motivation to run is suffering, follow these tips to get inspired.

4. Keep it Challenging

Incorporating speed work or interval training (running at a very fast speed for short intervals of time) into your running routine can also help your weight loss efforts. Speed work burns a great amount of calories in a short period of time. You'll also increase your muscle mass and improve your resting metabolism, causing you to burn more calories throughout the day.

5. Eat for Performance

If you're running regularly and you're training for a long-distance event, proper nutrition is especially critical for your performance. Skipping meals doesn't allow you to train with adequately fueled muscles. You shouldn't skimp on calories before, during (when necessary), and immediately after your very intense and long workouts. These are crucial times when nutrition is important to performance and recovery.