Running can be a good way to lose weight, especially if you increase your distance, intensity, speed, and frequency over time. Incorporating strength training will also help you burn more calories, and don’t forget to make a few lifestyle changes to ensure you’re losing all the weight you can. Although running can help you effectively burn calories, you may achieve more effective weight loss by also reducing your caloric intake.

Part One of Four:
Building a Running Routine

Start with walks. If you’re new to running, your body isn’t ready to jump into long runs. Instead, begin by taking long walks, which helps condition your body but makes injury less likely. If you’re accustomed to running but haven’t done it in a while, start by alternating walking and running in a single workout. [1]

Start with shorter walks and work up to longer ones. Try a 20 minute walk at first.

Work up to longer runs. Duration is actually more effective at helping you shed pounds than intensity. In other words, if you run at a slower pace for 30 minutes, you burn more calories than running at a faster pace for 10 minutes. Therefore, over time, increase your running times to help you shed pounds. [2]

Over time, try working up to running 30 minutes every time you run.

In addition, you’re likely to run more times a week if you’re running at a slower pace. If you’re always exhausting yourself by running at a fast pace, then you won’t want to run as often.

Increase your mileage slowly. Even as you increase your time, you shouldn’t be piling on too many miles too quickly. Aim to increase your distance by 10% each week if you want to develop long distance endurance.

This is a great way to increase your distance over time if you’re training for a marathon or a half marathon.

Part Two of Four:
Enhancing Your Running ProgramEdit

Add in sprints. While duration is important, adding in short, faster sprints at 80% or higher of your maximum heart rate can help increase how much fat you burn. This type of training is called interval training or HIIT (high intensity interval training). To use this training in sprinting, you just run full speed for a short period of time, say 30 seconds. Your body has to work so much harder to run full out that it helps you burn off fat. [3]

Try running at a steady pace for 10 minutes to warm up. Next, run up a hill for 30 seconds as fast as you can. To recover, run down the hill. Do several sprints in quick succession, then finish with 10 minutes of steady running.

HIIT training is effective because the high-intensity periods push your body into a repair cycle, meaning you continue to burn calories through the next day.[4]

Increase the number of times you run each week. When you first start out, you might only be able to run a couple of times a week. However, as you increase your stamina, work on running 3 to 4 times a week. [5]

Increasing the number of runs you do in a week helps you burn the number of calories you need to lose weight.

Combine running with other exercises to build endurance. Building up endurance can be difficult to achieve because it takes patience. You can’t jump into long runs without risking injury. However, doing similar exercises can help you build up endurance over time. The main exercise that can help increase endurance is running, however, to lessen the impact on your joints, switch up your workouts with some cross training exercises, such as pool running and cycling. [6]

Cycle on a paved road to reduce risk of injury. Aim for 90 rotations a minute. To count rotations, use a stopwatch to measure 10 seconds. As you do, count how many times one foot goes to the bottom of the wheel. Multiply by 6 for rotations per minute.

To pool run, put on a floatation device around your waist, and jump into the deep end of the pool. Run like you normally would, except obviously you’re not touching the ground. Try 180 steps in a minute, and keep your back straight if possible.

Part Three of Four:
Adding in Strength TrainingEdit

Try forward lunges for your legs. Leg lunges can help increase the muscle strength in your legs. Stand with your feet together. Take a large step forward with your right leg without lifting your left leg off the ground. Move your body so that your right thigh is parallel to the floor and your front knee is lined up vertically with your foot. Then, come back to the starting position. Repeat with the left leg. [7]

Don’t allow your front knee to extend past your toes.

Repeat the whole movement (left and right leg) 10 to 15 times. Perform 2-4 sets for increased strength and endurance.

You can do lunges with or without weights. If you do lunges with weights, hold a weight in each hand by your side.

Add kettlebell swings to strengthen your core, legs, and backside. This exercise is very beneficial for strengthening core muscles, quadriceps, and also glutes, which are all used for running. Hold on to a kettlebell at stomach level. Lean over at the waist, trying to keep your back straight. Keeping the core tight, thrust the hips forward to bring the weight up in a controlled arc. [8]

Do 5-20 reps or perform kettlebell swings continuously for 1 minute. Try doing 2-3 sets of this exercise.

Work on wall sits for leg and core muscles. Find a wall, and pretend like you’re sitting in a chair. Your back is up against the wall, helping to support you. Your knees should be at a right angle to the floor. [9]

Start by holding this position for 30 seconds. You can add time as you get better, 15 seconds at a time.

Use prone leg lifts for your glute muscles. Lay on your belly. Keeping your right leg straight, lift it off the floor with your toes pointed. Lift it as high as you can, then bring it back to floor. Lift the left leg the same way. [10]

Try 5 to 10 reps on each side.

Use an exercise band to make this exercise more difficult. Place it around your feet so that when you lift one leg, you’re lifting against the band.

You can also lift both legs together.

Do pushups for arm strength. Lay on the floor on your stomach with your toes touching the floor. Place your palms flat on the floor at shoulder-height. Keeping your body straight, push up from the floor with your arms. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor. [11]

If you can’t do full pushups yet, try doing them from your knees.

Do as many pushups as you can in a minute.

Do planks to improve your core strength. The plank is a foundation exercise for runners that can greatly strengthen the core and also the shoulders, arms, and glutes. Lay on your stomach with your palms flat on the floor and push yourself up like you’re doing a pushup. Make sure your hands are directly below your shoulders and your body is straight. [12]

When starting this exercise, aim to hold this position for 20 seconds at a time. Then, gradually work up to 3 sets of 1 minute holds. Once you can do this, try other variations such as forearm planks, side planks, or single-leg planks.

Squeeze your glutes to gain stability.

Part Four of Four:
Making Lifestyle ChangesEdit

Track your calories. Some people have trouble losing weight while running because they underestimate how many calories they’re eating. That means they may still gain weight when running because they’re eating too much. The best solution to this problem is to track all the calories you eat. [13]

Try measuring out your food and writing down everything you eat in a journal. You can also use an app to track what you eat.

Eat balanced, protein-heavy meals on hard workout days. To help you lose weight and stay healthy, you’ll need to eat balanced meals that include vegetables, carbohydrates, and a lot of protein on days when you’re running hard. Pair a protein serving that’s the size of your palm with a serving of legumes, which contain both protein and carbohydrates. Finally, eat a salad that’s full of fresh vegetables. [14]

Some examples of legumes include lentils, peas, and beans.

Stay away from sweet and/or fattening salad dressings.

Avoid indulging after workouts. You may feel like rewarding yourself after you run with a bagel or muffin. While that’s fine every once and a while, stick to nutrient-dense and low-calorie foods if you want to lose weight. [15]

Opt for fruits and veggies, as well as legumes and whole grains. These foods fill you up, are nutritious, and don’t pack on the calories. Lean protein is also a good choice.

For instance, try a post-workout snack of celery and hummus or a banana with peanut butter.

Keep up your normal routine. Often, people who start running several times a week may unintentionally move less the rest of the time. For instance, if you run in the morning, you may not walk as much during the day because you’re tired or you “already worked out today.” However, you still need to stick to your normal routine and move as much as you can during the day. [16]

You probably won’t even realize you’re decreasing your activity, so make a conscious effort to keep moving.

Try things like parking far out in the parking lot at the grocery store and taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

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