The best running plan to lose weight
Running can be a great weight loss tool – here’s how to use running to lose weight
Plenty of people enjoy running as a healthy part of their weight loss journey. But it’s important to understand how to incorporate running in your fitness and diet plans so you make the most of your workout time.
How to lose weight with running
Running can help you lose weight because it’s a great way to burn calories. In simple terms, weight loss occurs when we burn more calories than we eat (or eat fewer calories than we burn – whichever way you want to look at it).
Your daily calorie burn is made up of a few different factors. Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) is all the calories you expend just being alive. It’s more than you think – a 35 year old woman who’s 5’ 5’’ and 70kgs might burn 1400 calories without any exercise!
Then you’ve got NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis) which is any movement you do that’s not formal exercise. Walking, housework, running around after the kids, even walking up and down stairs counts as your NEAT.
Finally you’ve got things like TEF (thermic effect of food) which are small amounts of calories your body expends on digestion and things like that.
All of this adds up to what’s called TDEE – total daily energy expenditure.
To lose weight, you need to either eat less than your TDEE calories, or bump up your TDEE to create more of a calorie gap.
And that’s exactly why running can be so useful for weight loss. Running can burn around 600 calories an hour, which is significant when you are trying to create and maintain a calorie deficit.
Common weight loss mistakes to avoid
Don’t “eat back” your running calories – this can easily wipe out your calorie deficit
Pay attention to your hunger and cravings – if running makes you too tired or hungry, you’re at risk of overeating
Have days off from running – look after your body by taking regular days off
Don’t undereat to try and lose more weight – eating less might seem like a shortcut to weight loss but is likely to lead to cravings and bingeing
Remember that lighter bodies burn fewer calories – adjust your calorie intake downwards as you get lighter
The best running sessions for weight loss
More isn’t always more when it comes to running for weight loss. Sure, a really long run will burn loads of calories, but do you have time for long runs several times a week? And where do you go from there?
It’s impractical to keep adding extra miles to your runs, so consider these fat-loss running sessions instead.
Hill reps: powering up steep hills (and jogging back down) is a great way to maximise calorie burn in a short amount of time. This kind of session boosts your metabolic rate and builds leg muscle too.
Interval training: any kind of sprint or interval work will keep the calories coming off, no matter how fit (or light) you get. Do interval training on the track, road, trail, or treadmill.
Tempo runs: tempo running means keeping an eye on your pace rather than plodding at long-run speed, and this will naturally burn more calories than a slower run.
Design your own running plan to lose weight
2 runs a week: 1 x intervals, 1 x distance run
3 runs a week: 1 x hills, 1 x intervals, 1 x distance run
4 runs a week: 1 x tempo, 1 x hills, 1 x intervals, 1 x distance run
5 runs a week: 1 x tempo, 1 x hills, 1 x intervals, 1 x medium distance run, 1 x longer run