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Running Tips for Weight Loss

Many people first take up running as a way to lose weight.  After all, running is one of the best calorie torching exercises in existence.  But, to effectively lose weight while running there are certain rules you should follow.  Listed here are some of the most important running weight loss tips. 

Ditch the Scale
It can be tempting to weigh yourself every day when you start a new diet or exercise program.  Don’t.  Instead, focus more on how you feel.  If you must track data, take your measurements instead of your weight.  Running will burn calories, but it will also build muscle, and this may not reflect the weight loss you want to see on the scale.  Once per week, measure your waist and keep a journal of how your attitude about yourself changes.  Only step on a scale once every 2 -4 weeks to track your progress. 

Kick up the Intensity
Metabolically, high-intensity interval training has been shown to work the body the hardest.  In addition, a runner will keep burning calories long after an interval workout is complete.  Avoid running long, slow distance every day and instead incorporate bouts of faster running.  Once or twice per week add hill repeats or fartleks into your training.  For a hill repeat workout, find a hill that is approximately 200 m long and run to the top as fast as you can.  Walk or jog to the bottom and repeat.  For a fartlek, alternate running hard for 3:00 and easy for 2:00, for a total of 30:00.  For both workouts be sure to do a warm up and cool down before and after.

Staying hydrated keeps your body’s processes running smoothly, including muscle building, recovery, and metabolism.  Replenish the fluids that are lost during your workout with water, green tea, or a low-calorie sports drink.

Don’t Skip Meals
It can be tempting to lose weight by skipping meals, but avoid the urge to do so.  Skipping meals in conjunction with working out will cause your body to go into survival mode and store fat when you eat.  Instead, aim to eat 3 meals per day that contain a wholesome carbohydrate, a lean protein, and a healthy fat in addition to 3 – 4 smaller snacks throughout the day.  

Know your Numbers
One of the top saboteurs to a runner trying to lose weight is overestimating how many calories were burned during a workout.  As a general rule of thumb, 1 mile of running burns approximately 100 calories.  Keep this number in mind when refueling and stick to a 100 calorie post-run snack that contains both protein and carbohydrates.

Make Running a Lifestyle
Don’t pick up running solely as a way to lose weight.  Instead, become a runner because it will lead to a happier, healthier, and more energetic you.  Besides burning calories, running will improve your confidence, strengthen your heart, and promote better circulation.  When running becomes a lifestyle – instead of simply a way to lose weight – you will have greater motivation to complete your workout.