The Christmas decorations may still be up but already lots of us are talking about getting in shape and losing a few pounds next year. Whether you’ve over-indulged a little over the festive break or have a big weight-loss target you’d like to nail in 2018, running is one of the best forms of exercise to lose weight. Running burns 10 to 15 calories per minute, depending on your age, gender, weight and fitness levels, so even running slowly is going to be beneficial. But running fast also gives you an after-burn effect, meaning you’ll burn calories at a higher rate for a little while after you stop running.
We’ve compiled an eight-week, weight-loss plan, suitable for new and experienced runners, that combines a mixture of steady runs and interval training to help you reach your goals. Before getting started, check our weight-loss tips below to ensure you get the most out of the plan. Download it here. Good luck!
Tips for new runners
- Don’t worry about how far you go. At first, it’s all about getting your trainers on, giving it a go and seeing what you can do.
- Don’t feel bad about taking rests. When you feel you need a break, slow down, recover and prepare for your next bout of running before getting going again. You can spend anything from five minutes to 20 minutes or more following this pattern.
- Work hard without overdoing it. Aim to strike a balance between working hard enough to feel as though you are challenging your fitness, without working your body so hard that it will take a long period to recover.
- Monitor how far you can keep going. You can monitor your endurance by distance (between sign posts for example) or by time, tracking how long you can stay running for using a stopwatch.
- Run every two to three days.
- Get the technique right. To reduce risk of injury, it is vital that you run tall, relax your shoulders, drive your elbows back and lift your knees with each step. If you ever feel your running style ‘slumping’, take slightly longer walk/recovery periods.
- Progress your schedule. Once you’ve established some benchmarks for your running, begin to increase the duration of each running period, shorten recovery periods and increase your pace, run time and distance.
- Keep track. Keep notes on what you’re doing and compare notes with weekly weight-loss results. This will allow you to make targeted adjustments to your running schedule based on the speed of your results.
- Don’t go overboard. Avoid the temptation to do too much too soon to avoid risk of injury.
Tips for experienced runners
- Ensure quality nutrition. If you’re training for races while running to lose weight, ensure you’re taking in enough calories to fuel your training. However, avoid consuming more than you need to prevent counter-productive weight gain. Stay fuelled with a good blend of wholemeal carbohydrates, lean protein, fresh fruit, vegetables or salad.
- Begin each run fuelled. If you start a run hungry, you will be ravenous by the end of it so make sure you are eating little and often, beginning each run fuelled.
- Refuel during the run. If you’re training for 90 minutes or so, refuel as you go to maintain your energy levels and stop yourself from demolishing everything in sight when you finish!
- Eat within 90 minutes of a run. Eating in this time frame will allow your body to refuel and begin recovery effectively. Eat your post-workout meal slowly or plan for a post-workout snack to tide you over until the next meal to give you an idea of how much food you actually need at meal times.