If you’ve taken up running as a way to lose weight then congratulations, you’ve made an excellent decision. Not only is the whole body action of running a fantastic way to burn calories, but the fact that it’s such a portable workout routine that can be endlessly varied with sprints, intervals, hill training, and by mixing up short, fast bursts and long, slow sessions, mean that’s it’s an easy way to maintain regularity with your fitness routine.
When it comes to losing weight, this regularity of activity is crucial and because running means that every session can be different, there’s no reason to ever miss a workout because you’re bored of following the same old routine.
Don’t worry about how far you go. Just get your trainers on, spend a few minutes walking at a gradually increasing speed to warm up and then break into a run.
Aim: Strike a balance between working hard enough to feel as though you are challenging your fitness, which will in turn lead to weight loss, without overdoing it at this stage which will inevitably lead to a longer recovery period before you can get going again. You should be able to recover within a day or two and feel rested enough to be ready and looking forward to your next workout. Following this approach you’ll be aiming to run every 2-3 days.
Progress: Increase the duration of each running period or interval, shorten recovery periods, increase the pace for each section of running, or increase your overall run time or distance.
TECHNIQUE: 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 during your workouts and make sure you walk tall while getting your breath back and this position will translate to your running form.
Don’t eat too much: Yes you’ll need extra calories, but change the balance of your exercise and food routine too dramatically and there’s a risk you’ll consume more than you need and end up gaining weight which will be counter productive in your quest to become fitter, run further and hit and maintain your target weight.
Choose quality: a blend of whole-meal carbohydrates, lean protein and plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables or salad with every meal or snack.
Don’t run hungry. Begin a long run hungry and you’ll be ravenous by the end of it so make sure you are eating little and often as a general rule, and that you begin each run adequately fuelled.
Training for more than 90 minutes? Refuel during the run to prevent desperate hunger pains when you finish.
When to fuel? Eating within 90- minutes of a run is a great habit to get into as this allows your body to refuel and begin recovery very effectively. Just try to eat your post-workout meal slowly, or plan for a post workout snack to tide you over to the next meal.
Read the full feature in the December issue of Women’s Running Magazine.