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Our Coach’s Best Running Plans For Weight Loss!

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Many times, people take up running with the main purpose of dropping a few pounds. Often, the same people end up disappointed because the weight does not melt off like they would anticipate it to.

  • What kind of running should you do if weight loss is your goal?
  • Will a running routine change your body?

Running for weight loss can be effective, but some things are worth considering.

How Much Should I Run to Lose Weight?

There is no single answer for this. Some people lose weight when they are logging a lot of miles. However, other people do better when they mix up their workouts. It also matters if you are a beginner or have been running for a while.

For weight loss, I recommend exercising 4-5 times each week. If movement is important to you, you can do non-impact workouts on your rest days.

New runners are usually best off starting with 3-4 runs each week and building from there.

Should I Run Every Day?

This is a tough decision and also an individual one. While there are people who run every day, it is certainly not for everyone.

I am a firm believer that moderation is important to people who are new to a type of exercise (or exercising at all). If you are looking to get moving after taking a hiatus, you should heed this advice: start slow and easy.

Some runners do go out and pound the pavement every day. They are called streak runners. Just remember that if you plan to run every day, your body still needs rest.

Streak runners have “rest” days where they run the minimum mile needed to maintain the streak.

Can I Lose Weight By Running 30 Minutes a Day?

When running for weight loss, you can lose weight by running or doing another form of exercise for 30 minutes each day, as long as you make smart food choices. What you put on your plate is equally as important as getting an exercise in.

Choosing to start the day with a 30-minute workout is an excellent way to get your brain into the mindset of better health.

When they work out in the morning, many people find that they make better and healthier choices throughout the rest of the day.

How Long Does It Take to See Results from Running?

You will start to see results in as quick as one month. Within a few weeks, you will start to feel like breathing is a little easier, and your body aches less post-workout.

Somewhere between four and six weeks, you will notice little changes in your body. There will be less soreness. You will have improvements in your stamina.

Once you start regularly working out, one result you might see more quickly than others is you sleep better. Exercise often has a positive impact on your body in that regard.

Why Am I Gaining Weight Since I Started Running?

Here is one thing to remember: Exercise is a stress on the body, and too much affects your cortisol levels, making you retain weight.

As Jill Coleman describes to Girls Gone Strong, “Too much cardio can lead to insatiable hunger and ravenous cravings, due to increases in stress hormones, particularly cortisol. And doesn’t this create the perfect negative feedback loop? I do more cardiovascular activity, so then I’m hungrier, so I eat more, so I need to do more cardio.”

Another point worth mentioning: many people do not plan their post-run snacks and meals. When you return from a workout famished, you are more likely to make poor nutritional choices.

Be certain to have food planned out where you intake a protein with carbohydrate within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.

Does your running group meet up for cocktails or fancy coffee after every run? You might find you are overeating and taking in a higher number of calories than you burn at that weekly group run. Don’t fall into that trap.

Lastly, don’t look at food as something you earn by working out. Food is fuel. Treat it for exactly what it is.

2 Running Plans for Weight Loss

1. Running HIIT Training

Interval training is a loose term as it technically means any workout with fast running repetitions (sprints) followed by recovery periods. Still, for weight loss, you want to keep the intervals shorter (time or distance), so you can push yourself.

Benefits of high-intensity intervals include:

  • Improves fast-twitch muscle ability (i.e., makes you faster)
  • Increases strength and improves form
  • Burns more body fat and calories POST workout than steady-state
  • More efficient with your time (burn more in less time)
  • Preserves muscle mass (aiding in fat burning and fat loss)

If you aren’t doing any interval run, start with one a week for 20 minutes, eventually working up to 30 minutes (this includes a 5-minute warm-up AND cool down).

The great thing about intervals is that they make your workout fly by! Not only will you be working out for less time overall, but you’ll also be focusing on one small interval at a time.

These running workouts make even the treadmill not so boring.

The basics of intervals:

  1. Warm-up for 10 minutes
  2. Pick your intervals based on either time or distance
  3. Recover with a slower-paced run or walk
  4. Recovery is usually equal to time or distance
  5. Repeat for 15 minutes or so
  6. Cool down

2. Steady-State Cardio Runs

While HIIT and aerobic exercises are wonderful, you can’t always be working on speed. Steady-state cardio workouts are also beneficial. This is where you are running easily along at your sexy pace, just loving life.

This type of run, if done at a low intensity for a longer period of time, is also very good for burning calories.

If you have time outside of your strength training and interval runs, aim for 25-40 minutes twice a week.

  • Sample Training Week

Monday30 minutes strength/20 minutes easy run
Tuesday30 minutes HIIT interval run
Thursday40-50 minute easy run
Friday30 minutes strength/30 minutes cross-training
Saturday30-40 minute run at 75% effort

Notice that the week has 4 runs, 2 strength sessions, 1 cross-training session, and 2 complete rest days. Modeling your workout week as this one gives you variety and flexibility.

Remember to be very intentional about your eating habits and calorie deficit if you wish to see positive results.

The Takeaway

As you can see, if you are looking at a running program for weight loss, it is not as black and white as many people think. You need to factor in healthy eating and other types of training to reach your end weight loss goal.

But don’t dismay: you can get there.

It just takes patience, diligence, and hard work.

And that hard work needs to extend beyond the gym into the kitchen.

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