Running for Weight Loss Before and After
Starting a running program can help you lose weight and keep it off. Running burns lots of calories and helps build muscle, leading to changes on the scale and in the mirror.
If you want to get in better shape, running is a great option. It doesn’t cost much to get started. All you need is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothes, and an open road or trail.
Running is also convenient. You can do it anywhere at any time of day. No need for a gym membership or special equipment!
This article will teach you all about using running for weight loss. You’ll learn:
- The benefits of running to lose weight
- Tips to start running
- How to make a running plan
- Mistakes to avoid
- The best shoes for running
- What to eat when running
- How to stay motivated
- Success stories
- Preventing injuries
- Answers to common questions
Keep reading to learn all about running to drop pounds!
Benefits of Running for Weight Loss
Running is great for slimming down. Here are some of the top benefits:
- Burns Calories
Running burns lots of calories, so it creates a calorie deficit. This is key for weight loss.
For example, a 155 pound person burns around 112 calories per mile. So if they run 3 miles, they torch over 300 calories!
The more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn per mile.
- Boosts Metabolism
Studies show cardio exercise like running revs up your resting metabolism for hours after your workout. This means you’ll burn extra calories long after your run.
- Builds Muscle
Running tones and builds leg and core muscles. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn because muscle tissue is metabolically active.
- Improves Health
Running makes your heart and lungs healthier. It also lowers blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Better health can lead to weight loss.
Tips for Getting Started with Running
If running is new for you, ease into it to avoid injuries and burnout. Here are some beginner tips:
- Start Slow
Run at an easy, conversational pace. You should be able to talk while running. Don’t try sprinting right away.
- Mix Running and Walking
It’s fine to take walk breaks, especially when starting out. Try running for 1-2 minutes and walking for 1 minute.
- Get Proper Running Shoes
Go to a specialty running store and get fitted for shoes to prevent injury. Replace shoes every 300-500 miles.
- Use a Training Plan
Follow a plan like Couch to 5K which slowly builds up your stamina. Plans prevent overdoing it.
- Run on Soft Surfaces
Try running on dirt or grass rather than concrete to put less stress on your joints.
- Prevent Injury
Build up slowly, rest between runs, stretch, and do strength training to prevent injury.
How to Create a Running Plan for Weight Loss
A running plan tailored to your goals and fitness level sets you up for weight loss success. Here are some tips:
- Determine Your Base Fitness
Are you starting from zero or do you have some running experience? This will impact how you structure your plan.
- Set a Schedule
Figure out what days and times you can reasonably run each week. Can you run 4-5 days or do you need 2-3?
- Pick a Goal
Do you want to run a 5K, 10K, or half marathon? Or just get generally fitter? Your goal will influence your plan.
- Build Up Slowly
Increase your time or distance by no more than 10% each week. This prevents overuse injuries.
- Add Cross-Training
Biking, swimming, yoga etc. 1-2 days a week gives your body a break but keeps fitness up.
- Listen to Your Body
Take rest days when needed. Recovery is key to getting results. Don’t run through serious pain.
- Have Patience!
It takes time to build fitness. Stick with the plan and you’ll see steady progress.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Running for Weight Loss
It’s easy to make mistakes when running for weight loss. Watch out for these common pitfalls:
- Doing Too Much Too Soon
Don’t jump into running 5 miles a day as a beginner. This leads to burnout, injury, and giving up. Slow and steady!
- Bad Form
Improper form like slouching or striding too far can lead to injury. Keep your back straight and take shorter, quicker steps.
- No Rest Days
Rest days are crucial to recover, especially when starting out. Don’t try to run full speed every single day.
- Overestimating Calorie Burn
Running burns calories, but not as many as you may think. Combine running with a healthy diet for best results.
- Comparing to Others
We all progress at different rates. Don’t get discouraged by how fast others improve. Focus on your own progress.
- Forgetting to Hydrate
Dehydration sabotages running and weight loss. Drink water before, during, and after running.
The Best Running Shoes for Weight Loss
Choosing the right shoes makes running comfortable and injury-free. Here are key things to look for:
Proper cushioning absorbs impact and is especially important for heavier runners or hard surfaces.
Look for arch support and material that helps control over-pronation to protect your joints.
Breathable, lightweight material keeps feet cool and sweat-free during a run.
The shoes should fit your foot shape and size perfectly. The right fit prevents blisters.
Some top-rated running shoes for weight loss include:
- Brooks Ghost 14
- Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38
- Asics Gel-Nimbus 24
- Saucony Ride 14
- Hoka Clifton 8
Visit a specialty store and try on different styles to find your perfect pair. Replace shoes every 300-500 miles.
What to Eat Before and After Running
Fuel properly before and after running to power your workouts and recovery.
Before a run:
- Eat a carbohydrate-rich snack like oatmeal, whole wheat toast, or banana
- Stay hydrated with water
- Avoid fatty, sugary, or high fiber foods which can cause cramps
After a run:
- Eat a mix of carbs and protein like yogurt and berries
- Chocolate milk is a great post-run option
- Stretch and keep moving to reduce muscle soreness
- Avoid unhealthy snacks and overeating even though you burned calories
Proper fueling will keep your runs energized and help your body recover faster for the next workout.
How to Stay Motivated to Run for Weight Loss
Sticking to a running plan takes dedication. Here are tips to stay motivated:
- Track your runs and times to see your progress
- Join a running group for camaraderie and accountability
- Cross-train on rest days to break up just running
- Celebrate each milestone and achievement
- Buy new running gear and accessories as rewards
- Share your journey on social media to inspire others
- Remind yourself of your goals and ‘why’
- Recruit a running buddy to run together
- Mix up routes to beat boredom
- Focus on how great you feel after a run
Remember, each run gets you one step closer to your weight loss goals!
Running Success Stories
Reading about others’ weight loss success through running can inspire you. Here are some real life examples:
Laura R. lost 120 pounds by slowly working her way up to running a 5K distance 3-4 times a week and improving her diet. She says learning to enjoy running was key.
James M. went from obese to running marathons. After a knee injury from his weight, he started aqua jogging. Once he lost over 50 pounds, he was able to run pain-free.
Kim C. credits running with keeping the 70 plus pounds she lost from creeping back on. Her weekly long runs keep her in great shape even in her 50s.
Marcus R. struggled with obesity since childhood until he found running in college. Sticking to a training plan helped him trim down by 85 pounds and boost his speed and endurance.
As you can see, running can transform your body no matter your starting point. Find what works for you and stick with it!
How to Prevent Injuries When Running
It’s important to take steps to avoid getting hurt when running, especially as a beginner. Here are some tips:
- Warm up and cool down: Walk 5-10 minutes before and after to ease muscles into running
- Strength train: Building strength prevents overuse injuries
- Stretch: Focus on your hips, hamstrings, calves which running tightens
- Rest: Take 1-2 rest days between runs to let your body recover
- Proper form: Maintain good posture and short, quick strides. Land softly.
- Replace shoes: Shoes wear down after 300-500 miles increasing injury risk
- Listen to pain: Take a break if you feel pain beyond muscle soreness
- See a doctor: See a podiatrist or physical therapist if pain persists
- Wrap injured areas: Use tape, braces, or sleeves to support strains or pulled muscles
With consistent, gradual training and taking care of your body, you can get all the benefits of running without injury.
Common Questions about Running for Weight Loss
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How much running do I need to lose weight?
You can lose weight by running just a few times a week if combined with a healthy diet. Aim for 20-60 minutes of running 3-5 days a week. More is not always better when starting out.
Will I gain the weight back once I stop running?
Not if you maintain good eating habits. Running kickstarts weight loss, but diet and strength training help sustain it.
What if I hate running? Are there alternatives?
Yes! Cycling, swimming, and stair climbing are low-impact alternatives with similar benefits. Find cardio you enjoy.
Can I still lose weight if I have to walk sometimes while running?
Absolutely. Walking intervals when needed will benefit you, especially as you build up endurance.
Should I run on a empty stomach in the morning to burn fat?
No. Running on empty leads to low energy and potential muscle loss. Eat a carb/protein-rich snack beforehand.
Can running help me lose belly fat?
Running alone won’t spot reduce fat in specific places. However, losing weight overall will reduce belly fat.
Is running enough to lose weight or should I also lift?
For maximum fat loss and body toning, pair running with strength training several days a week.
At what point should I consider supplements or special diets?
Focus on consistent running and healthy eating first. Add supplements only if recommended by your doctor.
Will running every day speed up my weight loss?
No! Rest days are crucial to avoid burnout and injury which stall progress. Follow a balanced training plan.
How can I make running a lifelong habit?
Find ways to make it fun like running outdoors, training for races, joining running groups, cross-training, and mixing up your routes.
The Bottom Line
Running is a great way to improve your health, burn calories, reshape your body, and lose weight over time.
Follow the tips in this article to start running, create an effective training plan, fuel properly, prevent injuries, and achieve your weight goals.
With consistency and dedication, running can be a key component of a successful weight loss journey. Track your progress and celebrate your wins along the way!