Whether your gym is closed or you’re trying to get fit on a budget, running can be a great option for losing weight. Running is a high intensity exercise, which is great for burning calories, but lacing up your sneakers doesn’t automatically lead to weight loss. If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, here are some things to look out for.
Mistake No. 1: Trying to Train at a High Level AND Lose Weight
Fix It: If you’re a competitive runner, you’re probably used to training for races (or at least following a schedule). It seems natural that weight loss could be integrated into your routine, but that approach can actually backfire. It’s actually best to focus on one goal at a time. If you’re ready to lose weight, put marathon training on pause and focus on cleaning up your diet and adding in some interval training. Many runners who continue training for races while also cutting back on calories find themselves irritable and low on energy.
Mistake No. 2: Doing the Same Run Over and Over
Fix It: Once you’ve found your go-to route, it’s easy to run it every day, maybe at the same pace. But if you want to lose weight, it’s important to mix things up. To encourage muscle adaptation and rev up your metabolism, add in some variety. For example, aim for speed intervals on Tuesdays, hilly miles on Thursday and a long, slow run on the weekend.
Mistake No. 3: Relying Only on Running for Weight Loss
Fix It: Sure, running burns a lot of calories per minute, but it’s probably not a good idea to run 7 days a week. To avoid burnout and overtraining, add in some other activities. Incorporate strength training and low impact cardio (such as swimming) in addition to your weekly runs. And keep in mind that non-exercise activity can burn calories as well–take the kids for a walk, dig around in your garden or clean the house. The important thing is to get off the couch and keep moving!