Running is a popular way of exercising in Australia, with beautiful park runs and run clubs popping up all over the country.
Whether you’re a marathoner or just want to spend time with your mates doing something fun outside, running is one of the best forms of exercise!
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about incorporating running into your workout routine and whether or not it’s right for you based on your lifestyle and fitness goals.
Let’s dive in!
The basics of running and weight loss
Before we can talk about the different types of running and their benefits, it’s important to take a look at some basic weight loss principles.
When it comes to sustainable weight loss, it’s about more than dieting or exercising as hard or as long as you can. In fact, these behaviours may even be counterproductive, as they can put intense stress on your body.
Exercise is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Everyone has a different body composition, different goals, and different needs when it comes to their unique genetic makeup.
Therefore, weight loss is a combination of dietary considerations, such as burning more calories than you intake or eating the right amount of macronutrients for your body type, and doing the right combination of exercises that serve you the best.
So, how can you actually lose weight while running?
Eating a healthy Runner’s Diet
Monitoring your diet is necessary to stay healthy and lose weight the right way. And as a runner, you’ll need to monitor fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and water intake while paying attention to macronutrients as well.
It sounds complicated, but once you get used to tracking each category, it’s pretty straightforward.
To start, consider eating simple carbs before your workout. These can help top off glycogen stores and give your muscles the fuel they need to work hard.
Next, work on incorporating whole, plant-based foods in the right amounts and increments to boost your metabolism and help you shed pounds. It’s also important to consider whether you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need, as deficiencies could lead to symptoms like fatigue.
What are some of the best foods to eat for weight loss?
Here are a few of our recommendations:
Protein is necessary to help your muscles repair after intense workouts and help you maintain muscle mass.
Eating more protein can also help satiate you and reduce your hunger hormone levels.
Some of the best sources of protein include:
By eating a healthy combination of these foods, you can help boost your metabolism and feel confident that your diet will aid in healthy weight loss.
Fruits and Vegetables
You’ve likely been told that fruits and vegetables are good for you your entire life. And that’s true! These foods are rich in vitamins that your body needs to be healthy, fight off illness, and maintain a healthy body weight.
For example, leafy greens, like spinach and kale, are packed with fibre and have very few calories. In addition, blueberries offer antioxidants in a delicious little package and can help fight cancer and suppress body fat.
More fruits and vegetables that are good for weight loss include:
- Pitted fruits
- And more!
Not all fats are bad. In fact, fat is your body’s preferred fuel source during recovery runs or cross-country jogs.
You can find these healthy fats in things like nut butter, seeds, healthy oils, avocados, and dark chocolate.
While these are just a few examples of the types of foods you need in a healthy diet, adding foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and the essentials you need to have a healthy body composition can help you lose weight sustainably. Adding fun foods that also have benefits, such as dark chocolate, can also help ensure that your weight loss plan will have an impact that lasts.
Having the right amount of water intake throughout the day — especially when you are running — is vital to your health.
As a rule of thumb, drink around 2 cups of water about 2 hours before your run. Then, 15 minutes prior to running, drink 100-200 more millilitres of water.
This, in addition to regular hydration throughout the day, should keep you properly hydrated throughout your workout. However, keep in mind that running on a hot day could cause excess sweating, and you may need to increase your water intake significantly.
Lastly, be sure to drink at least 2 cups of water with food after your run. This will replenish what you’ve lost through sweat and allow your body to return to a healthy resting state.
It’s important not to skip out on drinking enough water. Whether you’re going on a light jog or competing in a marathon, without proper hydration, your body cannot function like it needs to, and you will not achieve the results you are wanting.
Keep in mind that these suggestions above are mere guidelines; you’ll have to find what works best for your body according to your weight, workout intensity, and climate.
As we mentioned above, exercise is another component of weight loss. It helps boost your metabolism and shed those pounds.
Running exercises can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This can prevent heart disease and chronic health conditions and can even reverse damage internally over time.
Secondly, exercise boosts important hormones in your body, such as serotonin. The healthy release of feel-good hormones can help fight depression and anxiety and help you live the best life possible.
With these basics under our belt, let’s focus on answering the question, “is running good for weight loss?” below.
Is running good for weight loss?
The short answer is yes, running is good for weight loss.
But it’s important to know how exactly this form of exercise affects the body and why you might want to incorporate it into your workout routine.
1) It burns calories
Because it’s a form of cardio, running burns calories, which is necessary for losing weight.
The average person burns about 80-140 calories per mile. This is a helpful figure to give you an estimate of how much you’d need to run to burn X amount of calories.
You can work this into your macronutrient tracking to make sure you’re balancing both your diet and your workouts appropriately.
Running can also help regulate your overall metabolic rate, and it builds muscle mass while burning fat.
2) It suppresses appetite
It’s hard to lose weight when you’re constantly hungry or craving foods that are bad for you, like sugar or processed foods.
Running can actually help suppress your appetite while burning belly fat at the same time. That’s another reason why we recommend combining diet with exercise; they can both work together to fuel you in the right way.
3) It reduces stress
Stress can do a lot to the body. It can cause serious hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and higher blood pressure.
Running can reduce these and aid in your body’s recovery from things like high cortisol levels due to stress.
However, running isn’t the only way to reduce stress. Incorporate both running and relaxation techniques, like yoga or pilates, into your daily routine. This will keep your body in balance and give you opportunities to breathe deeply while burning fat.
Reducing stress daily should be an important goal of whatever workout you choose.
Different types of running
With these benefits in mind, let’s take a look at the eight different types of runs to help you identify which one(s) might be right for you.
1) Recovery Run
A recovery run is a shorter run at a slower pace, usually at the end of a workout or to pace yourself. This brings your heart rate back down to normal and allows your muscles to cool down before you stop exercising.
2) Base Run
A base run is a run at your natural pace to increase endurance and aerobic capacity. This gives you a good idea of where you are fitness-wise and gives you a baseline to veer from as you get in better shape.
3) Endurance Run
You don’t have to be a cross-country or marathon runner to incorporate endurance running into your workout routine. An endurance run helps you achieve greater distances and times and can increase your overall aerobic capacity.
4) Progression Run
A progression run starts at your natural pace and ends at a faster one. These are more of a moderately-challenging workout.
Intervals are a combination of short, fast spurts and long, slow jogs. This is a great exercise for burning fat!
You’ll often see interval training at gyms and in sports training programs for this very reason. It builds fast recovery times while pushing your body into the place it needs to be to burn fat consistently.
6) Tempo run
A tempo run involves running at your highest pace possible and holding it for as long as possible. It helps build your overall speed and allows you to gradually increase the amount of time you go all out for.
Depending on your experience level, this could range anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour to a full hour. There’s no right or wrong way to do this type of running. But the ultimate goal should be to increase the duration each time.
Not just a funny word, a fartlek is a base run that includes varying distances and duration. It helps fight muscle fatigue during your workout.
By incorporating this type of exercise into your workout routine, you are increasing your capacity to do longer, more intense workouts. That doesn’t mean every workout needs to be an all-out sprint. However, varying distances give your body a chance to stay in peak performance shape.
8) Hill Repeats
Hill repeats are challenging! They involve short bursts of uphill running to increase pain tolerance, run-specific strength, and power.
Doing these outside can be a fun way to involve a mate and race each other! But you can also easily do these on an inclined treadmill if you don’t live in a location that has varied terrain like hills.
You certainly don’t have to do all of these types of running, but there are so many options out there for you to enjoy and reap the benefits of.
Other types of exercise for weight loss
While running is a great way to lose weight, a healthy workout routine is one that incorporates things you love and makes you want to stick with it!
You can combine running with different workouts, such as HIIT and strength training.
You can also incorporate one of the following into your daily life as well:
- And more!
By having a variety of workouts in your routine, you can prevent injury and keep your body in a fat-burning state. The last thing you want is to pound the pavement so hard that you damage your knees or give yourself shin splints.
Always monitor how you feel before working out and incorporate a variety of stretching and strength-building exercises into your routine.
Is running good for weight loss? We sure think so!
By eating well, varying the types of running and strength-training workouts you do, and increasing your overall daily movement, you can maximise your weight loss results in a healthy, sustainable way.
Whether you want to become a marathon runner or just want to work on power and aerobic endurance, there are exercises out there for you!
Still not sure where to start on your health journey? We can help.
At Crunch, you can get a free 1-day pass and speak with a Crunch professional for 1:1 support. This is a great place to get your questions answered, share what your goals are with someone, and find the motivation you need to get started.
With the right tools and resources, you can make running a successful part of your weight loss journey!
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