Getting into the habit of running a few times each week is a no-frills way to get in shape, boost your energy level and shed pounds in the long run. Weight loss is all about taking in fewer calories than you use, so if you keep your calorie intake constant you'll start losing pounds after a few weeks of running. For faster weight loss, try cutting some calories from your diet as you settle into your running program.
Design a running schedule that you plan to stick with. Runner's World suggests beginning runners hit the pavement three times per week, with one or two days off between each session.
Keep track of the distance you run during each 45-minute session using a pedometer. Alternately, you can estimate run distance by inputting your running route into a free online pedometer.
Divide the number 45 by the number of miles you ran in the session to calculate your running pace, in minutes per mile.
Determine the number of calories you burned in your run by plugging your speed and distance into an online running calorie calculator.
Record your running times and calories burned in a journal or spreadsheet. Research shows that good record keeping helps you stick to an exercise regimen and helps you know how many calories you're burning each session.
Run faster to burn more calories. For instance, a 155-pound woman who does a 45-minute run at an 8-minute mile pace burns about 50 more calories than the same run at a 9-minute pace.
Maintain or reduce your pre-running daily caloric intake levels to lose weight over time. According to the National Institutes of Health, you will shed about 10 pounds per year per every 1,000 calories that you burn weekly.
Increase the number of days per week that you run as you get stronger and fitter. Gradually increase run frequency from three days up to a maximum of six days per week.
- Pair your exercise regimen with a lower-calorie diet for faster weight loss. Although it's possible to shed pounds via exercise or calorie cutting alone, according to the Mayo Clinic doing both together is more likely to lead to sustained weight loss in the long term.
- Consult your physician before starting a running program or any other new workout regimen.
Dan Howard is a sports and fitness aficionado who holds a master's degree in psychology. Howard's postgraduate research on the brain and learning has appeared in several academic books and peer-reviewed psychology journals.