How to Lower Your Body Fat With Long-Distance Running

Run with a friend to make the long distances more bearable.

Run with a friend to make the long distances more bearable.

Long-distance running doesn't mean you have to run for hours. Any distance that is about three miles or more is considered long distance, rather than a sprint or short-distance run. When running for at least 30 minutes, a 155-pouind person can burn about 298 calories if they run at 5 miles per hour, according to Harvard Medical School. If you run long distances on a regular basis you can lower your body fat, and become more healthy.

Determine how much body fat you want to lose. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories. Losing 3 percent or less of your body weight in fat is considered moderate weight loss. Losing 5 percent or more of your weight in fat is considered clinically significant, according to Dr. Len Kravitz of the University of New Mexico. Setting a specific goal in terms of pounds, or percentage of body weight, will help you determine how much running you need to do.

Accumulate at least 150 to 250 minutes of running each week for moderate weight loss. To lose a significant amount of fat, accumulate 250 to 420 minutes of running each week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. You can start with as little as 10 minutes of running at a time and slowly build a little bit each week.

Spread your running workouts over five to seven days each week, according to Dr. Kravitz. If you are new to running, start with a run every other day. Every two weeks add one day of running to allow your body to become accustomed to this amount of exercise, and continually challenge yourself.

Vary your running workouts to avoid a weight loss plateau. You can keep the distance or time, the same, but change up your intensity level. Vary your workout between flat surfaces, running paths or treadmill programs that incorporate hills. This will challenge your body, and help you burn more calories.


  • Wear supportive shoes that were made for running. Replace your shoes every few months to avoid injuries to your feet, ankles or knees.
  • Add in resistance training two or three times each week to increase lean muscle, and burn more calories.
  • Run with a friend to stay motivated, and challenge each other.
  • Cross train with other forms of cardio to alleviate boredom and protect your body.


  • See a physician before beginning any exercise program.
  • Try walking instead of running if you are severely obese, or have joint issues.
  • Don't start out by running every day for extended periods if you are new to running. You can overtrain and injure yourself.
  • Avoid running outside in extreme temperatures. Heat and humidity, as well as extremely cold weather can adversely affect your body. Take your workouts inside if the weather poses a threat to your well-being.
  • Avoid dehydration while running by drinking before, during and after your run.
  • Stop if you feel pain, lightheaded or nauseated.

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About the Author

Bethany Kochan began writing professionally in 2010. She has worked in fitness as a group instructor, personal trainer and fitness specialist since 1998. Kochan graduated in 2000 from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Medical Exercise Specialist and certified YogaFit instructor.

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