Not all running is created equal. Understanding running workouts specific for achieving your weight loss goals can help make the run more enjoyable and effective. In other words, you don't have to go kill yourself on a 10-miler to lose a few pounds.
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Consistency is key. Overdoing your running workouts at the beginning of a new workout regime only to quit after day one is typical for weight-loss runners. Save yourself the unnecessary soreness, pain and frustration (even though it may call for a sympathy massage or spa day). Instead, choose reasonable workouts with which you can be consistent. For example, run two miles Monday through Friday come heck or high-water. This consistency creates a running habit which will lead to lasting and healthy weight-loss.
Sprint and Jog Alternations
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On your next run, alternate running and sprinting. Choose landmarks such as telephone poles or houses; for example, jog past two houses, and then sprint past two houses. The time for each does not have to be identical. The purpose is simply to significantly raise the heart rate. After a study conducted by scientists in Sydney funded by Diabetes Australia with 40 overweight individuals, they discovered that "fast sprinting caused the body to release high levels of a specific group of hormones, called catecholamines, which drive the release of fat, especially abdominal and visceral fat, from fat stores so it can be burned by working muscles." Get your sprint on!
"I think I can, I think I can," repeated the little engine as it puffed up the mountain. It doesn't take a rocket science to know running uphill is hard. This incline raises the heart rate higher, burning more calories. Once a week, select a run with two or three hills. Another option is running on a treadmill with a three percent incline or alternating running five minutes flat and five minutes uphill.
It's time to put on the pressure. Look up races happening in the next month, and pick one! Training for a race provides the ideal consistency and intensity for weight-loss running. Once you have selected a run, whether it be a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon, decide on a game plan. Write out your training plan (see Resources). Races give the motivation, pressure and enjoyment you need to cinch up those running shoes for a great calorie-blasting, waist-thinning workout!
Kylie Rae Cobb is a wellness coach for a corporate wellness company and an enthusiastic exercise class instructor. She has a degree in public health from Brigham Young University and a 500-hour yoga teacher certification from Yoga Alliance.