There is no one-size-fits-all weight loss strategy, but you need to burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. Running is one method of making you lose weight.
Burning more calories can take many forms, from specific diets to various exercise regimens, including strength training, interval training, and steady-state cardio.
How fast can you lose weight?
You can choose to take slower, longer runs or faster, shorter runs. Both can be effective. But what will be most effective in achieving your goals?
If you run long distances, you are probably performing steady-state cardio, a lower-intensity workout that can be performed for a long time. In this case, your heart rate remains in a moderate work zone and does not experience the intense ups and downs it would make during, for example, sprint training.
Long-distance running is excellent for building your endurance and improving overall cardiovascular health. If you prepare for an event like a 5K or a half marathon, most of the training will be at a steady pace. You burn fewer calories per minute, but you work for more minutes to increase the total calorie burn. Slower runs are also easier for your joints, so they have the added benefit that you can recover faster between runs.
But as healthy as long, slow jogs can be, they can lead to plateaus. Running longer distances is a way to break through plateaus, but you can only run that far. As your body adapts to the workout, it will not feel as challenging, and it may burn fewer calories. Eventually, your body will get used to a certain distance, and your weight loss may plateau.
Fast runs to lose weight
The more and faster you run, the more calories you burn. If you increase the speed over a specific duration, the calorie burn increases considerably. That said, everyone can’t speed up. Unless you are a serious runner, it is probably not easy to maintain a higher pace over a long period – at least not right away. To increase the speed, you need to reduce the duration.
If you were to run that pace at 8 miles per hour for 30 minutes, you would burn 459 calories. It’s less than you burn from the longer, slower run.
Shorter workouts are easier to fit into busy days, so that you may have shorter, more intense workouts than the longer, less intense workout. Secondly, high-intensity training helps you achieve the coveted “post-burn effect.”
Also known as EPOC, or “excess oxygen consumption after exercise,” afterburning is the amount of oxygen required to return the body to its state before exercise. In other words, you will continue to burn calories even after your workout is over. It isn’t easy to calculate the exact effect, but an Australian study shows an increase of 6-15% in the hours after a high-intensity training session.
Which is best?
It’s a kind of tricky question because ideally, you should do both. High-intensity runs are great for burning calories, and they give you the afterburn effect. Slower runs help you build endurance, burn more fat, and recover better.
The two-part approach provides the most benefits in the long run. Turn up the speed and distance with the intervals, and you will keep your body moving to avoid plateaus. Then take slower jogs or take some nice, long walks for active recovery days.
Any exercise can help you lose weight, just do not become too dependent on one thing. Mix up your training routine with jogging, walking, lifting weights, and doing everything else that gets you up and moving. Ultimately, regular activity is what will help you achieve lasting weight loss.