Weight Loss whilst Running
One of the reasons a lot of people take up running in the first place is to try to shift some weight as well as getting fitter and wanting to compete.
With a calorific outlay of about 600 calories for the average person on a 5 mile run, you can see the attraction.
Although there are slight variations, it doesn't really matter how fast you do this - it is covering the distance that matters in terms of weight loss.
However, you do have to be careful about weight loss, as it has to be sustainable and you have to do so in a way that isn't going have an adverse impact on your health. It should be done in a way that is a mixture of more activity and a sensible alteration in diet. This may not mean that you are going to eat much less, but that you change the composition of your diet from fatty foods to ones that have a higher carbohydrate content.
If you lose weight fast (particularly when you start) it is primarily fluids that have been 'lost', which will be put back on in time. What you want to do is burn the excess fat that may have accumulated over the years.
To put this in perspective, 1lb of fat contains about 4,000 calories. So, assuming that your weight is stable (if a little heavy) when you start then you'll need to run a total of about 30-35 miles to lose a pound in weight. The good news for those who are a bit heavier is that you'll burn the calories a bit quicker.
We are not suggesting that you suddenly jump into running this distance each week, but, for weight loss, building up to this from doing nothing over a period of (for example) 6 months would put in place a stable, consistent plan for weight loss and maintenance - which can become a life long thing.
A point to note is that it is often quoted that you shouldn't look to lose more than one pound a week - so if you do run more than this distance, having built up to it from a sedantry lifestyle, you should be eating MORE food than you were - and you'll still be losing weight. If you eat too little you leave yourself susceptible to injury and illness - both of which will set your weight loss plans back significantly.
The information here is written by an athletics coach who has read widely into the subject - not a sports nutritionist - so is about gearing your food and drink to the practicalities of running as opposed to expert dietary advice.
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