Running is definitely a great way to lose weight, but it can still be the quickest route to gaining weight. You might be disappointed and surprised to learn that running for weight loss does not necessarily lead to weight loss. It is actually not unusual to gain weight by running.
However, this should not worry you since running for weight loss is still a great way to lose weight and become healthier in the process.
Here are 5 Common Running Mistakes You Should Avoid
Fuel is critical to running harder for longer and burning more calories. However, it can literally weigh you down. It is not uncommon for people to consume so many gels and sports drinks during training runs that they consume more calories than they actually burn.
If you are running for weight loss, you should check the number of grams of carbohydrates that you consume from gels and sports drinks prior to and during your runs. Ideally, you should consume between 30 and 45 grams of carbohydrates an hour.
Runners generally don’t just consume too many calories during runs, but rather all day long. Regular, prolonged workouts can increase appetite significantly, and while it is healthy and okay to increase your intake of calories when performing a high volume of workouts, overestimating the number of calories you burn can easily lead to overeating.
If you are running for weight loss, you try to track all your food intake for at least one week. You might be surprised by what you find. Try reworking the eating schedule you normally follow. Break main meals into smaller ones spread throughout the day. That way, rather than having your lunch and pre-run snack, lunch will double as the pre-run snack. This will allow you to cut calories automatically while still fueling your workout and day.
3. Limiting Your Daily Activities
You might perform long daily runs but still have a decrease in your calorific burn as well as total daily activities. Almost anyone that has ever run, suffers from this. How many times have you gone on a long run only to arrive home, taken a nap and rested around your couch for the remainder of the day watching TV? Chances are it is several times.
If your running for weight loss sessions that last between 30 and 60 minutes is the only activity that you get each day, then it is time to start thinking about walking more, taking the stairs more, and even pausing your computer time more for stretch breaks. Performing other activities besides your running is a great way to complement your weight loss efforts through running.
4. Just Running Only
The ideal workout routine for weight loss is one that includes multiple types of workouts. It will challenge you progressively in different ways and works the anaerobic and aerobic system. While running for weight loss trains the aerobic energy system, strength training builds muscle mass and develops your anaerobic capacities.
If you are running for weight loss, you should try mixing things up a bit. Try performing strength training exercises several times a week and don’t be afraid to switch the occasional run with swimming, yoga, cycling, or an exercise class. Apart from challenging the body in new ways, switching between exercises will help keep your runs from getting boring.
5. Never Taking Days Off
When it comes to workouts, including running, more is not necessarily better. Too much exercising chronically increases the levels of stress hormones in the body including cortisol, thus inhibiting recovery. Fat storage and muscle degradation rather than muscle building often results.
If you are running for weight loss, it is important to prioritize recovery. Take at least one day every week off from your structured workouts. Increase your training gradually and incorporate recovery workouts such as foam rolling into your workout regimen and get enough sleep too.
The Bottom Line
Running can be a great way to lose weight, but only if it is done right. If you are guilty of the mistakes discussed here, now is the time to correct them and get the most value out of your workouts. Soon enough, your weight loss efforts will start bearing fruit.