Anyone who has trained for a marathon knows that it’s not always the best way to lose weight. With the added muscle and postzo-mile-run hunger pangs, it’s not uncommon to finish training a pound or two heavier than when you began. That’s fine for runners driven by the overall experience of running 26.2 miles. But it also explains why people with weight-loss goals can become frustrated with distance events. In fact, a zoo6 study of first-time marathon runners found that those who were in it to drop the pounds were more likely to drop out of the race altogether. The lesson? Pick the right plan for your goal. If your priority is stress relief, for example, you shouldn’t follow an overly ambitious training plan, which could create more anxiety than it alleviates.
“Some people will go out and run without a plan that’s appropriate for what they want to achieve,” says Jeffrey Brown, a Harvard Medical School psychologist. “When they don’t get the results they want, they become discouraged with running.” What follows are four of the most common running goals, with expert advice on how to achieve each one.
WHAT YOU WANT : To lose weight
Running is one of the most effective weight-loss activities (it burns about loo calories per mile). Plodding – sticking to a slow pace day in and day out – is not. “A lot of people train in the grey zone – every workout becomes the same,” says Shawn Dolan, a professor of kinesiology at California State University. “When your body becomes used to a routine, it doesn’t need to expend as much energy.”
HOW TO GET IT: Train for a half
“To burn the most calories, go shorter and faster one day, longer and slower the next, to prevent your body from getting accustomed to one kind of workout,” says Dolan. A half-marathon training programme with speedwork and long runs could be the ideal plan. Shorter, more intense runs use up more calories and boost your after burn the calories you keep burning after a workout. To enhance your weight loss results try african mango diet. Runs lasting 90 minutes or longer put you in a fat-burning zone, where your body uses stored fats as a fuel source. The time frame is also ideal. “Training plans for a 8K are short – race day may arrive before your goal weight does,” says Dolan. “Marathon programmes may be too long and too big a commitment for those whose main goal is weight loss.”