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The Best Way to Run for Losing Weight

By Kim Nunley

You were born to run. Flying fleet-footed for your health and joy also burns a great number of calories and increases your metabolic rate, which means that even when you're finished and at rest, you'll burn more calories. If you’re overweight, in the beginning, running will be somewhat uncomfortable and difficult, but as you begin to get in shape and lose weight, the activity will become easier and more enjoyable.


  1. Run at least three to five days per week. To lose one pound of fat, you need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. Running only once a week is not a frequency that will create an adequate caloric deficit for weight loss.

  2. Stretch immediately after finishing. Stretching increases recovery time and prevents muscle tightness, so you'll be more motivated to be consistent.

  3. Complement workouts with daily walks. Twenty-four hours between running workouts is essential to allow adequate recovery, but you can increase the total calories you burn in a day by adding walks.

Intensity and Duration

  1. Run at an appropriate pace to burn the most calories. A common rule to tell if you’re running at an appropriate speed is to imagine that you're having a conversation with someone. If you are able to talk without some bit of difficulty, you’re running too slowly. If you are unable to talk at all because you’re breathing too heavily, then your intensity is too high.

  2. Complete 30 to 90 minutes of running. The greater the time, the greater the number of calories burned. To approximate how many calories you burn with each mile, multiply 0.75 times your weight in pounds.

  3. Build endurance by progressively increasing your running duration. If necessary, break up jogging with high speed walking. For example, you could run for 10 minutes, walk for 10, and then finish off with another 10 minutes of running.

Considerations for Faster Weight Loss

  1. Build muscle with strength training. Use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, cable pulley machines or your own body weight as resistance. Increases in strength will also translate into running endurance improvements.

  2. Eat a healthy diet packed with sufficient calories to support your running workout. Beginning runners will typically see an increase in appetite and have a tendency to eat more than before, often counterbalancing the calories lost while exercising; so choose your calories wisely.

  3. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your run. Muscles need water for recovery. Simply drinking only water, rather than sodas, juice or alcoholic drinks, can significantly decrease daily calorie intake and assist with weight loss.

  4. Tip

    Before you begin a running program, visit a running store to find appropriate shoes for your specific feet and gait. Running store staff members should be able to analyze your gait and suggest shoes that will provide the best support.


    Running can place high demands on the ankles, knees and hips. Over-training will exacerbate any discomfort you may be feeling, so take your rest days.

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