On a chilly morning on January 22nd, in the beautiful mountainside of Hong Kong, thousands of ultra runners were preparing to run 298 kilometres. Take a moment to truly consider that task. Running non-stop for 48-70 hours - much of that through the night - with no substantial meals to re-energise.
But instead of marvelling at the mental and physical fortitude, most of us wonder: why would you possibly want to do it?
One ultra runner says ‘Ultra running is my therapy. It keeps me sane. It makes me believe I can achieve anything’.
That mindset epitomises the power of running. Overcoming physical pain breeds determination, motivation, and mental strength. It inspires you to push yourself to your limits.
Now relax. We’re not going to ask you to sign up for ultra running marathons or force you to run through the night. However, we will ask you to consider how running can help you conquer your greatest obstacles. Especially if that obstacle is weight loss.
How does running help you lose weight?
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. The best way to achieve a calorie deficit? A balanced diet and exercise. The process is simple.
You burn around 100 calories per mile run. So if you run a marathon, you’d burn more than the 2500 calorie intake men should aim for per day. Even a few miles makes it much easier to stay in a calorie deficit and lose weight.
How to start running for weight loss
Finding the motivation can be tough, but you just need to get out the door. Even a five-minute jog at a slow pace can be the catalyst for a love of running. There’ll be numerous evenings where you’re exhausted, it’s raining, or you just can’t be bothered. Those are the times that make the difference. Getting started is the hardest part, but you just need to get going.
When lethargy hits, put your shoes on and get out there – even if it’s just for a few minutes. You’ll always be glad you did.
What kind of running is best for weight loss?
Any type of running helps you lose weight. But there are two types that most people adopt: long-distance running and interval running.
Interval running is done with high intensity. You’re moving your muscles at a rigorous pace, which creates an afterburn effect – this means you still burn calories after the session has ended. You can put your feet up after an intense jog and still burn calories. Effectively, it’s a short burst of physical energy with long-term benefits.
The process of weight loss for long-distance running is obvious – the longer you run, the more calories you’ll burn. If you struggle to go at a quick pace, stick to long distances.
What’s the best diet for running?
The best diet for running is generally the same diet you should strive to achieve every day – a balanced diet consisting of healthy foods. In regards to meals before exercise, aim to eat a hearty bowl of carbohydrates 3-4 hours before your workout. Smash through some pasta or rustle up some rice.
It might boost your energy to have a snack a couple of hours before exercise. Think cereal bars, fruit, or light snacks – sometimes the burst of energy can be the difference between an average and intense session.
The numan take
Make running your weapon against weight. Each time you think about bailing on a 5k or binning off a short jog, just get out the door. The first few steps can be the catalyst for becoming the healthier, fitter version of you. No more excuses. Use running as your way to fight back against weight gain.