Before I upset anyone, I want to note that running can be a really effective step toward successful weight loss. However, it’s important to know how it also can prevent weight loss and ultimately cause you to give up on your fitness regimen altogether.
3 Ways Your Running Habits Could Prevent Weight Loss Goals
- Neglecting variety: Many runners only choose running for their physical activity and find comfort in running the same route and intensity each time. (This might not be true for more experienced runners or competitive athletes). No matter what your activity might be, if you never change it up and progress your program, you’ll undoubtedly hit a plateau, “spinning your wheels.” Your body adapts quickly and won’t have to work as hard as it did in your earlier runs. If you really want to stick to running and want to lose weight, make sure you add variety to your runs, including running trails, doing hill repeats and sprinting.
- Skipping the weights: Don’t overlook the activities that have a powerful impact on weight loss, such as strength training and interval training. Many runners skip weights because they don’t want to be sore or slowed down while running. Unfortunately, they’re missing out on quality cross-conditioning that could help them actually run faster and longer and stay injury-free. Weight training will burn calories even after you’re finished with a workout as your body repairs; the caloric burn typically stops once you’re done with a run. This is one of the major ways running can prevent weight loss and is important to understand for your overall success.
- Running too much: This might be a confusing principle. But it’s a crucial one to discuss. If you do too much of anything and don’t let your body repair and recover for its next workout, you’re setting yourself up for muscle breakdown and discouraging injuries. Overtraining also can impact your hormones and create inflammation as well as cortisol and thyroid disruptions, which can abruptly stop weight loss in its tracks.
If you love to run, don’t be discouraged. You can still run and lose weight. But switch up your routine and add some cross-training and variety to your plan. You’ll be happier as a result—especially the next time you jump on the scale or look in the mirror!