Running Schedule for Weight Loss

To lose weight, many people turn to running. Running offers dieters the ability to burn a greater number of calories in a shorter amount of time. For instance a 145 lb. person running a moderate pace of 10 mph for 30 minutes burns approximately 574 calories. Because running, even at a moderate intensity and distance, burns an abundant amount of calories, losing 1 to 2 lbs. of weight per week is realistic.

Couple on their morning jog. (Image: Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images)

Starting Out

Losing a pound of fat per week takes burning an additional 3,500 calories, or an average of 500 calories burned per day. With this in mind, start by running three days a week for 10 to 15 minutes. Each week add an additional 7 minutes of running time until you reach 30 to 45 minutes. In your fourth week of running, add an additional day of running. Finally, work your way up to running four days a week for at least 30 to 45 minutes. After reaching this rhythm, add one day with interval training, or repetitive distance workouts at a higher tempo, and one day with a longer run, such as 60 minutes. Also, add a day of strength training to your schedule.

Interval Training

Interval training consists of running faster than your normal pace for a brief period of time or distance followed by recovery. Sprint uphill and jog back down for a short intensity and recovery interval or, for longer intervals, run one mile at a pace faster than your normal tempo before returning to a jog for recovery. Aim for three minutes of high intensity followed by two minutes of recovery for a total of 20 to 30 minutes. Because interval training takes greater energy, intervals increase speed and enable you to burn more calories.

Distance Runs

Increasing the distance run boosts your aerobic endurance, or heart and lung fitness. Adding one long run, or extending your time by 15 to 30 minutes, improves your agility and coordination and enhances your ability to burn more calories.

Strength Training

Because muscle burns more calories than fat, strength training enables your body to burn fat effectively, even on your days off. Use strength training to develop the core, or abdominals, because the core acts as a stabilizer for the upper body. Additionally, concentrate on strengthening the muscles that support knee and hip joints, such as quadriceps and hamstrings. Strong core and leg muscles promote proper form and posture, resulting in a decreased risk for injury.


Running, considered a high-impact sport, places stress on the body because of added pressure from the motion of running. To minimize stress, purchase shoes specifically manufactured for running to soften the impact as your foot strikes the ground and choose dirt trails or grass over harder surfaces, such as pavement.

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