The most important thing when looking to lose weight is achieving a negative energy balance. If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. Therefore, it’s ideal when your training consists of workouts that torch a lot of calories without spending hours working out. Slow runs at a comfortable pace are good for boosting your metabolism, but they are not very effective at blasting fat. Intense workouts that produce a high training stimulus are better at burning calories. Plus, your muscles require a lot of energy post-workout for the recovery process. Through this “afterburn effect” your body continues to burn calories after your workout.
Today, I will show you three effective running workouts to optimize your weight loss:
1. Aerobic intervals
In this type of interval training, the ratio between work and recovery is 1 to 2. The intense phase should last a maximum of 30 seconds. The work phase consists of a submaximal sprint and the recovery phase, a slow walk.
How to do it:
The work phase lasts 20 seconds. You should run at a submaximal sprint (about 85-90% of your maximum sprint). Fast, but not full gas. This is followed by a recovery phase consisting of 40 seconds of slow walking. Repeat this cycle for 20 minutes, or in other words, a total of 20 intervals. It is important that you hold back a little during the first intervals. You will know that you have chosen the right pace when you can run the last sprint as fast as the first one.
2. Intervals at your 5k race pace
In these intervals, the work and recovery periods are equal. You should run at the average pace of your 5k personal best. If you don’t know this, you can adjust the intensity according to your heart rate. Calculate the maximum heart rate for your age group (220 minus your age) and take 90-95% of that value.
Note: Running intervals based on your maximum heart rate is not very precise. At the beginning of the work phase, your heart rate will continue to climb and won’t level off until 1 ½ – 2 minutes into your run. Or in other words, it will take 1 ½ – 2 minutes for you to reach your calculated heart rate. That is also why it is better to run your intervals based on your race pace.
How to do it:
The work phase lasts 4 minutes. You should run at the average pace of your 5k personal best. This is followed by a recovery phase consisting of 4 minutes of slow jogging. Repeat the cycle 4 times, or in other words, run for a total of 32 minutes, 16 minutes of it at a fast pace.
3. Continuous run at your 10k race pace
In contrast to the intervals, you run at a constant pace throughout this training exercise. You should run at the average pace of your 10k personal best. If you don’t know your 10k personal best, you can adjust the intensity according to your heart rate. Calculate the maximum heart rate for your age group (220 minus your age) and take 85-90% of that value.
How to do it:
The work phase lasts 30 minutes. You should run at the average pace of your 10k personal best.
Note: Make sure to give your body plenty of recovery time. Wait at least 48 hours before doing your next intense training session.
Don’t forget to warm up well before your running workouts by running at a moderate pace for 10-15 minutes. Follow this with 2-3 short accelerations (gradually increase your pace over a short distance of about 100 m until you almost reach a maximum sprint) to get your muscles ready for the intense workout coming up. After your workout, jog at a slow pace for at least 10 minutes to cool down.