Different people become runners for different reasons. One of the most common reasons is for losing unwanted weight. Running is a very efficient way to lose weight. According to Harvard Health publications, you can burn an average of 300 calories when running at 5 mph just for 30 minutes. It may sound like an easy solution to your problem with those extra pounds, but running for weight loss does need quite a bit of dedication, commitment and may take a lot of effort and time.

Here are some guidelines to keep in mind if you want to drop several pounds by running:

Set your goals

Before you start, make sure you have set your long-term goal for the number of pounds you want to lose or the weight you want to reach. After that, carefully work on setting your first smaller, short-term goal which will help you move forward toward your ultimate goal. Make sure your goals are reasonable, so that you don’t get disappointed quickly and quit your running altogether. If you have little or no experience as a runner, start with small goals, such as: walking for 20 minutes a day, running a mile, two or three, or running at least 4 times a week. Once you reach your first smaller goal, you will not only feel accomplished and happy with yourself but you will more likely feel motivated to move ahead towards your next goal. Keep moving ahead and increasing your goals, as you become more physically fit and able to run more, faster and for longer periods of time. By taking these baby steps, you are very likely to be able to reach your final long-term goal at some point. It is even more motivating if you keep a log or use one of the mobile apps to set your goals and keep track of your performance over time.

Work on increasing your mileage at a slow tempo

lose-weight-by-running 2If you have 30 or more pounds to lose, you should start slow and very gradually increase your walking or running mileage in order to stay safe and healthy. Overtraining due to unrealistic goals and deadlines for them can lead to mild and serious injuries to the muscles, ligaments, joint and bones.

The recommended method for newbies with a lot of weight to lose is to start by setting minutes rather than miles for your runs and building on that. When you can easily run for 30 minutes you can proceed to add another 10 minutes to your runs. Run for 40 minutes for 1 or two weeks, and only then should you proceed to increase the run  by another 10 minutes. Slowly but surely is the way to take it if you want to succeed achieving your weight loss goals and stay healthy and uninjured while at it.

Don’t forget, proper footwear is crucial, so in order to avoid getting injured due to unappropriate footwear, make sure you have a pair suitable for heavy runners – these are more cushioned and supportative.

Know that you may gain some weight when you start training

It is not unusual for people to gain muscle weight after they start running and training. Make sure you consult with a coach or a running expert to recommend the best running and training program for you, so that you can achieve the weight gain you want properly and safely. Also, as with any weight loss program – make sure your calorie intake is not higher than the number of calorie you burn. Some people make the mistake of thinking that because they run they can eat anything and as much as they want. This simply isn’t true. Stick to your healthy and balanced diet and keep on running and training and you will see how the pounds start to melt off soon.

Work on your endurance

If you are overweight or obese, you may find starting to run very difficult. Remember, it will take some effort in the beginning, but once you get accustomed to it, you will start improving and increasing your endurance. The more and the faster you run – the more calories you will burn. When you add aerobic exercise to your program, and add some sprints to your running you will enhance the calories burning to continue even when you are resting after the run or workout as your muscles start repairing.

Get help with a running and training plan

Ask a friend who runs, a coach or other running expert to help you create the perfect weight loss running and training program for you. Make sure you stick to your schedule if you want to see the results soon. An expert should be able to create a plan for you which will not only help you achieve your weight loss objectives but will ensure that you do it gradually, safely, and without the risk of overtraining and hurting yourself.

Register for your first race

Nothing is more motivating than signing up for a race. This will keep you inspired to continue on with your running and training program and to stick with it, in order to be able to complete the race and to reach the results you want. Since most races are paid for, you will also have the financial motivation to go on with your training program.

Running is a great way to lose weight, get fit and work on your endurance. The only thing you need is to stay motivated and keep on running no matter how difficult it may seem at times. Once you reach your weight goal you will see that it was all worth it!