How may times a week should I run to lose weight?
I’ll start by saying running is a great tool, we all have a tool box full of different tools, each tool for a different job.
Hammers are for nails, screwdrivers for screwing screws, saw’s for chopping.
Tools make the objective easier
Could you hammer a screw in, sure
Would it be as good as a screwdriver, no, but it would work!
Running is the tool, weight-loss is the objective
Are there better tools, sure thing!
Number 1 tool- Nutrition
You cant’ outrun a bad diet, in my short time doing cross-country type events (Hardmoors) and once up to the shortest ultra (28 miles), I noticed something.
Runners diets suck
I’d listen along the way and hear things like
“I’m only running so I can eat all these sweets”
Jelly beans, biscuits, cake, sugary tang-fastics and so on
I vowed to prove that I could run an ultra without eating sugary crap
I read a great book on the subject primal endurance by Mark Sisson’s (he has a great blog )
I believe he was a high level tri athlete and after years of gut issues and developing health issues from the sugar loading for races, things needed to change!
Lot’s of great things I learned from the book and more importantly put into practice, I ran slower and only would breath through the nose.
It is weird and hard at 1st, I soon got used to it and for the little training I put in, I got a lot of bodily self awareness.
Slow is fast!
You burn your muscle glycogen slower (stored carbs) and breathing through your nose helps drive the para sympathetic nervous system into play (rest and digest) and not into fight or flight mode.
Like in the 80’s movie Highlander- ” There can only be one”
You can only be in one mode at a time, like a light switch!
I also learned to use a great app linked to my heart rate zones (app was zones) the book taught me to use the simple formula 180-bpm minus my age, and the app helped.
I was 37 I believe at the time so 180-37 gave my 143 bpm
I had to be below that, the whole time and the zones app would vibrate my arm if I went through it
It was all about being in the right zone, also that’s the fat burning zone
So the point to my story is running
If your running to lose weight, go long (long for you) and slow 180- age, now if your unfit right now, that might mean walking at a fast pace.
Your looking for the right stimulus- Fat loss ( fat oxidisation)
Above 180- age or above 143 for me at the time your workout needs a different fuelling system- Hello stored carbs
So keeping under the limit will help burn a higher percentage of fat.
I was absolutely fine the whole 28 miles (shortest ultra) well my hips and knee’s were not, I hadn’t trained enough in that respect!
So I burned (oxidised) more fat and less carbs (keeping it simple) so my roughly 1800grams of stored carbs in my muscles and liver lasted longer.
So what Did I fuel on?
I had a lot of water with a crap load of electrolytes in, they help stop muscle cramps and I believe they help the chemical signal that is fired to the muscle connect and fire. (Neurotransmitter)
I made a shake with avocado, banana, chia seeds, peanut butter in a thick mushy paste and later had some mushed up sweet potato and butter, piped out of bag (imagine piping a cake)
It was a long run though, you don’t need fuel for short ones
To many people eat on 5k’s and 10k’s , even half marathons
So How many times would I run?
Now we’ve talked about not eating sugary crap. let’s get to how many times you should run to lose weight
beginner- twice a week with 2-3 rest between
Intermediate, three times a week, 48 hours apart M/W/F
Advanced- Four times
You need enough rest in-between, I advise stretching for 20 minutes on run days follow along one of my here https://ulyssesfitness.co.uk/regain-a-perfect-posture-with-coach-ben-stretching-series/
10 minutes on off days with a crap load of calf raises, start at 30 reps per type- see here
2-3 times a week complete in calf raises
Feet together 30 reps
Heels together, feet at 45 degrees, 30 reps
Rotate in from the top of the leg so your feet go in (Forrest Gump) 30 reps
Add reps over the weeks!
I wouldn’t run anymore, It’s a lot of impact
You’ll need to recover! Find some great recovery aids here (Muscle balms and massage tools)
Running mainly trains the Thighs (quads) and pulls the hips forward, not good
You need to balance yourself out by training the hamstrings, back and glutes
Especially if you sit at a desk all day, that shortens the thighs and also pulls forward the hips ( SEE THE VIDEO BELOW)
The body needs balance
If it all sounds to much, reach out and we’ll have a coach plan it all or deliver your training to meet your goals
To much running causes so some back pain!
Running is a great tool, to much is not good though!
Find balance and help those postural muscles!
If you need help, reach out!