The weight loss market is flooded. Flooded with tools, diets, tricks and gimmicks all claiming to have the key to weight loss. Some work, most don’t, but what is widely accepted be an inexpensive and reliable go-to weight loss activity is regular running.

Is running for weight loss effective?

Various studies have found running to be among the most effective way of losing weight – people typically burn more calories per minute while running then when cycling or swimming, for example. We know running is a fairly dependable way of losing weight, but it doesn’t always work. Why is that the case and how can we ensure that our regular runs have an impact and help us shed those excess pounds?

A study carried out by the Journal of the American Medical Association monitored the exercise habits of over 34,000 women and it concluded that around an hour a day of gentle exercise such as walking is required merely to maintain weight. Not lose weight – maintain your current weight.

Dietary changes are a must to go alongside running

Of course running and other exercise is pretty useless if your diet is poor. Dietary changes are invariably essential if you are looking to lose weight, and are the most effective means of getting the ball rolling and stimulating initial weight loss, while subsequent running / exercise – alongside maintained dietary changes – is the most effective way of preventing weight regain and ultimately losing weight.

Dieting without exercise reduces calorie intake and results in losing muscle as well as body fat – whereas a change of diet combined with regular running helps to lose fat while preserving muscle.

In terms of adding muscle, other activities such as weights, gym or sprinting are more effective.

The cornerstone of any weight loss is maintaining a daily calorie deficit – i.e. burning more calories than you consume every day. The best way to do this is to eat less (or eat better), and exercise more. Simple huh? Regular running and the resultant burning of calories makes it easier, of course, to maintain that calorie deficit.

Why do some regular runners fail to lose weight?

You will hear of some runners complaining that their exercise isn’t leading to much, if any weight loss. More often than not this is due to runners failing to increase the intensity of challenge of the runs they undertake. It is important to gradually ratchet up the demands of your exercise, but equally important is how you apply these increases. Too much or too sudden an increase leaves us much more susceptible to injuries. A good guide is the 10% rule – step up your distances by no more than 10% on a weekly basis and you should see decent results.

Along with these incremental increases, adding intensity to sections of your runs will make a further difference. All miles run are not equal in terms of calories burned – the pace at which you run is key. Stepping up the intensity for some of the miles during your run will burn even more calories.

It all seems very simple but it is amazing how people can lose sight of this once they’ve put their running kit on and started exercising. Simply getting out there and going through the motions is not enough. Monitor your distances and your times, avoid plateauing, run more miles, and run some of those additional miles faster = burning more calories.

Good luck!


KUDOS supports and encourages running at all levels – no matter how big or small your running club.

We champion running so the athletes taking part can develop their confidence and we always encourage new people to take part or support their running club.


A KUDOS running kit is designed to cope with the demands of the sport in matching styles across all garments including full running kits, running team tracksuits, hoodies and jackets.


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