Running solely to lose weight – from zero to “size zero hero” without having to buy too much gear-o.

On this blog I have mainly talked about what is loosely termed competitive running. Working hard, training smart and being hell bent on becoming a faster and stronger runner. Getting in the top 20%.  Maybe even winning some races.  The reality is that for a lot of people the main purpose of running is to get fit… and more importantly, to lose some weight.

Scale: “One at a time please…”

This blog entry is for the people that:

  • Don’t want to win races
  • Don’t want to run a marathon
  • Don’t want to improve on their 10km personal best by doing laps of a running track in the rain
  • Want to shed some pounds and look FABULOUS

First lets start with some home truths.

Home Truth #1 – You won’t be dieting.

That’s right.  You heard that right. You won’t be dieting.

Blog Reader: “But Duncan… Why not?”

Duncan: “Because diets don’t work.”

Blog Reader: “Yes they do.  My friend lost 8 kg on the Atkins diet.”

Duncan: “But they have gone and put it right back on haven’t they?”

Blog Reader: “Actually… Yes they did… And some more…”

Duncan: “That is why diets don’t work.  And did their breath smell like a donkey’s a**ehole whilst they were on the diet?”

Blog Reader: “In fact… It did!”

Duncan: “How would you know what a donkey’s a**ehole smells like?”

Blog Reader: “That was mean. You tricked me.”

Duncan: “Sorry, I was just underlining my point about dieting.”

Blog Reader: “It was a cruel trick and had nothing to do with dieting and you know that.”

Through the magic of the Adkins diet your a**e can smell like this.

The point of this blog (apart from pissing about) is to use running to change your lifestyle in a way that you are happy to maintain for the rest of your life.  Don’t get me wrong, you will need to improve your eating if you start running more.  The fact remains that the best way to achieve this is by eating better, more appropriate food, instead of starving yourself.

Home Truth #2 – You won’t lose 10kg in a week

Outside of the Biggest Loser series of shows, people generally don’t safely lose massive amounts of weight quickly.  I think that people are very happy to lose weight at a rate of half to one kg a week – provided they can keep that going for years.  Plus, you have to have a deficit of over 7500 calories to lose 1kg.  With numbers like that it just isn’t safe to lose weight too quickly.

You can lose massive amounts of weight through self-induced digestive illness. Not recommended.


So these are my tips to running solely for weight loss.  Running burns a lot of calories, these tips basically support your running – so you can run more often and at a greater intensity – and thus burn more calories.  Although you will be running to lose weight, you will also find you are probably a lot happier. Enjoy!

1) Set a training plan. Tell everyone.

If you can get another person or group of people to adopt a training plan then that is even better!  Basically, you want to have the motivation and structure that a training plan provides, and the more you involve other people, the greater that motivational pull becomes.  The training plan also allows you to plan the amount of running you are doing, ensuring that you build up the amount slowly. The rule of thumb is to not increase your total mileage by more than 10% each week. Here are some Runners World beginner training plans to get you started.

Davo, Johhnno, Andy, Bender, Smeggsy and Tubs decided they were spending too much time in the boozer, so they started jogging together to lose weight. Still got a way to go fellas!

2) Run regularly

Running smaller amounts regularly (3-4 times a week) is much better than doing 2 runs a week, as your body will gear up for running much quicker, and you will have more potential to get more running done.

3) Mix-it-up

This will be the topic of next week’s blog.  I will be outlining awesome, simple fartlek and interval-style workouts that people can do even if they are completely new to running.  The idea is to mix a bit of running fast with a bit of running slow and to claim back those endorphins that are owed to you!  More about this next week!

4) Eat properly to support your running

This is a critical one.  Be very afraid of the classic:

“I’m a runner now. It doesn’t matter what I eat, it will all get burnt.”

that I mention in one my previous posts.  But at the same time you will need to eat more.  The trick is to eat really healthy stuff and cut out the high fat, high sugar foods.  When you run often, it does change your relationship with food.  You will be hungrier than you have probably ever been, and you will directly suffer from the affects of food and alcohol binges, as they will limit your ability to run.

5) Learn to love running

If you want to lose weight through running and stay thin for the rest of your life… You are going to need to LOVE running! Running is ultimately high impact and requires a tonne of both physical and mental energy. If you find every second  a chore, then there is no way you will sustain it and therefore no way that you will permanently keep the weight off. So you need to learn to love it.  Go on.  I have some tips on ways to love running if you don’t already:

  • Learn to love how you feel after running – You should feel good. Personally, I’m a complete endorphin junkie.  When I’m not running, I get a bit moody and when I’m finally back running, I start grinning away like I’ve just shot up.
  • Get social – Having a crowd of friends that you run with can turn that “Tuesday pain session” into a “Tuesday catch-up and gossip”.  When you run more and more, you can actually get to the stage where you natter and jog for 45 minutes without actually noticing that you are exercising!
  • Listen to some awesome tunes – If I don’t run with people, I always run with music. Suddenly you have your favourite tunes, beautiful scenery, endorphins and weight loss… What is not to like?

6) Give it one month.

Take my points on board.  Try them reasonably aggressively for 1 month. Then think about how you feel, and step on the scales…. Maybe it will change your life. Believe me..  I run 6 days a week, and I feel great every single day.

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One Response to Running solely to lose weight – from zero to “size zero hero” without having to buy too much gear-o.

  1. Chimpu says:

    Awesome post, boy on the run! Your biggest (metaphorically) fan! XXX

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