Thursday, January 20, 2011

Running for weight loss

January is a great month for veteran runners and just-getting-started runners alike. For the new runners, its just getting the established practice of running in a consistent manner. For the vets, its a chance to back off speed, endurance, and just let the body heal while getting ready for the upcoming year/season.

For both, this is a good time to start burning through the fat in our bodies. Nature has a way of adding pounds during the winter season. A lot of people believe its because of Christmas and the Holidays. Its probably true that all of the down time mixed with parties probably adds a few pounds. But I'm of the belief, that nature adds fat to the body during this season to insulate it from the cold during these months. Of course, that's probably imbedded in my mind because of the fact that I live in Minnesota.

One misconception that is repeated time and time again, is that you can only lose weight quickly if you run at less than 70% of your maximum heart rate. I believe that health club consultants are just trying to help new runners by repeating this misconception. But the truth is, you can lose weight at the 70-85% level, just as quickly. It's simple science.

Let's say you are a 200 lb. man that runs 3 miles a day. If you run a 10 minute mile, you will burn 12 calories a minute, 67% of those of which will be fat. If you run a 8 minute mile, [again staying in the 70-85% zone] you will burn 16 calories, but only 50% will be fat [the remaining calories being burned are carbohydrates in the blood]. Either way, you will be burning 8 calories of fat. One run will take you 30 minutes to complete, the other 24 minutes. Both runs burn the same amount of total calories and fat calories. So if you are looking at efficient running, the second option [running an 8 minute mile] would be the way to go.

I'm not advocating that you do all of your runs at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate, in fact, that would get you injured sooner or later. What I am advocating is that you don't fear incorporating a tempo of faster workout in your training because you were told those workouts don't burn fat [or that they don't burn as much fat].

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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