If your sole purpose for running is to lose weight, but you're not seeing the results you're after from all your hard work, that old saying, "Change or remain the same," totally comes into play here. Mix things up by including these four types of runs in your weekly schedule and you're sure to notice a difference.
- Hill repeats: For this quick but intense 20-minute workout, find a hill that takes about 60 to 90 seconds to run up (about 1/8 of a mile). Run up the hill, then run back down, and repeat six to eight times, depending on the length and steepness of the hill. You can do this workout on a treadmill, but you might find it mentally easier to do outside since conquering an actual hill is really satisfying.
- Sprinting intervals: For this 30-minute workout, you'll need to keep an eye on the clock. Run two minutes at a moderate pace (9- or 10-minute miles), then sprint for one minute at a fast pace (7- or 8-minute miles). Repeat this three-minute cycle 10 times. If this seems too hard and you need more time to recover between sprinting intervals, start off with this 45-minute walk-run-sprint workout instead.
- Fast runs: Running at a faster pace burns more calories, and the only way to prevent feeling like you're about to collapse from pain and exhaustion is to practice running at a faster pace. If your usual pace is 9:30-minute miles, no need to jump to 7:30-minute miles. Go fast enough so that you feel like you're pushing your comfort level, but are able to maintain it for three miles. This could mean going at a pace that's 10 seconds faster. Start off small, and as your endurance builds, you can increase your speed.
- Long runs: Running longer also translates to more calories burned. So for this run, slow down your pace and go about two or three miles longer than normal (about 20 to 30 minutes extra). You'll be amazed at how quickly you'll build up endurance from just one longer run a week.
Along with these four different types of runs, be sure that at least one of them is on a different surface than you're used to. If you always run on the sidewalk, hit up some dirt or woodsy trails. If the treadmill is your go-to surface, get outside and run on a track or on a sandy beach. Different surfaces and routes will challenge your muscles in new ways, making them work harder so you get stronger and burn more calories.