Did you know that the more you run, the less calories you burn? Of course, you’re going to burn more calories if you run 6 miles versus 2, but per mile, it’s a different story. Running is an incredible workout, and can certainly help you burn tons of calories and lose weight, but the more miles you run, the more efficient your body becomes at running…and that means you’re burning fewer calories.
In other words, you’ll hit a plateau, and have to keep running further and faster to get the same results. The best thing you can do for your runs is to add intervals – short bursts of intense exercise followed by a recovery period. Instead of running at the same pace, for the same distance, you need to switch it up and get off of cruise control! That means jog for 2 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, and repeat. Or crank up the incline every 3 minutes if you’re running on a treadmill. Your body has to work harder to get through those intense bursts, burning more calories during the workout, and additional calories even after your sweat session.
Thats right, interval training helps you continue to burn calories long after your workout is over. A study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that women who ran intervals (running hard for two minutes followed by three minutes at a low intensity) burned more calories in the 24 hours following their workouts than those who did slow, steady mileage. AND they lost 4 percent of their body fat in the weeks that followed, while the continuous-pace group didn’t lose any.
Just remember to mix it up – you’re body will get used to the same intervals over time, too. Try longer intervals one day (1-2 minutes of hard running) and short intervals (30 seconds of sprinting) another day, or switch it up with the incline!