Running is an easy and cheap way to stay active. But, rather than just heading out the door and winging your run, try one of these workouts to blast more calories. (Before you head out, see if you're ready to run with these 5 Tests of Your Overall Fitness.)
The longer your run, the more calories you burn. If you're not in the habit of doing a long run, add one to your routine every other week. "For beginners, a sensible way to build up is to add five minutes at a time," says Runner's World coach Budd Coates. But build up slowly, so your total weekly mileage doesn't jump by more than 10 percent in a single week.
Why Gym Classes Work So Well
Speedwork is a great calorie burner, since you can cover more distance in the same period of time, says Coates. Run for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace. Then alternate running hard for one minute and easy for one minute, five times (or 10 minutes total). Over time add more hard minutes, or increase the hard running to two minutes with one-minute jogs in between.
Running takes more effort, which means it burns more calories. Scope out routes with three or four noticeable hills, and run them once a week. Or try hills on the treadmill: After every five minutes of flat running, do a two-minute hill at three-percent incline. As you increase your fitness, increase the incline or the duration of the hill.
Make Inclines More Fun
Start the next part of your routine, such as your core exercises or strength training, immediately after you're done running. (No stopping for a 15-minute chat with a buddy and letting your heart rate return to normal.) By doubling up, "you're extending the period of time that you're highly active," Coates says. And the calories tick off faster.
Runner's World Debate: Can You Be Fit and Fat?
TELL US: How often do you use running as the focal point of your workout?
By Sarah Lorge Butler, Runner's World
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