Have you ever wondered if running for weight loss is possible? Well, good news! Running happens to be one of the most effective methods for losing unwanted pounds.
And you don’t need to be a speedy, front-of-the-pack runner.
In fact, countless studies have shown that running burns more calories than lifting weights, continues to burn calories after you stop running, and even melts more body fat.
In this special resource guide on running for weight loss, you’ll find out how to run to lose weight, why diet and nutrition are critical, and the best ways to fuel for your races that leave you with higher energy and better performances.
Running For Weight Loss
Running for weight loss is a great first step, but you also have to eat right and work on your nutrition. Sounds like common sense, right?
But too many runners think that “if the furnace is hot enough, it will burn anything” and reward themselves with snacks, over-eating at night, and way too much sugar.
I’ve partnered with Anne Mauney MPH, a Registered Dietitian and marathon runner, to help you dial in the best diet and nutrition program for runners. With proper fueling, nutrition planning, and meals that work perfectly for runners, you’ll be on your way to losing weight and running faster in no time.
Start with these articles about diet and nutrition:
- How to Nail Your Nutrition (without counting a single calorie)
- Exposed: 5 Silly Mistakes Runners Make with Their Diets
- Diet for Runners: How to Eat for Endurance and Lose Weight Effortlessly
- The perfect runner’s diet – lessons from a lifetime of obsession
- Fueling for Performance: The Runner’s Breakfast
- Supplements for Runners: What Exactly Do You Need?
If you’re curious how to run for weight loss, optimize your diet, and fuel for your best performance, these articles will help you build a foundation of knowledge to succeed.
After all, knowledge is a competitive advantage.
Will Losing Weight Also Make Me Faster?
Weight loss isn’t just good for your general health (and great for your mental well-being), but it can also help you run faster.
Watch this video, which answers the question How much faster could I run if I lost weight?
We also have several in-depth articles that cover how to run to lose weight:
- Is weight loss possible with running, or just a way to “die tired?”
- How to Lose Weight While Running a Lot (hint: it’s not by dieting)
- The Three Pillars of Exercise After Burn
It’s important for us to stop worrying about DIETING and cutting calories. You won’t accomplish your goals because these strategies don’t work very well for runners.
If you’re training for a race, then you shouldn’t be running for weight loss at the same time. Those are conflicting physiological goals!
Reduced carbohydrate intake or calories, couple with training for a race, will result in a host of problems:
- sluggishness while running
- poor recovery after long runs and hard workouts
- less ability to tolerate higher workloads – resulting in slower race times
- trouble finishing your most challenging workouts
- reduced energy throughout the day, leading to depression and low motivation
So if you don’t want to run poorly and feel terrible, stop dieting, cutting calories, or restricting carbohydrates.
Instead, learn to eat like a runner with this free nutrition course.
Case Studies and Running for Weight Loss Success Stories
The strategies that help runners lose weight are so effective, you need to see them in action. Instead of wondering if running for weight loss is even possible – let me show you.
First, I want you to meet Lydia – a busy mom who lost 80+ pounds with running. Her running used to be inconsistent, she ran 2:35 in the half marathon, and she said her muscles constantly hurt.
She has since transformed her life, running 1:41 in the half marathon while weighing over eighty pounds less. She told me:
I always trusted your advice and it changed my life. My outlook on health and running has dramatically changed.
I know that I will continue to improve with the things you have taught me.
Next, let’s check out two more weight loss success stories – Nick and Michael.
Nick lost 60 pounds and ran nearly 10 minutes faster in the 10k by taking a long-term approach to running and losing weight.
After reading through his story, ask yourself: “What did he do that I can also do? How did he lose weight and what can I learn?”
Michael ran two marathons in one week – without hitting the wall. He figured out how to properly fuel both marathons, and we can show you, too.
And Monte successfully ran his first marathon in 3:51 with focused nutrition and easily meeting his goal weight!
Aaron was frustrated by the lack of credible nutrition and weight loss advice on the web. But after implementing our suggestions, he told us “I hardly ever feel tired and I can run long distances faster and easier.”
Now let’s do something very different: look at the diet of an elite marathoner. Ariana Hilborn has run 2:35 in the marathon and is a professional runner with the Sonoran Distance Project in Arizona.
If you’ve ever wondered how an elite athlete eats, how they structure their fueling (on both workout and easy days), and what specific foods they eat every day, this is for you.
Ariana’s diet strategy is closed mirrored in how Olympians eat. Want more? Check out Sports Illustrated feature Feeding the Olympian. And of course, this is exactly how we recommend you structure YOUR diet!
Vegetarian and vegan runners can also eat healthy and lose weight on their diets. You don’t need to be an omnivore or a Paleo eater.
See how this Boston Qualifying marathoner thrives on a plant-based diet: “How to be a Vegetarian Marathoner”
Here’s yet another interview vegan author and ultramarathoner Matt Frazier:
Running to Lose Weight: Tools, Resources, and Books
Instead of recommending a bunch of wacky supplements, let’s first be clear that the basics work best:
Running for weight loss works. If you’re doubtful, read the above articles.
Proper nutrition is also critical to lose weight. You can’t out-run a terrible diet.
But there are also several products that can help with your weight loss journey:
Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch
This book is foundational and forms the cornerstone of our nutrition philosophy here at Strength Running. Counting calories is unnecessary, you don’t have to “score” your food, and there’s no need to worry about complicated macronutrient ratios or percentages.
Instead, this revolutionary program outlines how to eat for better health, weight loss, and well-being. From the description:
We’ve all been there–angry with ourselves for overeating, for our lack of willpower, for failing at yet another diet. But the problem is not us; it’s that dieting, with its emphasis on rules and regulations, has stopped us from listening to our bodies.
If you want to stop dieting and start living, this book is for you. Here’s some background information as well!
Matt is a friend of mine and I’m even quoted in this book. Even though I eat meat, Matt and I agree more than disagree on diet and what it takes to be a healthy, successful runner. Definitely recommended for any plant-based athletes – especially beginners.
Nutrition Q&A and Myth Busting by Jason Fitzgerald and Anne Mauney, MPH, RD
In this two-part audio podcast, Anne and I discuss your most pressing diet questions (how to avoid over-snacking, fueling post-workout, how to maintain your goal weight, and more).
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan
When it comes to nutrition and diet, I like to keep things as simple as possible. Pollan outlines his philosophy on food and diet in one easy to remember phrase: “Eat food. Mostly Plants. Not too much.” This book is highly recommended if you’re into healthy food and forms the central pillars of my own diet philosophy.
Making a daily green smoothie has changed my life. From higher energy levels throughout the day to enhanced recovery, I can’t recommend them enough for every runner.
Yes, they are expensive. But Blendtec blenders are top of the line and you get what you pay for: lifetime blade warranty, 3-year motor warranty, and enough power to blend ice, nuts, and almost anything else you can think of.
In this free email course, Jason and Anne walk you through:
- How to plan a running program for weight loss
- What mistakes to avoid for running-specific nutrition
- Inspiring case studies of other runners just like you
- Our Dietitian-approved grocery shopping list!
Get it here – it’s free!
Nutrition and Weight Loss Podcasts
The Strength Running Podcast has featured numerous dietitians, authors, and other diet experts to help you reach your goals.
Episode 87 deals directly with supplements and whether they’re right for runners:
Annyck Besso is a Registered Dietitian who works with athletes with eating disorders:
Nichola Ludlam Raine is another RD who specializes in breaking down the latest science of nutrition, weight loss, and fad diets:
Personally, I also use plant-based “forcing functions” to improve my own diet. You can learn more about those here:
Heather Caplan, RD, also sheds light on veganism, “superfoods,” and fasting:
We have many more episodes concerning the topic of nutrition, running for weight loss, and diet on the Strength Running Podcast.
What Does Running for Weight Loss Mean to You?
Imagine waking up in the morning and being proud of what you see in the mirror. And during every run, you feel strong, powerful, and full of energy.
Your recovery is fast and you feel both physically and mentally ready for your next workout.
Sound like a pipe dream? I don’t think so. That’s my goal for you – to be at your healthy weight, to fuel right for all of your runs, and to feel great and perform at your best.
To help you on this journey, I’ve partnered with a Registered Dietitian to create a free course on nutrition and weight loss for runners. Her name is Anne Mauney, MPH and she owns her own private practice in Washington, DC, and has worked extensively with endurance athletes.
You can sign up here to get your first lesson. We’ve included many resources in the course:
- Private podcast episode where Anne and I talk about your top diet and weight loss questions
- Example recipes (my favorite: Chocolate Cherry Espresso Smoothie!)
- The mistakes to avoid when you’re trying to run for weight loss goals
- A lot more
Sign Up Now For Your Free Diet & Weight Loss Course
Get started here – your first lesson will be on its way in just a few minutes.