Whether you want to lose weight, improve your cardio or even strengthen your bones, running is here for you. The tried-and-true activity is one of the best exercises you can do, and it’s easy to get started. But once you’ve hit your stride, you may want to challenge yourself with a more intense workouts or attempt to burn more calories with each mile.
To help you get the most out of each workout, Nicole Gainacopulos, coach and founder of Momentum of Milwaukee, shares five tips for burning more calories on your runs.
“Adding in some high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or adding variety to your workout, can potentially increase the calorie burn,” says Gainacopulos. Even more important, the added benefits of high-intensity training can help your metabolism over longer periods of time when compared to just doing steady-state cardio. “Overall, your workout will be more effective for long-term benefits,” she adds. Here’s an example of how to incorporate HIIT into your running.
Pick a distance, any distance, you’d normally run. Do your typical warmup, then add 30 seconds of fast running followed by 30 seconds of slower running.
For example: If you usually run for 20 minutes, Gainacopulos suggests trying this workout:
- Run for 5 minutes at an easy pace to get your body warm.
- Perform 30 seconds on/off for 10 minutes, where you alternate fast and slow.
- Cool down for 5 minutes at an easy effort.
Those short bursts of fast running help you burn more calories over the same duration of your usual run.
ADD HILL REPEATS
Nothing spikes your heart rate like sprinting up a hill. If you want to burn more calories on your run, Gainacopulos suggests finding a route with a hill, and running up and down it as many times as you can in 10 minutes. If you’re running on a treadmill, no problem, you can still get the same workout by boosting the incline.
SUPPLEMENT WITH BODYWEIGHT CIRCUITS
Bodyweight exercise is a type of strength-training that can help you burn more calories in the long term, says Gainacopulos, because the body continues to burn calories even after you’ve completed the exercise.
If you want to infuse your run with some bodyweight work, try a simple circuit like the following:
- Run 5 minutes at an easy pace.
- Then stop where you are and perform 3 sets of burpees, squats and pushups for 15 reps each.
- Repeat this for 30 minutes or change the bodyweight exercises between each set to accommodate your favorite moves.
Another great option is to do as the Swedes do by incorporating “fartleks” training into your runs. The word simply means “speed play,” and involves adding bursts of speed to your run. Gainacopulos likes the following style of workout on a 3–5-mile run.
“Use the first mile as a warmup and the last mile as a cool down at an easy pace,” she says. “Then complete 10 bursts during the middle miles. Use light poles, garbage cans, driveways, etc. as markers for where to start and stop your fartlek burst.” This style of training is purposely unstructured and meant to be fun, she adds. “Take the stress away from times, paces and distances, and just listen to your body and see where it takes you.”
ADD SPEED WORKOUTS
Once you are comfortable running 2 miles at an easy pace, Gainacopulos suggests adding speed work to your regular regimen, as it’s a great way to burn more calories and add more intensity to your training.
To get started, try running one warmup mile at an easy pace. Then complete three sets of 400 meters at a moderate-to-hard intensity, resting for a couple of minutes between reps. After you’re done, you’ll have run 1 3/4 miles — so, less than your usual 2 miles — but you’ll have challenged your body in a different way. That’s how you improve, and it’s yet another effective method for burning more calories on your runs.
Whether you want to run your first mile or set a PR, having a plan gets you there faster. Go to the MapMyRun app, tap “Training Plans” and set your next goal — you’ll get a schedule and coaching tips to help you crush it.