It can be frustrating to make the effort to hit the treadmill or brave the cold for a run several days a week but not see your waistline shrink. If you are one of the many people running to lose weight but look in the mirror and see no results, there are a few things you could be doing wrong. Runner's World's new book "Run To Lose" is a complete guide on how to see results. Here are some of the highlights:
Mistake one: Eating the wrong kind of carbs
Athletes are often advised to "carb up" before a big game or long run, so it's natural for people who run a lot to believe they have a free pass to carb-loading as much as they want — after all, it's fuel. "Run to Lose" writers Jennifer Van Allen and nutritionist Pamela Nisevich Bede do say that 55 to 65 percent of a runner's diet should come from carbs, but the carbs should be high quality. Bagels, doughnuts and pizza have plenty of carbs, but not the good kind. High quality carbs are foods like whole wheat, wild rice, quinoa, oats, beans and starchy vegetables. Those are the foods runners should fuel up on.
Mistake two: Not switching things up
When you first start running, you totally feel the effects of your efforts the next day. But as seasoned runners know, after a while the body adapts. A three-mile run may have made your legs sore at first, but then it becomes routine. Allen and Bede say many runners make the mistake of simply tacking on extra time to their run — jogging for 45 minutes instead of 30, for example. They say the key is to run smarter, not longer, by upping the intensity with speed and incline level. They also say that studies have shown that 45 minutes of vigorous exercise (on a scale of 1 to 10, it's defined as a 7) raises the calorie burn for 14 hours after you stop exercising, so keep that in mind as well.
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Mistake three: Not drinking enough water
Sure, you're plenty thirsty after a run, but it's important to remember to drink up all day long. Allen and Bede say the goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces a day. So if you are 160 pounds, you should drink 80 ounces of water a day. If you don't drink enough water, you won't be able to run as hard and fast, so you won't be getting as much out of your workout as you would otherwise.