3 Ways to Burn Fat Effectively While Running

Wouldn't it be great if every runner were at his or her ideal weight? We'd all look and feel better, and race faster.

Being at your healthy, ideal weight would certainly make you a faster runner. In fact, a study completed in 2007 found that for every percentage increase in body mass, it cost study participants an extra 1.4 percent in metabolic energy to propel themselves forward. Of course, that's not a direct comparison for runners since they weren't running a race, time trial or other maximum effort.

But imagine how much better you'd feel training for a marathon if you could conserve 1.4 percent (or more) energy? You'd be able to use that energy in the final miles instead of hitting the infamous wall.

More: How to Lose Weight While Training for a Marathon

Finding and safely getting to your ideal weight should then be a top goal for every runner. Here are three of the best ways to structure your running program to burn fat and lose weight.

More: Will I Run Faster If I Lose Weight?

Fat Burner #1: Longer Workouts

It's a no-brainer that longer workouts burn more calories. But interestingly enough, when you run for longer than about 90 minutes, you improve your body's ability to use fat as fuel.

The lesson? Complete a long run every week. Since these workouts are more taxing on the body, it's a good idea to only run one every week.

Several studies have shown that the longer a subject exercised, the longer it took for their metabolic rate to return to pre-exercise levels. Even at relatively moderate exercise durations, the benefit is significant. Another study found that this "exercise after-burn" is more than doubled when exercise is increased from 30 to 45 minutes. And after 60 minutes? Metabolic rate increased by a factor of five!

More: The Afterburn Principles of Exercise

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