How to Burn More Calories on Your Run

Quickies

Find a flat section of road, or hit the track or treadmill, and speed up to a hard but sustainable effort (really huffing and puffing) for 15 seconds. Jog or walk to recover for 60 seconds. Repeat six times.

Beginner: Build up to 10 intervals over eight weeks.
Seasoned runner: Build up to 12.

Short Repeats

Find a flat section of road, or hit the track or treadmill, and speed up to a hard but sustainable effort for 30 seconds. Jog or walk to recover for 60 seconds. Repeat four times.

Beginner: Build up to 10 intervals over eight weeks.
Seasoned runner: Build up to 12.

Long Repeats

Beginner: Run a quarter of a mile (equal to one loop of a track) on flat or rolling terrain at a hard but sustainable effort, and recover by jogging or walking for two minutes. Repeat four times, building up to eight.
Seasoned runner: Change the distance to half a mile (two loops of a track).

Toned and Tranquil

To mellow out, you may want to lace up your running sneaks. According to research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, running—and other forms of endurance exercise, including cycling—ups the concentration of calming compounds called endocannabinoids in your brain, inducing that blissful postexercise calm. And the reverse is true too: A mellow mind can lead to a fitter body. "When you're stressed, your muscles are more tense. Because they're working to hold that tension, they're less able to do their job in terms of your workout," says Jason Karp, Ph.D., a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. "If your mind is calm—but alert enough to focus—you'll get more out of your routine."

Head for the Hills

Like many things that are good for you, hills aren't particularly appetizing. But the extra effort it takes to trudge up them is worth it: For each degree of incline, count on at least a 10 percent increase in calories burned, according to Jana Klauer, M.D., a nutrition and metabolism expert and research fellow at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. So running up a 5 percent grade (a gentle hill) will burn 50 percent more calories than running on a totally flat surface for the same amount of time.

"You work harder when going uphill because you're moving forward and up at the same time," says Marcus Kilpatrick, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise physiology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Plus, hills recruit more muscles than flats do. The end result is increased calorie burn, a leaner body, and a perkier butt. Kastor recommends doing the following hill workout once a week:

Find a gentle hill or set your treadmill to a 5 percent incline.

Run up the hill at a hard but sustainable effort for 10 seconds. Jog or walk back to where you started, or reset the incline to zero, until you completely catch your breath (it should take about 45 to 60 seconds).

Beginner: Repeat four to eight times.
Seasoned runner: Repeat six to 10 times.


Strengthen Your Stride

If they gave best supporting actress awards for weight loss, strength training would take home the trophy every time. Think about it this way: Strength training makes you stronger from head to toe, so you can run harder every time you pound the pavement. A review of studies in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who did resistance-training exercises two or three days a week, in addition to their weekly cardio regimens, increased their leg strength and enhanced their endurance—two things that contribute to weight loss.

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