2. Strength Training
A quick start is also a good time to make a greater commitment to strength training than you do at any other time. I recommend three full-body strength workouts per week at this time. This will help you lose weight by adding muscle mass to your frame and thereby increasing your metabolism, so you burn more fat at rest. Building strength during a quick start will also help you run better and stay injury free during the subsequent race training process.
You won't have as much time and energy to lift weights within the training process, when you're running a lot more.
3. Increased Protein Intake
I recommend that runners aim to get roughly 30 percent of their daily calories from protein during a quick start. There are two reasons for this recommendation.
First, high-protein diets are more filling than moderate- and low-protein diets. So increasing your protein intake during a quick start will help you maintain your daily calorie deficit without hunger. Second, increased protein intake will help you build muscle through strength training.
Within the training cycle your protein intake needs to be lower to make room for increased consumption of carbohydrate, your most important endurance fuel.
4. Sprint Intervals
A quick start is not the time for high-volume endurance training. That should wait until you're within the race-focused training process. High-volume endurance training promotes fat loss. So if you're not going to do it during a quick start, you have to promote fat loss through training in other ways.
As we've seen, strength training is one way. Another is sprint interval workouts. Training sessions consisting of large numbers of very short (10-30 seconds) sprints are proven to promote significant fat loss, especially between workouts. They also develop power that will help you get off to a good start when you move into race-focused training.
This is not a type of training that you can do much of within the race-focused training period, when more race-specific types of workouts must be prioritized.
5. Fasting Workouts
A fasting workout is a long, easy run undertaken in a glycogen-deprived state. This means you don't eat before you start and you don't take in any carbs along the way. This forces your body to rely on fat to fuel the workout, making it a great fat-burning session.
I advise runners to perform one fasting workout per week during a quick start. Later, when you're actively training toward a race, you should consume carbs before and during most of your long runs to maximize your performance in those workouts.
Matt Fitzgerald's latest book is Racing Weight Quick Start Guide: A 4-Week Weight-Loss Plan for Endurance Athletes.
Active Expert Matt Fitzgerald is the author of several books on triathlon and running, including RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel (VeloPress, 2010), Runner's World Performance Nutrition for Runners (Rodale, 2005) and Brain Training for Runners.