I started running last year at a fairly advanced age (58) to shock my body into lose weight. In the past I did a lot of yo-yo dieting along with some sporadic exercising. Amazingly I have lost 55 lbs and four pant sizes since I started running. To be honest, I really don't enjoy running, but I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a run, so I've kept it up. I run 2.5 to 3.2 miles, three days a week. Now that I've reached my goal weight, how much running would you suggest to maintain my weight and new-found fitness? I also recently started walking 1.2-1.3 miles. including a 70 step staircase in my neighborhood 5 - 6 days a week which I take my dog along and we really enjoy it.
Thank you for your help!
First of all, congratulations on your running and your weight loss, although being 57 myself, I would classify you as a late-onset rookie, rather than being someone who started at a “fairly advanced age.”
There are no hard and fast rules to maintain weight because so many things can affect it. Clearly you are getting results with your current routine. While you love the feeling of accomplishment when you run, you also mention that you “really hate it”. That is not an uncommon sentiment, but it also sounds like you are not looking to add on a whole lot more running into your routine.
Having achieved dramatic results already, your goal of maintenance is a wise one. Consistency is what produced the best results, so that should be your main goal. The good news: It is much easier to maintain fitness once you have achieved it. You are already doing a great job-especially by adding in those low impact walks to supplement your running, as well as varying things up with a 70-step staircase and spending quality time with your dog. So unless you have a specific goal to do a longer race, you may not need to add anything more running to your routine.
It is important to stay motivated. If you feel your training is getting boring, you could add in some short “pick-ups” during one of your shorter runs. In a pick-up you slightly speed up your pace a bit for 30 seconds, then back off to your regular pace for a minute. Start with 3 of those pick-ups on one of your weekly runs, and add one more each week. Be sure to start and end the workout with 5-10 minutes of easy running.
If you would like to burn more calories you might choose to convert one of your days to a longer run, by adding 10% more time each week. So if it takes you 35 minutes to go three miles, then add about 3.5 minutes more to that run the next week, and so on. Every 4th week, cut back by about 20% of the total time. The 5th week start where you left off at week 3. You decide when enough is enough-you don’t have to increase it infinitely. A good goal may be 4-5 miles for you.
You also might also look into improving your running form, which can help you enjoy running a bit more. Fleet Feet Sports hosts Good Form Running Clinics that can assist you, (look on our website for upcoming events), or simply go to goodformrunning.com to learn all about it.
Finally, as you know, the healthier you eat, the better you will feel and the easier it will be to maintain your weight. With the upcoming holidays, if you anticipate larger meals; that might be the ideal time to add time to your workouts. At the very least, your dog will love you for it!