If you’re running to get rid of some fat, you’re ready to go as long as you can do up your laces. “For the first six weeks, all you need to do is run,” says sports scientist and coach Ian Mellis “As a new runner, exercise floods your body with adrenaline, stimulating the release of fat from your cells, which is broken down by running.”
In other words, it’s the beginning of the end for your unseemly excess fat, wherever it is. But this golden period won’t last for ever. “Your body soon gets used to this level of stimulus,” says Mellis. “So this is when you can start doing intervals and tempo runs to continue the process.”
Done the crime? Do the time
Understanding how much running it takes to undo your dietary sins is crucial. Based on a 12st beginner running at 10min/mile, burning 730kcal/hour, here’s how long you need to spend pounding pavements to burn off a…
Small Milky Way (122kcal): 10 mins
Can of Stella Artois (243kcal): 20 mins
Burger King Caesar Chicken Wrap (365kcal): 30 mins
McDonald’s Big Mac (487kcal): 40 mins
Pret A Manger all-day breakfast
sandwich (608kcal): 50 mins
Pizza Express Quattro Formaggio (730kcal): 60 mins
Pass the plateau
As you become fitter, your body will need new stimuli to continue its fat-burning evolution. “Intervals take your body into the upper echelons of its capacity and increase the amount of oxygen you use to perform and recover, resulting in more calories burned,” says Mellis. Post-exercise, intervals really come into their own: the intensity means your body needs more oxygen than normal to return it to its pre-exercise state. For every litre of oxygen consumed you burn five calories; this post-exercise oxygen consumption elevates your calorie-burning for up to 48 hours.
“Beginners should run at 80 per cent of maximum effort for one minute, then jog for 30 seconds. Repeat this 20 times and you’ll inhale eight litres more oxygen than if you ran for the same time at a steady pace,” says Mellis.