Why Running Didn’t Help Me Lose Weight?

Does running help lose weight? No, it didn’t for me. Why? I will tell you but let me give you a brief history.

When I started running marathons two years back, I thought I should be losing weight but I didn’t. I was surprised like hell as I was running a lot.

After Hyderabad Marathon 2012

After Hyderabad Marathon 2012

Then next year when I prepared for a half marathon, I was conscious about losing weight. But the inset shows otherwise.

It got me into thinking as to what I was doing wrong. Running, it is said to help lose weight right? I googled ‘running to lose weight’ and I was bombarded with tons of articles on how running actually helps to increase weight. I was like really!

Since 1st January this year, I developed this problem of fissures and I lost 5 kgs in a month(I have now lost 7 kgs in one and half month) just by eating clean and green and not exercising much(read no running but walking everyday for 30-45 minutes).

After losing 5 kgs in a month

After losing 5 kgs in a month

 Why running should help you lose weight?

Running is both an aerobic as well as an anaerobic sport. Long distance running is aerobic and sprints or interval running is anaerobic. Have you seen the physique of elite marathon runners and sprinters?

Long distance runner

Long distance runner



Sprinters have muscular body with very low fat percentage and distance runners have less muscle tone and slightly built.

Sprinters burn sugar during the intense interval sessions and burn fat up to 16-48 hours after the workout.

Whereas long distance runners don’t have an after workout burn effect. They derive energy mostly from muscles hence, less muscle tone.

Sprinters lose fat fast and increase muscle mass. While it is the opposite for long distance runners.

Also, sprinters have a higher metabolism rate and put on weight slowly. Whereas long distance runners have low metabolism rate and put on weight quickly during off season.

So, all in all running does help losing weight but then why do I get responses on the google and same with me that whenever I am increasing the mileage I am putting on weight. Why do elite long distance runners stay skinny? I guess now after a lot of research I have come to realise my mistakes.

Mistake No 1 : Hogging after running

I used to pig out after my runs. I used to eat anything I could lay my hands on. According to calculators available online, for a guy like me of 80 kgs running for a hour at 6 minute pace, would burn approximately 700-800 calories. That’s it! I was eating cookies, tons of almonds(excess of this good stuff can lead to increase in weight) and many other calorie loaded junk food and gaining more than what I was burning on my runs.

Mistake No 2 : No change in routine

Humans are creatures of habit. I realised that I was running all my workouts at a constant pace. I was hardly doing any interval session or fartleks. I guess that’s why a training partner is required to kick your butt. I did very few weight training sessions. My training program sucked. Mixing up aerobic running with anaerobic running kicks up the metabolism, increases running efficiency and prevents injuries.

Mistake No 3 : No cross training

I want a bicycle badly. I want it so that I can do some cross training. Swimming, skiing and other sports are not an option at the place I stay. Bicycle would have been perfect but due to some personal reasons I couldn’t get one. Cross training helps prevent injuries by not taxing the muscles used for running and strengthening the supporting muscles.

Mistake No 4 : Not sleeping enough

I was sleeping less than I should have been when I was preparing for 2012 marathon. I was getting up tired most of the mornings. According to Mike Bracko, sleep deprivation decreases levels of satiety promoting hormone and increases levels of appetite promoting hormone. For an athlete to perform optimally and reduce weight, a continuous sleep of 7-9 hours, maybe more is required.

Mistake No 5 : Not eating like elites

Portion control was not part of my habits. Each meal was becoming a feast as I was being constantly hungry because of running. Also I was not eating a healthy diet like what athletes should eat. There was hardly any fibre. I was pigging out a lot at Mc Donalds and KFC. There was very less veggies on my plate. In between meals, I was eating rubbish.

After this introspection while writing the post, I have come to realise what a fool I was. Now that I am down with fissures the realisation has come about healthy eating.

Running does help lose weight provided you don’t make the mistakes like I made. Though even if you don’t lose weight by running long distances, it still helps your body like –

  • It free your mind from clutter and allows you to focus on the task at hand. It is like meditating on the run.
  • It strengthens the cardiovascular system. I had my resting heart rate hovering at around 40.
  • It increases endurance and body’s ability to withstand stress.

At the end, I will say all those people who say that running doesn’t help lose weight are all buffons. It is just that they are doing it wrong, like me. Do it right and enjoy a leaner and stronger body.

Tell me your experiences with weight loss by running in the comments box.

Till then stay fit and keep running.


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014-2017 Neel banerjee

Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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  1. Hi Neel, Interesting read! I am actually an elite athlete, and I can attest to many of your tips that they are in fact true. Even as an elite athlete, I have to watch how much I eat after my workouts. I need to get enough fuel for my body to recover, and I am only human so I do enjoy desserts and things that are bad for me, but there is a limit. I try to eat healthy most of the time. My blog has lots of recipes that I enjoy to fuel my running. Hopefully they can help you too!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Tina, glad you liked the post and thank you for commenting. You are right about portion control and yes, as humans we do enjoy the foods that are not good for us but we are born only once to enjoy it to the fullest.
      I checked out your blog and found to be full of useful resources. Just the thing I needed badly. Thanks for sharing.

      Post a Reply
  2. I wish I could just show someone this post every time I get asked this question! Also, I’ve seen so many people start running with the whole motivation being to lose weight. Inevitably they quit.

    I’ve only just found your blog and I’ll be sure to follow in future!
    Medal Hangers recently posted…Top Australian Running Medal HoldersMy Profile

    Post a Reply
    • Hey there, glad that you attest with what I said. The name of the game is patience and not running. Thanks for dropping by though.

      Post a Reply
  3. Running actually helps you eliminate fats, and not necessarily weight because the muscles you develop still make for added weight, thus making you wonder why you haven’t lost weight.

    One great indication is when you feel lighter by yourself, even when your weight still remains the same. It means your body can simple handle your weight because of your added strength as well.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Richard, welcome to my blog. You are right in saying that running may make you stronger to carry on without losing weight but to lose excess lard off the body, anaerobic and weight training is required.
      Thanks for stopping by though and commenting.

      Post a Reply
  4. Bulk up your meals with veggies. You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries, omelets, and other veggie-friendly dishes. If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains.

    Throw out your “fat” clothes for good. Once you’ve started losing weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to stay fit.
    Lavelle recently posted…Running for weight lossMy Profile

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    • Hey Lavelle, welcome to my blog. Thanks for the comment with such useful insight. It is definitely a sane thing to maintain the ratio between grains and veggies to avoid taking in unwanted calories. Thanks for pitching in.

      Post a Reply
  5. To my experience ,I can say that losing weight doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of training and restriction on your food plan,you need first to have a psychological determination to do it,and believe in your ability to achieve it ,if you have this psychological power inside you ,it will be easy for you to exercise two hours a week and eat healthy food in a moderate way to achieve your potential weight.

    Post a Reply
    • Truly brought out. Mental vision of your lighter self will definitely help one in future endeavors to lose weight. All the actions thereon will lead to the successful achievement of the weight loss goal.

      Thanks for giving the input.

      Post a Reply
  6. Hey, great share….

    I have been trying hard to lose my weight from quite a long time but all my efforts are going in vain as I always end up eating whatever I find in my kitchen after coming from a jog.

    I am going to keep all the tips in my mind. I hope this will help me out to lose weight.

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips.
    Sylvia recently posted…14 Vital Health Benefits Of Aloe Vera JuiceMy Profile

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    • Hey Sylvia, at the outset, welcome to my blog. Glad that you liked the post. Try to get in as much fruits and veggies, it will surely help you in losing that stubborn fat. All the best.

      Post a Reply
  7. Hi Neel, mistake number 5 is the most important for me. It takes time and effort to change your old habits and start thinking about what you put in your body. Great post!
    Tim Johnson recently posted…5-HTP for Weight Loss: Benefits & ReviewMy Profile

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    • Hey Tim, welcome to my blog. Thanks for appreciating. Take care and happy running.

      Post a Reply
  8. Truly brought out. Mental vision of your lighter self will definitely help one in future endeavors to lose weight. All the actions thereon will lead to the successful achievement of the weight loss goal.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey there, welcome to my blog. Visualisation is the key.

      Post a Reply
  9. Amazing article, The first rule of exercising for weight loss is that don’t enjoy it, you won’t stick with it. So you can get better results. Proper diet plan and workout make the weight loss process easier.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Adam, welcome to my blog. Thanks for appreciating the work. Yup, rightly brought out. If you don’t enjoy the process, then you won’t stick to it.

      Post a Reply
  10. You’re looking great, buddy! The first step is recognizing what you can do better, and then creating actionable steps to fix those problems. For me, the weight really started coming off after I began measuring everything I ate. Six small meals per day seemed the do the trick. When I combined that with 80 – 100 oz of water per day (and the occasional coffee that I can’t live without), I noticed a steady 2-3.5 pounds of weight loss every week. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks Marcus for the visit to my blog. Glad that you liked my work. Yeah, logging the food and small regular meals keeps the fat burning engine on the go.

      Post a Reply
    • Hello Eshrat, welcome to my blog. Glad that you liked the post. No I don’t have a plan as such but I try and eat clean as much as possible. It means no junk food and eating as many fruits and vegetables throughout the day. I recently turned vegan and it seems to be helping me in my athletic performance.
      One more thing I do is to log my food. I use an app called Healthyfi Me. It has an inventory of Indian foods so it’s super helpful to track the calories.
      If you need any more detailed advice, do email me. Take care.

      Post a Reply


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