Getting back into shape after the Christmas and New Year excesses can be tough, so it is important to have a plan to achieve this. Following a running plan is a great way to lose weight as well as leading to increased fitness, strength and endurance.

Throwing yourself into a running plan is relatively easy to do as you don’t need any equipment, you just pop on your trainers and you’re pretty much ready to go! This can be helpful at the start of the New Year when things can be a bit hectic.

This particular running plan is devised to give you three different running sessions to follow. Combining all of or some of these sessions will kick start you to achieve the goal of losing weight.

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Also check out How to start running regularly

Session 1 of the running plan involves doing speed intervals.

The session is structured so that you are working at different intensities during your run. The intervals can be structured or random. A structured session with this running plan for a beginner would be to set a stopwatch or timer for intervals of 1 minute and 2 minutes.

During the 1 minute interval you would run at a challenging pace that you can sustain for the entire time, then walk for 2 minutes to recover then repeating these intervals 4 further times.

A random format for an intermediate/advanced runner would take the form of Fartlek (speed play) training. This can involve using things you come across on your run. For example, running at a steady pace until you see a red car, then increasing the pace until to get to the next lamp post followed by walking to the next bus stop.

Use your imagination to vary the intervals as much as you can. This type of session can be done for 15-20 minutes and gets you used to working at different intensities.

Session 2 of the running plan involves hill running.

Find a hill run which will take no longer than 2 minutes to run up. Your recovery is to walk back down.

Start with 3-5 reps add a rep every 2 weeks until 10 reps. Whilst running focus on the top of the hill rather than looking at the ground, this keeps your chest up making it easier to breathe and helps maintain form.

As an alternative, a treadmill can be used to replicate a hill. Adjust the incline of the treadmill to 6-8%, then run for up to 2 minutes then walk for 3 minutes at 1% incline to recover.

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Session 3 of the running plan focuses on endurance, meaning that you will do a steady pace continued run.

Beginners should aim for 10-20 minutes and intermediates/advanced should aim for 20+ minutes of running. Your time spent running should be increased by no more than 10% each week to avoid injury. The longer the run the more calories will be burnt, which in turn can aid weight loss.

Your running plan should incorporate a good dynamic warm up to prepare your body for your running session. This can include exercises such as hip bridges, squats, lunges to get your muscles prepared.

Ensure you stretch after your running sessions, in particular the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals. When starting a running plan, begin gently. It is easy to feel that you need to push hard from the beginning to achieve weight loss. Starting gently and gradually increasing your time or intensity will ensure safe and effective weight loss throughout your running plan.

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