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You're an intermediate runner if...you've run consistently for more than a year or you log 20 to 25 miles a week and run up to six miles at a stretch. Even if you have run a 10K or maybe run-walked a half-marathon, this is the plan for you.
Yo-yo dieter Julissa Sarabia, 28, struggled with her weight most of her life. After a coworker talked Julissa into doing a 5K road race three years ago, she fell in love with the feeling of crossing a finish line. "I never knew how to stick to a workout long enough to see results," she says. "But with running I found that I really enjoyed being active." After completing a few more short races, Julissa -- five foot five and, at the time, 200 pounds -- wanted to do a half-marathon and slim down along the way.
Push your limits
Doubling the distance of her longest race also meant doubling the length of training runs for Julissa. "Increasing the effort level of your run will help you burn more calories in the same amount of time," says Kislevitz, who designed the Run to a Better You intermediate plan to gradually ramp up weekly mileage. Likewise, Julissa ran each mile five to 10 seconds faster than she used to.
Do the math
Despite being a steady runner, Julissa hadn't managed to lose much weight before training for this half. Figuring out how to eat was the tricky part: How much do you scale back on calories without sapping your exercise energy? The formula is to cut 500 calories a day -- by eating less and exercising more -- in order to lose a pound a week. For every mile you run you burn about 100 calories, Stoler explains. "Don't rely on exercise alone to lose weight," she says, because no amount of mileage can undo supersize meals.
Divvy a dish
"Writing down everything I ate in a food journal helped me see that I was going overboard on such carbs as bagels and crackers, because I thought I needed all this extra energy," Julissa says. Instead, Stoler designed a diet plan for Julissa that had her fill half her plate with fruits and vegetables, like broccoli, berries, or salad; a quarter with a healthy carb, such as a sweet potato or whole-grain quinoa; and a quarter with a small portion of lean protein, like grilled chicken or salmon. Based on her goal weight of 180 pounds, Julissa ate 1,800 calories a day and added 100 to 200 calories a day when her weekly mileage totaled 25 miles or more.
Beat postrun munchies
Be aware that as you run more, your appetite grows, too, Kislevitz says: "A six-mile run may burn 600 calories; eat one cheeseburger and you're back to square one." For Julissa, an event manager, the hardest part was avoiding party food. "I drank zero-calorie flavored water whenever I felt tempted and chose an appetizer as my meal, because it's a better portion size," she says.
|Weight||200 lb||179 lb|
She did it!
Julissa's race time: 2:21:45 (10:49-minute-mile pace)
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2012.