How Quick Should You Lose Weight with Running?

Everybody wants great results and they want them as quickly as possible. That’s why most people wanting to lose weight with running would like to know the answer to these two questions…

  1. How quick should I lose weight with running?
  2. And how quick should my running ability improve?

These questions are closely related because if you can improve your running ability then you’ll also improve your ability to burn calories and lose weight.

The problem here is that there’s no real answer to these questions…

There aren’t any common rules or set timescales where you can say that everyone will lose 30 pounds over 3 months, or that you’ll lose 8 pounds in the next month…

Or that you’ll go from being able to run 3 miles in 45 minutes to running 3 miles in 30 minutes within two months.

Everybody has a different body, a different mindset, and a different lifestyle, as well as being at different stages with their running and weight loss progress.

That’s why comparing yourself to others often provides you with unrealistic expectations which then leads to lots of frustration when things don’t work out as expected.

To help you avoid this frustration and gain a better understanding, here are 5 factors that affect the speed of your running and weight loss progress…

1. Your starting weight

The more weight you need to lose the quicker it will drop off and the quicker your running improvement will be.

For example, someone who’s 140 pounds (10 stone) overweight is likely to lose 14 pounds (1 stone) very quickly whereas it will take much longer for someone who only needs to lose 14 pounds to lose this weight.

The first person may be trying to halve their bodyweight whereas the second person may be trying to lose only 10% of their bodyweight.

2. Your fitness level and amount of running experience

The better you become at running and the higher your fitness level, the further you can run, the faster you can run, and the higher quality running methods and strategies you’re able to use.

This increases your ability to burn calories which means that you can lose weight quicker than someone of a lower running ability.

So make sure that you keep aiming to improve your fitness and running ability, rather than only focussing on your weight loss.

3. Consistency of running

Being able to stick to your running plan, while at the same time listening to your body and remaining injury free, are key parts to improving your fitness and losing weight with running.

Consistent running over many weeks and months is far better for weight loss than repeating a cycle of having a few good weeks of running followed by a week of rest or injury.

4. Your motivation

This relates to how often you’re willing to run, how hard you’re willing to push yourself, and how closely you follow your running and weight loss plan. Tick the right boxes and your running and weight loss will improve much quicker.

In the end "You get out what you put in".

If you aren’t motivated or don’t have the desire to put the time and effort in to lose weight and improve your life, then how can you expect anything other than average or poor results?

5. Social support

Studies have shown that people are more likely to be successful at losing weight when they have social support because it helps them stick to their goals.

That’s why you’re more likely to be consistent and motivated with your running and weight loss if you have support from people like your partner, friends, and work colleagues.

Try to get these people involved with your ambitions and let them help you towards your goals.

Here’s what else you need to consider

Although the questions of "How quick should I lose weight?" and "How quick should my running ability improve?" are important, you should also think about the long term.

There’s little point in losing lots of weight quickly only to regain it just as quickly. That’s really frustrating and demoralising, but it can also cause you give up with your running and weight loss altogether.

The aim should be to lose weight consistently while staying within a safe and healthy weight loss limit. That way you can maintain more muscle while losing weight from fat which makes it much easier to keep the weight off over the long term.

Therefore, try to be patient with both your running and weight loss, and remember the great benefits of running and all the positive changes that you’re making to your life along the way.


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5 Responses to How Quick Should You Lose Weight with Running?

  1. MaRia says:

    James certainly knows his facts on good healthy weight loss. There is this boot camp mentality which is all the rage at the moment but how many people can keep this up? With running you can go at your own pace using your own body weight to help. As the weight drops you will find it easier to run so add variety in your routes this helps with the last stubborn lbs.

  2. Jean says:


    I have been running now for about 4 weeks. I have only lost 1lb but can see the difference in my running. I feel a lot fitter plus Iam more alert. I do feel a little disapointed about my weight loss but I am not letting it stop me from running because in time I should lose more

    Thanks for your advice James


  3. sharee says:

    Hello, I started running a year ago. I ran in the Rock & Roll half Marathon in Chicago last summer. James your emails helped me out a lot with the motivation I needed; I looked forward to reading your email. I thought I would never like running, now I can’t stop! I have tone up and have lose weight. My weight goes up and down, but thats because of my eating habbits. I am now watching what I eat and have lose 7 pounds so far since January. I don’t pay attention to the scale all the time because I gained muscle weight. I have a pair of old jeans that I could not get into. I put them old jeans on and they were loose, that’s when I knew I was losing weight. I would love to purchase your book.

    Thanks James,

    • James says:

      Well done with what you’ve achieved so far Sharee, and I’m also glad you find my help useful.

      A lot of people think they won’t like running and some don’t enjoy it at the start. However, the more benefits you experience the more running can grow on you, as you’ve found out. Keep it up!

  4. nicola lloyd says:

    Done my first run today, was a little disappointed with the distance as I have using the treadmill at my local gym, I will keep going though and trying to improve.