Ask A Coach: Running for Weight Loss

Coach Hillary Kigar distinguishes running to burning fat versus gaining fitness.


Coach Hillary Kigar knows a thing or two about running fast and feeling strong. And lucky for us, the former NCAA athlete turned high school coach has an answer for everything! 

“What is the optimal effort level for burning fat versus gaining fitness?” – Julia

When your goal is to maintain your current fitness level and burn fat, it’s best to run at a steady pace that’s moderately difficult. This is an effort level where you feel like you could maintain your pace comfortably, but having a long conversation would be a challenge—so if you can hear yourself singing over your music, pick up the pace a bit!

If you are looking to improve your fitness as you train for, say, your next 5K, you should vary your effort level from day to day. Switch between workouts where you run at a hard effort for short bursts of time (speed intervals or hill sprints) and workouts where you run at an easy effort for a longer distance.