You know I’m a bit advocate of running (and walking!) for losing weight and slimming down legs. But running is high impact and it can take its toll on your body. Here are some mistakes to avoid and also some tips to help you improve your running.

1. Going Too Hard Too Soon

Lots of women tell me that they’re going to start running 10kms every day to lose weight. This is just too much! You will hurt yourself if you try to do this. Or you’ll get exhausted and give up by going too hard too soon. Start out with 3-4 kms and then build up from there.

2. Neglecting Resistance Training

Resistance training is still important. If all you do is running and cardio, you will be slim but you won’t have any muscle tone. Both running and resistance training are important so make sure your workout program includes both. This is the style of resistance training that I like doing to tone up without bulking up.

how to get a lean and toned body
cardio only
why you can't get abs
cardio + resistance

3. Ignoring Potential Injuries

If you feel like there is something wrong, then don’t push it. Sometimes little niggles will go away in a few days with some rest. If not, it could be more serious and is worth checking out. But if it’s sore, try not to run on it and take the rest (as hard as that may be!).

4. Not Having The Right Shoes

I see SO many people running in Vans and Converse shoes! These aren’t supportive and you can end up with an injury, or just very sore feet. Make sure you have proper running shoes – it will make running more enjoyable, trust me!how to slim calves

5. Tracking Your Runs

With any exercise, if you just do it aimlessly week after week, it’s likely that you won’t get any better. Just like lifting weights and trying to improve each week, you should be trying to improve your runs. You can improve either your distance or speed (avoid trying to do both at the same time). But make sure you’re tracking these runs somehow to get the best results!

6. Not Stretching Afterwards

Your muscles might not feel super sore like they do after a weights session, but you still need to stretch! If I don’t stretch after a run, I get really tight quads the next day. I know stretching is the last thing you feel like, but even 5 minutes is enough. Stretch your quads, calves, hamstring, glutes and hip flexors. Bonus points if you can do some foam rolling! Have a read of my stretching blog post here.stretching5

7. Taking Rest Days And / Or Weeks

Running needs to be programmed properly. You can’t do it every day – you need to allow your body time to rest. I like to leave at least 36 to 48 hours between runs to give my body a little bit of time to recover. And if you’ve been doing lots of runs, make sure you give yourself a week off running every now and then. Have a read of my blog post on rest days here xx

Rachael is an Australian born certified personal trainer and nutritionist who holds a Bachelor degree in Science.

After struggling for years to find an exercise and diet program that is tailored to women striving for lean and toned body with no bulk she designed her Lean Legs Program. This program is tailored to each body type and focused on helping women get toned but feminine bodies, without getting bulky.

Her mission is to empower women and help them stay in shape in a healthy and balanced way.

6 Responses

  1. Hi! This is such a helpful post! When I in my elementary school years, my calves were relatively skinny. I have been carrying heavy backpacks, I tend to put a lot of pressure on my calves when I am crossing my legs and I have a two story house. Would these daily activities be a progressive, but ultimate reason that it has become thick now? If so, can I get them to be where it was before? I just have a feeling that it has a huge cause as to why it became progressively got bigger. Or is it that my body changed and can’t get it back to the way it was? Also, I am not active and I do have to lose weight as well. Is distance running 6 days a week and stretching a lot afterwards slim down the calf muscle? When I feel my calves, I can grab a handful of fat when I pinch them with my hand, but is there anyway I can get straight legs? I heard from Camille Hugh, the author from Thaigh Gap Hack, that the bulkiness from the calves might feel like all muscle, but it might actually be fat. Sorry I am asking so many questions! Oh and thank you so much for giving your precious time to reading and responding to my posts!

    1. Hi Jane, yes it could be both fat and muscle. And I do think that perhaps gaining weight, walking up stairs, etc have caused them to get bigger over time (crossing your legs probably doesn’t have an effect though). You can get them to how they were before – have a read of my blog post on how to slim calves as it will have lots of helpful hints there! I probably wouldn’t do distance running 6 times per week – this is overtraining and because running uses your calves, they might actually increase in size. I would keep running to 3 times per week and 30 minutes maximum (also make sure you’re running on a flat surface). And try to avoid any exercises that use your calves to give your muscles a chance to reduce. Also losing weight overall will help! xx

  2. Hi Rachael,

    Would you have any recommendations for some good running shoes? I’ve tried a few different ones, but still seem to get some bad blisters! I have a relatively narrow foot, so do find some brands feel too wide.

    Thanks x

    1. Hi Jayne, I usually get blisters the first few days until I wear them in. But if you’re still getting blisters after that it might be worth trying different shoes (or socks). My absolute favourites (especially for running) are Aasics GT 3000 series xx

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