The number of calories burned running or during any exercise varies considerably depending on things like what type of exercise you use, what training methods you use, how often you exercise, and at what intensity.
By running you’ve chosen an activity that’s an excellent way to burn calories and one of the best calorie burning activities available. In fact it’s second only to cross country skiing which isn’t something that’s available to most people.
The amount of calories that running burns per mile varies from person to person depending on factors such as your sex, weight, and running speed.
The most important factor is your weight because the heavier you are the more calories you burn due to the extra energy that’s required to the carry this weight over a certain distance.
The following equations can be used to calculate the number of calories burned running…
Gross calorie burn per mile = 1.65 x weight (kg)
Net calorie burn per mile = 1.39 x weight (kg)
Gross calorie burn per mile = 0.75 x weight (pounds)
Net calorie burn per mile = 0.63 x weight (pounds)
If you are including walking as part of your exercise plan then the following equations can also be used to calculate the number of calories that walking burns per mile…
Gross calorie burn per mile = 1.17 x weight (kg)
Net calorie burn per mile = 0.66 x weight (kg)
Gross calorie burn per mile = 0.53 x weight (pounds)
Net calorie burn per mile = 0.30 x weight (pounds)
What’s the difference between gross and net calories burned?
The gross calorie burn is the total number of calories burned running which includes your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of calories that your body burns per day when at complete rest in order to keep your vital organs, muscles, and skin functioning.
In other words the gross calorie burn includes all the calories that you would have burned even if you hadn’t run.
For example, your gross calorie burn may be 350 calories for a 30 minute run. However, if your BMR is 2000 calories for the day, then you would have burned 42 calories during the same 30 minutes even if you had chosen to rest rather than run.
The net calorie burn can be thought of as the extra calories burned by adding running to your daily living routine. In the example above this would have been 308 calories.
Therefore, in this case the gross calorie burn is 350 calories and the net calorie burn is 308 calories…
But which figure should you use?
Well the best way to measure your calories burned running is by using the net calorie burn figure because then you obtain a much better representation of the effect of the running undertaken.
A problem many people have is that they believe they’re burning more calories than they actually are because they unknowingly use a gross figure without taking off what they would have burned without running.
Most books, websites, and online calculators only use figures for gross calories burned without any explanation which also encourages people to overestimate the amount of calories burned running.
How to use these equations
The equations provided above are best used to estimate your overall number of net calories burned running.
You can also estimate how many extra calories you’ll burn by running for longer distances. For example, if you ran an extra 5 miles per week.
However, try not to get caught up in the "more miles are better" mindset which many people do because this is far from reality!
There are other running methods that are shorter, quicker, and have more variety that you can progress to and significantly improve your ability to burn calories and fat.
This is due to other factors which cannot easily be calculated such as burning more calories after the run, maintaining more muscle, and improving your fitness and running ability quicker which means you increase your ability to burn calories in the future.
So remember that you can estimate the number of calories burned running using these equations, but the calories burned during a run is only part of the whole running and weight loss picture.