How Long Do You Need to Run to Lose a Pound?

It’s only natural when you’re using running to lose weight to want to know the exact effect that your running has on your weight loss.

There’s no doubt it would be useful to be able to say, "I can run ‘X’ number of miles per week and I’ll definitely lose one pound of weight". Then you’d know exactly what you needed to do in order to reach your weight loss goals and everything would seem quite straight forward.

Unfortunately it’s not as simple as this and other factors should also be considered.

Firstly let’s take a look at the theory behind how you can lose one pound…

Did you know that you need to burn around 3500 calories to lose one pound of fat?

And did you know that one mile of slow running is the equivalent to burning around 100 calories, depending on your body weight?

That means you need to run for around 35 miles per week just to lose one pound. At 12 minute mile pace that’s 7 hours running each week just to lose one pound!

You would need to run 5 days a week and average 7 miles for each run to complete the full 35 miles. At 12 minute mile pace each run would take 84 minutes.

Wow, that doesn’t sound too good. Does this sound like the best use of your time?

The good news is that you don’t need to do this. You don’t need to run for long periods of time and give yourself a greater chance of suffering from an overuse injury, while also losing weight slower than what you could be doing.

There’s much, much more you can do when using running to lose weight than just running long, slow miles.

That’s because there are several other factors which affect how much weight you lose.

For example, shorter and harder running methods burn more calories after your run. They also help you maintain more muscle which helps you burn more calories throughout every single day…

And they increase your fitness quicker which increases your ability to burn calories in future runs because you can run longer, faster, or harder.

So yes, you can do roughly 35 miles of long, slow running every week and you may lose one pound…

But why do this when you can lose more weight in less than half the time while also having a much more interesting and enjoyable running plan?

This is possible because not all running methods are equal. For example, rather than running for more miles you could run the same distance but quicker. By doing this you’ll burn more calories after your run as your body takes longer to recover and you’ll also increase your fitness quicker.

Or you could improve the quality of your runs even further by using running methods which include a short period of recovery between faster and harder runs.

I hope now you can understand why the question "How long do I need to run to lose a pound?" is not as straight forward as it first seems.

When using running to lose weight the speed of your weight loss is not just down to how far you run, which I explain in detail in my running programs.

Your weight loss also depends heavily on other factors such as your running speed, your effort levels, how many calories you burn after your run, and how quickly you can improve your fitness and running ability.

In fact using running to lose weight in the most effective manner is MUCH more about the quality of your running rather than quantity.

So rather than focusing on how far you can run to lose weight, it’s much better to look at improving the quality of your running instead.


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2 Responses to How Long Do You Need to Run to Lose a Pound?

  1. rodger watkins says:

    I have not started running yet as every time I plan to run it feels too cold! I was running about 4 years ago and in good shape but since then I have put on around 20 kilo.

  2. vicki harrison says:

    i am 65 years old and have leukemia and COPD which is the begining of emphesemya and i run straight for 1mile and then i walk for 1-2 electric poles the cold weather is a hinderance so i dont run until 10-30 and 11.00am as it is warmer i started out running 1post and walking 1post and then made goals where i could first run to