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Beginner Runner

How Many Calories Do you Burn Running a Mile?

7 Mins read

Ready to dive deep into the fascinating world of calorie burn while running? Then you’re in the right place.

Here’s the truth.

Running isn’t just about building endurance and sculpting those strong, envy-inducing legs—it’s a calorie-burning powerhouse! And let’s be real, shedding those extra pounds is often a big motivation for lacing up those running shoes.

Now, here’s the deal: you’ve probably heard the common belief that running a mile torches a neat 100 calories. But here’s a secret—conventional wisdom doesn’t always tell the whole story.

But don’t fret, I’ve got a treasure trove of scientific studies, research papers, and mind-blowing metaphors to guide us through this calorie-burning maze. We’ll leave no stone unturned as we explore the hidden gems of information that will transform your running game.

So, are you ready to unlock the secrets of calorie burn during that mile you conquer? Let’s get started.

Your Body Weight

Heavier people burn more calories per mile as it requires more fuel to move a larger body for the same distance at a given pace.

For example, a 150-pound runner running at a 10-min mile pace for one hour would burn roughly 700 calories, but someone weighing 240 pounds training at the same intensity would burn around 1,100 calories.

Check the following chart explaining calorie burn for running for an hour at six miles per hour at different weights:

Weight (lbs.) Calories
130 607
150 700
170 793
190 887
210 980
230 1,074


Other than weight, speed, or intensity, drastically impacts the number of calories you burn running one mile.

The faster you run, the greater your energy expenditure—a result of increased effort, which forces you to burn more calories.

For example, a 160-pound runner training at a 13-minute pace for one hour would burn roughly 700 calories.

But if the same runner trained at 10-minutes per mile pace for the same duration, they can burn up to 900 calories in total.

Speed also affects how many calories you burn after exercise.

As a rule, the more intense you run—and exercise in general—the more fuel is burned off recovering from the effort.

This is what’s known as post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

Fitness Level

Another variable, yet important, for how many calories you burn while running is your fitness level.

All in all, runners with years of experience may burn calories more efficiently—as in fewer calories—compared to those just starting out.

In fact, the better your conditioning gets, the fewer calories you burn.

This is one of the reasons some runners experience weight loss plateaus—even gains—during their training (Check my full post about the subject here).

Additional Resource – How Many Calories Should a Runner Eat

Running Surface

Whether you log your miles on the road, trails, sand, or a treadmill, your running terrain also affects your calorie burn.

A challenging terrain may increase the burn.

Running 3 miles on a flat surface is relatively easy compared to a hilly route that has you trudging steep ascents.

This is because you have to use more of your muscles to keep your balance and stay upright while running on a challenging surface.

And as you can already tell—the higher the effort level, the more calories burned—simple logic.

Weather Conditions

Your running economy also impacts calorie burn and is greatly affected by temperature.

In fact, research shows that running in the cold may burn more calories than running in mild temperatures, making it easier to lose weight.

Running in the heat may also increase your calorie by increasing your perceived exertion level.


Anecdotal evidence suggests that men often find it easier to lose weight than women, but the research is still inconclusive.

In general, men may burn more calories than women when running a mile only because men tend to be bigger than women, and as I already explained, weight affects calorie burn, like a lot.

As a rule, the larger a person, whether male or female, the more calories they burn.

Keep in mind that the survey says that men are, on average, five inches taller and weigh roughly 25 pounds more than women.

How Many Calories Do you Burn Running a Mile – Examples

Here are a few examples of calorie burn for different runners of various ages, weights, and gender.

This should give you a better idea of the disparity in calorie burn between various people.

Example – 1: Running 5.0 MPH, or a 12-minute mile, over flat terrain for a 40-year old female.

  • If you’re 120-pound, you’ll burn 90 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 140-pound, you’ll burn 100 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 160-pound, you’ll burn 115 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 200 -pounds, you’ll burn 140 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 240-pound, you’ll burn 165 calories per mile.

Example – 2: Running 5.0 MPH, or 12-minute mile with an average incline of 5 percent for 25-years old male.

  • If you’re 120-pound, you’ll burn calories 72 per mile.
  • If you’re 140-pound, you’ll burn calories 83 per mile.
  • If you’re 160-pound, you’ll burn calories 95 per mile.
  • If you’re 200 -pounds, you’ll burn 119 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 240-pound, you’ll burn 140 calories per mile.

Example – 3:  Running 8MPH, or 8-minute mile, over an 8 percent incline for a 45-year old male runner.

  • If you’re 120-pound, you’ll burn 90 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 140-pound, you’ll burn 100 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 160-pound, you’ll burn 110 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 200-pound, you’ll burn 130 calories per mile.
  • If you’re 240-pound, you’ll burn 150 calories per mile.

Note – Keep in mind that these numbers are just general estimates.

Anything you can do to boost your training effort increases the number of calories you burn.

Calories Burned Running a Mile – Running VS other Cardiovascular Workouts

If you’re looking to burn a lot of calories, you might be asking yourself how running compares to other workout options.

As you may already know, pounding the pavement is one of the most efficient ways to burns calories and lose weight.

Here’s how running compares to other exercises lasting about one hour.

  • Skipping at a mild speed – 1000 calories per hour.
  • Swimming vigorously for an hour – about 1000 calories.
  • Bicycling at a challenging pace – 500 calories.
  • Rowing at a challenging pace – about 800 calories.
  • Walking at a brisk pace – 270 calories
  • Cycling at a moderate pace – 530 calories
  • Swimming at a moderate pace – 560 calories
  • Playing tennis – 530 calories

How to Use Online Calculators To Track Calorie Burn Per Mile

If you use any type of fitness technology, whether it’s a GPS watch or a phone app, it’s more likely is your device is also providing data on estimated calories burned.

These wearables can measure your running distance, speed, and heart rate then come up with a rough estimate of your calorie burn based on your stats.

But, again, keep in mind that these numbers are only rough estimates.

They might not be that accurate.

Additional resource – How to become a morning a runner

How to Get Started

If you’re a beginner runner looking to lose weight, you’ll need to ease your body into it.

Before taking up running, consult your doctor, especially if you have any chronic health conditions and/or have been sedentary for a very long time.

To get you started on the right foot, check the following resources:

Do Simple Math

According to experts, burning 3,500 calories is equivalent to losing one pound of body weight. So, if you weigh around 180 pounds and commit to running five miles a day, three times per week, you’re on track to shed that extra weight in just over two weeks. It may seem like a considerable time investment, but trust me, the results are worth it.

Imagine this: after a year of following this training routine, not only will you have achieved your weight loss goals, but you’ll have burned off approximately 25 pounds. That’s right, a whopping 25 pounds! It’s incredible how those seemingly small efforts can add up to significant changes over time.

Running is About More Than Burning Calories

Yes, running is so much more than just a numbers game. While I understand your curiosity about the calories burned per mile, there’s a world of reasons why people choose to run beyond shedding weight.

Research has shown that running regularly provides numerous benefits to both your physical and mental well-being. Firstly, it’s a fantastic way to improve your cardiovascular health. As you challenge your heart and lungs during a run, you strengthen them, enhancing their efficiency and reducing the risk of heart disease.

But that’s not all. Running has been found to be an effective stress-reliever. When you hit the pavement, you release endorphins, the feel-good hormones that elevate your mood and help combat stress.

Additionally, running can work wonders for your sleep patterns. Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise, like running, promotes better sleep quality and duration. So if you struggle with tossing and turning at night, consider lacing up those running shoes and enjoy the benefits of a more restful slumber.

Let’s not forget about the strength-building aspect of running. While it’s true that running primarily targets your lower body muscles, it also engages your core and upper body to maintain balance and stability. Over time, this can lead to stronger muscles and joints, reducing the risk of injuries and improving overall physical performance.

But don’t take my word for it. Numerous scientific studies have explored the multifaceted benefits of running. One study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that running for just five to ten minutes a day at a slow pace can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Another study conducted at the University of Illinois discovered that running triggers the release of a protein in the brain called BDNF, which promotes brain health and has been linked to improved cognitive function.

For more on calories and calorie burn during exercise, check the following sources:


That’s all. If you’re looking for answers to how many calories do you burn running a mile, then today’s article has you covered. The rest is just details.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Keep running strong.

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