How Many Calories Do You Burn Running a Mile?

running for weight loss

Running is a fantastic form of exercise—not only to boost your endurance and build strong legs but also to burn calories—like lots of calories.

In fact, running burns so many calories that weight loss is one of the main reasons people get into it.

Conventional wisdom says that we burn roughly 100 calories running one mile.

But, in reality, this is just a loose average that actually varies from person to person, as you’ll see below.

Would you like to learn more about how many miles you burn running one mile as well as the factors that impact it?

Then keep on reading.

In today’s post, I’ll outline the exact factors that influence calorie burn during a mile run as well as how to make the most out of your training so you can reach your weight loss and fitness goals as soon as possible.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

Calorie Burn Explained

The general rule is roughly 100 calories per mile burned for someone weighing 180 pounds.

But, let’s say, what if you weigh 120 pounds?

Then you might burn no more than 60 calories running the same distance.

Why such disparity?

There are many factors that influence the number of calories you burn running a mile.

These include metabolic variables, such as body weight, body composition, age, and performance factors, such as intensity and incline.

Let’s explain a few.

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
130607
150700
170793
190887
210980
2301,074

Speed

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).

fat runner training in a stadium
The fat man was running up the stairs. He lost weight.

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).

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.

Gender

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.

Examples Of Calorie Burn While Running

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.

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

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.

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

Want to lose a pound just by running?

Burn 3,500 calories, and you’re there.

So if you weigh 180 pounds and run five miles a day, three times per week, you could nix a pound in just over two weeks—yes, without any dieting!

At a glance, it may seem like a long time—but the losses pile up.

After a year of following the same training strategies, you could end up burning off about 25 pounds.

Running is About More Than Burning Calories

I know calories are important to you – the reason you’re still reading so far.

If your goal is to burn as many calories as possible while running, increase your training intensity, and find a route with lots of hills.

You can also increase the incline on the treadmill.

But calories are not the whole story.

Calorie burn isn’t the be-all and end-all.

It’s key to remember that there are many reasons to run—and exercise—that has nothing to do with losing weight or getting lean.

Research shows that regular running helps improve cardiovascular health, reduces stress, improves sleep, strengthens muscles and joints, and improves your overall health and well-being.