Whether a 5-mile run is your daily routine or your week's long run, it’s an effort worth applauding. Since each body is different, unless you use special instruments in a controlled environment, you cannot know exactly how many calories your run burns. Don’t worry. Two simple equations provide a good approximation.
Although many runners have heard -- over and over, in fact -- that distance is the sole determinant in calorie consumption, it isn’t true. Men burn more calories than women do, primarily because they weigh more. Walkers, 10-minute milers and speedy 5-minute milers each expend different amounts of energy while traversing a mile. Factors that affect calorie expenditure include your weight, speed and workout intensity.
A 150-pound male who walks a mile in 19 minutes uses about 88 calories. The same man, running a mile in 9:30, uses 124 calories. For women, average numbers are 74 and 105. These are gross, or total calories burned. A better number to consider is the net calories burned, which decreases the total calorie count by the amount of energy your body needs just to maintain life over the same time period. The same 150-pound male 19-minute mile walker uses about 52 net calories. If he runs a 9:30 mile, he uses 105. Women’s average numbers are 43 and 91 net calories burned.
Without adjusting for intensity of workout, you can estimate the calories you burn in a 5-mile run. Multiply your weight by 0.63 and that result by 5 to compute net calories burned. Multiply weight by 0.75 by 5 to compute gross calories burned.
Weight (in pounds) x 0.63 x 5 = net calories burned per 5-mile run
Weight (in pounds) x 0.75 x 5 = total calories burned per 5-mile run
Increasing the Burn
To expend more energy, run faster or harder over the same distance. Runners routinely work to increase aerobic capacity using stair climbs, sprints, time trials, hilly routes and soft surfaces. There is a nice bonus to regular running, too: As your fitness increases, so may your basal metabolic rate, meaning that even while enjoying a good rest, your body may burn more calories than it did when you were less fit.
System Bona Fides
This method of estimating calorie consumption used is accepted by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). It is not the only computation scheme but is considered valid because several scientific studies have affirmed its relative accuracy.
- The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center: Calories Burned Running
- Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running: Comparison With Prediction Equations; C Hall et al.
- Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness; Energy Expenditure During Walking and Jogging; JS Greiwe, et al.