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Slow vs. Fast Running for Weight Loss

author image William McCoy
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.
Slow vs. Fast Running for Weight Loss
Woman preparing and timing her run. Photo Credit: John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Losing weight typically requires you to cut back on your intake of calories and make time for regular aerobic workouts. If you've settled on running as you attempt to shed your excess pounds, you must make a choice between slow, long runs and short, quick runs. Fast running burns calories more rapidly than slow running, but that doesn't mean fast running is necessarily your best bet for losing weight.

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Consider Your Pace and Duration

Despite the significant gap between the rate you burn calories running slowly versus quickly, both tempos can lead to weight loss. A 190-pound person burns about 513 calories in a 30-minute run at 7 mph, according to Although the same person would burn significantly fewer calories running at 5 mph for 30 minutes, this person might be able to sustain a pace of 5 mph for 60 minutes, as the slower pace isn't as strenuous. During an hour-long run at 5 mph, the person would burn about 688 calories, resulting in more calories burned despite running at a slower pace. Given the considerable impact of running, it's better to walk if you'd otherwise run at a pace slower than 6 mph, according to conditioning coach Mike Antoniades.

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