How Much Weight Can You Lose by Running?

How much running weight loss

How Much Weight Can You Lose by Running?

Running is a great cardiovascular exercise that helps burn calories and aid weight loss. As someone who has been an avid runner for years, I often get asked the question – How much running weight loss? While the answer isn’t straightforward and depends on various factors, such as intensity, duration, frequency, and diet, there is some research and general consensus that can help us understand the relationship between running and weight loss.

In general, running can burn a significant amount of calories, and it’s often used as a weight loss tool. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE)(1), the average person burns about 10 calories per minute while running at a moderate pace of 6 miles per hour. Therefore, if you run for 30 minutes, you can burn approximately 300 calories. However, the actual amount of calories burned can vary depending on your weight, age, gender, fitness level, and other factors.

The Relationship Between Running and Weight Loss

There’s no denying that running is a popular exercise for weight loss. It’s a convenient way to burn calories and increase physical activity levels. However, the question of how much running is needed to see weight loss results can be a bit tricky. Let’s explore the relationship between running and weight loss.

Running Burns Calories

First and foremost, running is a calorie-burning exercise. The number of calories burned while running depends on various factors, such as duration, speed, and intensity. On average, a 160-pound person can burn approximately 606 calories per hour while running at a moderate pace. This number may increase or decrease depending on the individual’s weight, metabolic rate, and other factors.

Running Alone Is Not Enough

While running can definitely burn a lot of calories, it’s important to note that running alone is not enough for significant weight loss. To lose weight, a calorie deficit (burning more calories than consuming) is needed. This can be achieved through a combination of a healthy diet and regular physical activity, including running.

Consistency Is Key

Consistency is crucial when it comes to weight loss through running. Running sporadically or only once in a while may not yield noticeable results. It’s recommended to run at least 3-4 times a week, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of the runs.

Other Factors to Consider

There are other factors to consider when it comes to weight loss through running. For example, running may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with joint problems or injuries. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise regime. Additionally, running may not be the most effective exercise for everyone, and some may find more success through other types of physical activity.

In conclusion, running can be an effective exercise for weight loss as it burns calories and increases physical activity levels. However, it’s important to remember that running alone is not enough, and a combination of a healthy diet and regular physical activity is required for noticeable weight loss results. Consistency is key, as is taking other individual factors into consideration before starting a new exercise regime.

Factors that Impact Weight Loss with Running

Running is a popular form of aerobic exercise, but how much weight you’ll lose while running depends on several factors. In this section, I’ll discuss some of the key factors that can impact weight loss with running.

1. Intensity

The intensity of your running workouts can affect weight loss. Running at a higher intensity burns more calories, which can lead to more significant weight loss. Intensity is often measured by heart rate, with higher intensities corresponding to higher heart rates.

2. Duration and Frequency

The duration and frequency of your running sessions also play a role in weight loss. In general, the longer and more frequently you run, the more weight you’re likely to lose. Aim for at least 30 minutes of running, at least three times a week, to see results.

3. Diet

What you eat is another critical factor impacting weight loss with running. Running regularly will burn more calories, but it’s essential to make sure you’re fueling your body with healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Eating a balanced, healthy diet will help you lose weight and improve your running performance.

4. Body Composition

Your body composition, including your muscle mass and body fat percentage, can also affect weight loss with running. People with higher muscle mass may lose weight more slowly because muscle is denser than fat. However, increasing muscle mass can help speed up weight loss over time.

5. Health Conditions

Several health conditions, such as thyroid disorders or hormonal imbalances, can affect weight loss with running. If you’re having difficulty losing weight despite running regularly, it may be worth visiting a doctor or registered dietitian to rule out any underlying health concerns.

In summary, weight loss with running is a multi-faceted process influenced by several factors, such as intensity, duration and frequency, diet, body composition, and health conditions. However, incorporating running into your exercise routine can lead to significant weight loss over time, allowing you to not only feel better but look better too.

How to Calculate Calories Burned While Running

If you’re wondering how to calculate the number of calories burned during running, you can begin by estimating your energy expenditure based on a few key factors. The most important factors that can affect the calories you burn while running include your weight, speed, and the duration of your run.

To determine your estimated calorie burn during a run, you can use a calorie calculator, which relies on a few key inputs:

  • Weight (in pounds or kilograms)
  • Distance (in miles or kilometers)
  • Pace (in minutes per mile or kilometer)
  • Time (in hours, minutes, and seconds)

Using this information, a calorie calculator can give you a sense of how many calories you burned during your run. Keep in mind that the accuracy of the estimate may depend on a number of additional factors, including your age, sex, and fitness level.

Another way to estimate total calories burned while running is to use metabolic equivalents- commonly known as METs (2). A MET is a measure of the energy cost of physical activities, as compared to resting.

Running with an average speed can use up to 8 METs. This means that a person weighing 150 pounds would burn approximately 680 calories per hour of running. However, the number of calories burned will vary based on the individual’s weight and body composition.

It is worth noting that calories burned during running also include calories that are burned as part of your body’s baseline metabolic rate- this means the calories you would have burned if you had just sat at home.

Keep in mind that these estimations are just that- estimations. In addition, it’s important to remember that weight loss is not just about burning calories, but also about creating a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, good nutrition, and stress management.

Overall, knowing how to calculate calories burned during running can be a helpful starting point for those who are trying to lose weight, but should not be considered as the only weight loss solution.

Balancing calorie intake and running for weight loss

One of the biggest mistakes people make when using running for weight loss is thinking that they can eat whatever they want as long as they’re running. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true. If the number of calories you eat is greater than the number of calories you burn, you won’t lose weight, and might even gain some.

To lose weight with running, you need to create a calorie deficit. That means either eating fewer calories, running more, or both. But, creating too large of a calorie deficit can be unhealthy and make it harder to stick with your goal long-term.

So, how do you balance calorie intake and running for weight loss? Here are some tips:

  • Determine your daily calorie needs for weight loss: This is the first step in creating a calorie deficit. Use an online calculator or speak with a registered dietitian to determine how many calories your body needs to maintain your current weight and how many it needs to lose weight.
  • Be mindful of what you eat: Focus on filling your diet with whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
  • Use running to create a larger calorie deficit: Running burns calories, and the more you run, the more you burn. But, don’t overdo it. Gradually increase your mileage to prevent injury and burnout.
  • Don’t rely on running alone: Cross-training, weightlifting, and other forms of exercise can help you burn calories and build muscle. Plus, it can provide variety and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Listen to your body: If you’re hungry, eat. Don’t deprive your body of the fuel it needs. But, make sure you’re eating healthy, nutrient-dense foods to fuel your runs and support weight loss.

Overall, balancing calorie intake and running for weight loss is all about creating a healthy calorie deficit that is sustainable long-term. It’s not about depriving yourself or over-exercising. By focusing on nutrient-dense foods, gradual increases in mileage, and variety in your workouts, you can use running to help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Effective Running Routines for Weight Loss

As someone who has lost weight through running, I know firsthand that it can be an effective tool for shedding pounds. Here are some effective running routines for weight loss:

Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity sprints and recovery periods of slower jogging or walking. This type of training helps to boost your metabolism and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Here’s an example of an interval running routine:

  • Warm up with a 5-minute jog
  • Sprint for 30 seconds
  • Recover with 1 minute of jogging or walking
  • Repeat the sprint and recovery cycle for a total of 20 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5-minute jog

Fartlek Training

Fartlek training is a type of running that involves periods of faster running interspersed with periods of slower running or walking. This type of training is a great way to burn more calories and build endurance. Here’s an example of a fartlek running routine:

  • Warm up with a 5-minute jog
  • Run at a moderate pace for 2 minutes
  • Increase your speed and run at a faster pace for 1 minute
  • Recover with 1 minute of jogging or walking
  • Repeat the cycle for a total of 20-30 minutes
  • Cool down with a 5-minute jog

Long Distance Running

Long distance running is a great way to burn calories over a longer period of time. However, it’s important to start slow and gradually build up the distance you can run. Here’s an example of a long distance running routine for beginners:

  • Start with a 20-30 minute jog
  • Gradually increase your time by 5-10 minutes each week
  • Aim to run for 45-60 minutes at a moderate pace
  • Cool down with a 5-minute jog

Remember, the key to weight loss through running is consistency. Incorporate these running routines into your regular workout regimen and track your progress to stay motivated.

Incorporating Strength Training with Running

Adding strength training to your running routine can not only help you lose weight but also improve performance and prevent injury. Here are some tips to effectively incorporate strength training:

  • Start slow: If you’re new to strength training, don’t overdo it. Start with bodyweight exercises or light weights and gradually increase intensity.
  • Target major muscle groups: Aim for exercises that target legs, core, and upper body.
  • Balance your routine: Make sure to work opposing muscle groups equally to avoid muscle imbalances.
  • Mix it up: Incorporate a variety of exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups, and planks.

But what are the specific benefits of strength training to your running performance and weight loss? According to a research article published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, combining strength and endurance training leads to better weight loss outcomes than just endurance training.

Also, a study from the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports revealed that strength training can improve running economy, which means you’ll use less energy to maintain your pace – this can translate into running longer distances or faster times with less effort.

Another benefit of strength training for runners is the reduced risk of injury. Studies show that incorporating strength training can increase bone density and muscle strength, which are essential for preventing injuries such as stress fractures and muscle strains.

In conclusion, adding strength training to your running routine can improve your overall performance, help you lose weight, and reduce the risk of injury. When done properly, it can be a valuable addition to any running program.

Tracking Progress and Setting Realistic Goals

Setting goals and tracking progress are instrumental in staying motivated and making progress in your weight loss journey. When it comes to running for weight loss, tracking your progress can be done in several ways.

  • Weigh yourself regularly: Knowing your starting weight and tracking your weight regularly can give you insight into your progress and help you adjust your diet and exercise as needed.
  • Record measurements: Rather than solely relying on the scale, measure yourself and keep track of your progress using a measuring tape. This can provide a more accurate view of your progress as you may be building muscle while losing fat.
  • Journal your runs: Keep a record of your runs including the time, distance, and any other relevant data. This can help you track your progress and set goals for future runs.

Realistic goals are also important in achieving long-term success. Here are some tips for setting achievable goals:

  • Be specific: Set a specific goal such as running three miles without stopping, or running a six-minute mile.
  • Make it measurable: Include a measurable aspect in your goal such as distance, time, or number of runs per week.
  • Be flexible: It’s important to set challenging goals but also be flexible if you need to modify them along the way. Listen to your body and adjust your goals as necessary.
  • Celebrate milestones: Celebrate your accomplishments along the way to stay motivated and encouraged.

Remember, weight loss is a journey and it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself. Setting realistic goals and tracking your progress can help you stay motivated and focused on your path to success.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Running for Weight Loss

When it comes to running for weight loss, there are a few common mistakes that people tend to make. By avoiding these mistakes, you’ll be more likely to see the results you’re looking for in your weight loss journey.

1. Not Setting Realistic Goals

Setting unrealistic goals for your weight loss journey is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. It’s important to set goals that are achievable and realistic based on your current fitness level and overall health.

2. Doing Too Much Too Soon

Another mistake that people often make is trying to do too much too soon. Trying to run long distances or at a fast pace right from the start can lead to injury and burnout. It’s important to start slow and gradually increase your distance and intensity over time.

3. Ignoring Strength Training

While running is an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight, it’s important to also incorporate strength training exercises into your routine. Strength training helps to build muscle, which in turn boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories even at rest.

4. Not Eating Enough or Eating Too Much

Diet plays a crucial role in weight loss, and it’s important to fuel your body with the right foods both before and after your runs. Not eating enough can lead to low energy levels and poor performance, while eating too much can hinder your weight loss efforts.

5. Overestimating Calories Burned

While running is a great way to burn calories, it’s important to remember that calorie burn estimations can be overestimated. Don’t use your calorie tracker as an excuse to overeat or indulge in unhealthy treats.

In conclusion, avoiding these common mistakes is key when running for weight loss. Set realistic goals, start slow and gradually increase intensity, incorporate strength training, fuel your body with the right foods, and don’t overestimate your calorie burn. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to achieving your weight loss goals through running.

Staying motivated and consistent with running

Running is a great way to lose weight and improve overall fitness. However, it can be difficult to stay motivated and consistent with the exercise, especially in the beginning. In this section, I will share some strategies that have helped me stay motivated and consistent with running.

  • Set realistic goals: It’s important to set realistic goals based on your current fitness level. Start with small goals, like running for 10 minutes without stopping, and gradually increase your goals over time.
  • Find a running buddy: Running with a friend can make the exercise more enjoyable and help hold you accountable for your progress.
  • Mix up your routine: Running the same route every day can become monotonous, so it’s important to mix up your routine. Try running in different locations or adding interval training to your routine.
  • Track your progress: Keeping track of your progress can help motivate you to continue running. Use a running app to track your distance, pace, and calorie burn.
  • Reward yourself: Set rewards for reaching your goals, such as buying new running shoes or treating yourself to a massage.
  • Make it a habit: Consistency is key when it comes to running. Make it a habit by scheduling specific days and times for your runs.
  • Listen to your body: It’s important to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too hard. Rest when you need to and don’t be afraid to adjust your goals based on how you feel.
  • Join a running community: Joining a running community can provide support and encouragement, as well as opportunities to participate in races and events.
  • Have fun: Lastly, remember that running should be fun! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and enjoy the process of improving your fitness and achieving your goals.

By implementing these strategies, you can stay motivated and consistent with running, helping you to achieve your weight loss and fitness goals.

Conclusion: Running Can Be an Effective Tool for Weight Loss with the Right Approach

Choosing to start running as a weight loss strategy is an excellent and reasonably low-cost decision. However, the results of running will vary depending on individual factors such as frequency, intensity, and duration of the exercises, as well as their dietary habits.

If you are looking for a sustainable way to lose weight with running, keeping in mind some of the key factors below will maximize the benefits of this exercise:

  • Gradually increase exercise intensity and duration
  • Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your runs
  • Mix up your running routine with strength and weight training
  • Maintain a calorie deficit diet that supports your running routine

Research has shown that running can be effective at reducing body fat, especially when combined with a healthy diet. One study found that running for just 30 minutes a day, five days a week, led to a significant decrease in body fat, weight, and waist circumference over ten weeks.

While the benefits of running for weight loss are apparent, it can undoubtedly be challenging at first. Starting slowly, focusing on gradually increasing endurance, and embracing a balanced approach to diet and exercise will lead to success.

In summary, running can be an effective tool for weight loss with the right approach. By encouraging healthy eating habits and combining it with other exercises, you can achieve your weight loss goals while also improving your overall health and well-being.


Q: How effective is running for weight loss?
A: Running can be extremely effective at helping with weight loss as it burns many calories while increasing metabolism. For optimal results, however, running should be combined with healthy nutrition choices to see successful results.

Question: What is an ideal running routine for weight loss?
A: Although the optimal running routine varies from person to person, 3-5 runs a week of at least 30 minutes is usually sufficient to facilitate weight loss. Furthermore, gradually increasing intensity and duration is recommended to prevent injury.

Q: How long should I run per session for optimal weight loss results?
A: It is recommended to run at least 30 minutes each session to see results; however, your running time may differ depending on your fitness level, goals, and weight status.

Q: Which running workouts are effective for weight loss?
A: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts and long-distance running have proven their worth as effective strategies for weight loss. HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity interspersed with rest periods; long-distance running, on the other hand, emphasizes endurance and stamina development.

Q: To help me lose weight faster, should I incorporate strength training with my running routine?
A: Incorporating strength training into your running routine can speed up weight loss. Strength training builds muscle, which increases metabolism and consequently burns more calories even when not working out.


  1.  American Council on Exercise, Calorie Burners: Activities That Turn Up the Heat from
  2. M JettéK SidneyG Blümchen; Metabolic equivalents (METS) in exercise testing, exercise prescription, and evaluation of functional capacity from

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