Skip to main content

Calories burned per mile: What's the truth?

I'm confused.  This may be data overload, but there are some big discrepancies in readings for calories burned during my training runs.

An example:  I jogged 10.61 miles this morning at around a 10/min mile pace.  My Garmin watch is telling me that's 1,382 calories burned; when I enter the elapsed time (1:43) into My Plate with an associated 10/min mile pace, it registers 1712.

So where do we go from here?  I Googled the topic and came up with a great link from Runner's World at,7120,s6-242-304-311-8402-0,00.html.  The article cites an academic study entitled  "Energy Expenditure of Walking and Running" in the journal Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise.

Here's the bottom line:

Total calorie burn per mile = .75 times your weight
Net calorie burn per mile = .63 times your weight

Net calorie burned is considered a "true" reading as it takes into account your base metabolism burn. In my case, my net burn is a puny 101 calories a mile. So my ten-miler is only pulling 1000 calories total.

Maybe there's some wiggle room here, but 1000 or 1700 calories for a workout is a huge gap. That's a meal in itself. Guess in the end more running and less eating is the only formula that truly works.


  1. This is an interesting post! I like data overload. :)
    I am wondering if running efficiency plays into the numbers at all.

  2. I tend to believe the machines without questioning their math. Anything that can calculate for me be it Garmin or treadmill must be more accurate than my own calculation. I average about 155 calories per mile.

  3. I believe that total calorie burn is a fair measure. You are still burning those calories regardless of the "source" of that expenditure. It is also worth noting that residual caloric expenditure is increased over the hours following each run. Also, off-time expenditure is increased with muscle mass compared to adipose tissue... so as your fitness improves there are additional outputs of caloric burn not directly associated with each mile run.
    Good topic!


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Scott Jurek ate vegan, won ultras...then got divorced

(Disclaimer:  I am a Brooks-supported athlete; as part of that relationship, I was provided a complimentary copy of "Eat & Run")

I was recently on a few flights making my way home to Wisconsin and en route was able to plow through Scott Jurek's new book "Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness."

It's a fast, enjoyable read. I've been around the ultra scene for a long time and have known some of the greats, i.e. ultra champ Eric Clifton. So it's always interesting to see how the world looks from another icon's point of view.

My thoughts in no particular order:

1) I've been vegetarian/borderline vegan for 12 years and have always been concerned with protein intake.  Jurek advocates for the protein he naturally induces through his plant-based diet.  Maybe that is enough. Maybe it's not necessary to bang down 100+ grams of protein supplement every day. Good info and good advice.

2) I'm buying on big time to Scot…

Nothing to see here, folks

It's been a long time since I've been active on my blog. To be honest, I got tired of putting in the work, creating content, with so little feedback or response. Time to divert to other things...such as my new fiction book, coming out soon. Part horror story, part steamy romance. You'll definitely want a copy.

There's another reason I haven't been posting. My endurance spirit is broken.

Some medical issues, some sadness is loss of speed. I don't have much range left in my pulse rate and I have put on a blob of weight.

I "ran" my 10 mile loop this 2:18. Is that ugly, or what? An overall fatigue follows the run. I remember a few years ago, I'd bang it out in straight 9's for a 1:30 - and at that time had a long section of medium effort trail included, too.

It's the new normal. It's age appropriate. I'll be 59 in two weeks. Let's get real.

Rode my mountain bike Sunday after church. Don't know what I hit but I went…


You have to look closely (click and enlarge photo if needed), but when you do, check out the 5th metacarpal (bone furthest from thumb).

The diagonal break is symbolic of what happens when your mountain bike handlebars snap around 360 degrees, and those bars catch your hand against the bike frame during the rotation.

Well there you have it. I got up after my ride over the bars and knew something was wrong, but didn't want to admit it. Rode about three miles back to the car, then went a week with some ice and heat. Thought it was good, until I smacked the same bone on the bars during a road ride the following weekend.

Time to stop the charades and get to urgent care.

For the past three weeks, I have been in a formed splint that kept the pinkie and ring fingers immobilized in a hooked formation. Don't want those tendons to move across the bone. As the doc stated, it's a "forgiving" break, but nonetheless you don't want to give the bone any excuse to shift; that…