Runner's World calorie calculator

Discover how many calories you burnt on your last run with this interactive calculator

Find out how many calories you burned on your last run.
Distance run:  
Your weight:  
You can enter decimals for both distance and weight. Example: 3.5 Kilometres.

Please remember, this tool should only be used as an approximate guide – the exact number of calories you will burn will vary depending on your age, sex and base metabolic rate, as well as the intensity at which you perform the exercise.

Previous article
Combat The Fat
Next article
Enduring Questions: What's Your Ideal Weight?

calories, nutrition general, weight

Discuss this article

Well, for me @ 80kgs five miles burns 667 cals. However my Suunto T4 reckons about 447 cals ?

Does the Suunto use heart rate to work it out. Which figure do you reckon is right for me ?

<scratches head>

I'm confused !

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 00:43

My guess is that the Suunto shows only the extra calories you have burnt through running. The RW one includes your base metabolism - i.e. the calories that you would have burnt anyway if you had not gone running - which nearly all of these calorie counter things do even though it's daft.

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 08:58

...although the base metabolism wouldn't make more than 100 calories difference, so I may be talking carp as usual.

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 09:10

Hmmmmmmm ? Thanks, I can see the logic but looks like I am still none the wiser.
Posted: 27/11/2007 at 10:05

Calories burnt get worked out from the Hr on sunnto's, I think, not entirely sure but it's all relative.

If you burn 3500kcals a week in excercise on your sunnto and you are not losing any weight at a constant food intake, incr your excercise to 3750kcals etc. You are just mesuring the difference.

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 10:12

" Working from your personal fitness profile, the Suunto t1 displays real-time average heart rate and real-time calories burned with excellent accuracy. When the Suunto t1 says you've burned 238 calories, it's not a rough estimate, but rather, a number you can trust. "

Bu@@er, if this is right then I can't eat quite as many pies as I had thought. But then if the Suunto is right the RW calc is way out ?
Posted: 27/11/2007 at 10:20

Go for the higher number and then you can eat more pies.
Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:09

Definately some logic with HR influence. It can't be right to go on weight alone. I would go for a figure in between the two and have a smaller pie!
Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:22

We've had this discussion before - and its a bit tricky.

I dont think the HR makes any difference.  You run a mile or walk a mile - you will burn the same calories in that time. The only difference being that your body will carry on burning a few extra calories after the run until you recover.

Try not to think about it too much.

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:34

Cheers cougs, my brain hurts!

<don't say "I did warn you!>

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:35

Is it the same princaple as

Walk or run a mile in the rain, you get just as wet doing either?

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:36

More like work, energy and power 101

The energy developed to move you that mile is what is being used for the calorific burn.

It's not quite true that running a mile is the same as working. Gross work is the same but the delta V requires more energy as well.

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:44

walking even
Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:45

English please stump!

We burn x amount of cals just being "in neutral" so then when we slip into gear more fuel is burnt on top?

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 13:47

And therefore the way to measure this difference is to measure your heart rate.

If I run on a treadmill for 20 minutes at max heartrate I'm going to burn more calories than walking for 20 minutes!

There still seems some confusion between the 2 methods, miles done calculator done by weight and the haert rate done by most HRM. I personally would go by the HRM calcualtor and add the static calories mentioned by Kryten. It seems more accurate.

At 12 stone, on an hours steady state run(about 7 miles) I usually burn around 700 calories. The RW calc says 891 calories. I'd now go for about 800, as I mentioned earlier, in between the two.

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 14:42

JF - if you run at max hr for 20 mins - you will have covered a lot more distance than by walking 20 mins ? 

Well I hope anyway for your sake !

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 15:00

running a mile uses more calories than walking a mile as you bob up and down more when running so more energy is required to lift your body each time. Heart rate doesn't make much difference. Only true way to find out is to do it on a tread mill wired up like on a VO2 max test. As a rough guide, running a mile uses about 100 calories for an average sized bloke, bit less for a smaller skinnier person. My new Garmin reckons it takes climbs into account but I seem to use the same number of calories running 1000ft up a mountain as coming back down again, so that certainly can't be right
Posted: 27/11/2007 at 16:00

CW I've always worked on the approx 100 calories per mile scenario, but then add the calories you would have burnt anyway, as mentioned by Kryten, this then makes sense.

Point taken Cougie!

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 16:42

So does this mean that if I run 5 miles very very fast that I burn the same amount of calories as if I'd run it slowly?  Sounds a bit odd to me.

Sure the calculator helps me see what I've burned on my run, but unless I know my burn rate on other activities, do I really know how many 'extra' calories or pies I can eat?

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 17:37

If we assume 2500 cals per 24 hours, say twice as much in the day as at night, means about 120 cals an hour in the day just doing normal stuff.  At 8 minute miling for 1 mile you should get about 16 cals for living and 100 cals for the running.  

Trouble is that the more training you do, the more weight you lose and a lighter body takes fewer calories to run the miles so you can't eat as many pies as you used to !

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 17:39

hmm.... seems to me that the calculator isn't that helpful after all!

I think that I'll just keep on running and occasionally jump on the scales to check how things go.  Or an alternative is the 'trouser test':  if your trousers start feeling tight you need to eat less and/or exercise more; if your troursers feel more comfortable or lose then you can either by a smaller pair or indulge in more pies!

Posted: 27/11/2007 at 17:45

Surely how fast you run needs to be considered?

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 08:41

Apologies - I've just seen the text below - saying that it is a rough guide only.
Posted: 28/11/2007 at 08:44

I always understood that as a very rough guide you burn the same number of calories per mile, notwithstanding your running speed. As previosly mentioned walking is slightly less because you don't leave the ground like you do in running. 

Therefore if I run very slowly for a mile, I would burn the same calories (roughly) as if I ran it very quickly (if that were only possible!).  But, the slow mile would take longer in time to burn the same amount of calories, eg one might take 11 minutes to burn 120 calories, and the other would take 8 minutes because I am working harder but I still only cover the same distance. 

 The RW calculator says 132 cals per mile for me, but I usually estimate it somewhere between 110 and 120.

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 09:04

One thing this calorie counter doesn't tell you is what difference running up or down hills make or what difference the terrain makes. Can anyone answer these questions?

1 If you run a mile up a 10% gradient then 1 mile down the same gradient do you burn the same number of calories as 2 miles on the flat?

2 If you run over a muddy field does this burn more calories than on a tarmac path?

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 11:12

My garmin showed that when I ran 5 miles yesterday I burnt off 874 calories!( I also had a heart rate monitor on!) To me that seems a bit high, however, where I run is quite hilly and I was averaging 9 min a mile.  I imagine the Garmin knows when you are you running up a gradient and the terrain, I've entered all my stats in like age and weight so this should be correct ...... or not?
Posted: 28/11/2007 at 11:24

Simon - probably the uphill and downhill will cancel each other out. And yeah - a muddy field will be harder than running on a path.

Its impossible for a calorie counter to cope with all this complexity - so I'd only use it as a guide and you adjust for the conditions. Although I dont even think that serious calorie counting is a healthy mindset to be in.

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 11:27


Running a mile and walking a mile do not actually burn the same number of calories. Running actually puts far more stress on the body than walking. Look at a photo of someone running. Invariably they will have both feet off the ground. When you run you propel your body upwards as well as forwards. As you push up and against gravity you are working much harder than you would be if you were walking, and this is why you burn far more calories by running than you would walking the same distance. Elite runners tend to opt for running styles that minimise the upthrust and are therefore far more economical.

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 12:21

There was an article on why running burns more calories than walking in RW a few months back - it might even be on this site somewhere??
Posted: 28/11/2007 at 12:35

Until recently, I used a Polar HRM which gave the calorie count on all runs as pretty much 100 per mile.  I'm now using a Garmin which gives 130 cals per mile = 30% more pies!  Result!

I ran 13 miles on Monday night and the calorie count was 1701.  There was a good mix of flat, climbs and descents.  As a result of this discrepancy between Polar and Garmin, I am not worrying too much about calories - it doesn't affect my eating decisions, anyway.

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 13:11

My view is that serious calorie counting is for people who run a lot more than me - say 50+ miles a week. When you actually have to start eating extra to be healthy.

If you are counting to lose weight then it's best to watch what you're eating and drinking. For me running a mile is about the same as 1/2 pint of beer or 1/2 a mars bar!

If you want to lose weight by exerciserunning is probably not the best way. Mainly becuase for most of us it isn't physically possible to run for more than an hour a every day.  

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 13:31


Try our website for alternative calorie counters and see how they compare - I'm not spamming the forum, I'm a genuine person who uses this sort of thing to manage my diet (I've been an international lightweight rower so I need to get the old nutrition right otherwise too fat on race day)!

 Let me know what you think about the site as well - all feedback gratefully received!


Posted: 28/11/2007 at 14:40

Fmatty - OK I take your point about running having a bit more energy burning to it. Dunno how much.

 But if you run a mile slowly, or run a mile fast - the energy burned is pretty similar. 

Posted: 28/11/2007 at 14:48

I think the watch may be adjusting the weight x distance formula according to heart rate. I'm not happy with the concept of the watch doing this however, as obviously the fitter you are, the lower your heart rate for the same pace, yet you will not be burning fewer calories!

Is your watch also a speed/distance calculator? Hopefully, if it is, this is what your watch is using to calculate the calories.

Actually it does make a difference how fast you run - the faster you run the more calories burned, because to run faster you are having to put more power into each step.

The table in "The competitive Runner's Handbook" by Bob and Shelly-Lynn Glover (figure 35.4 on page 445, 2nd Revised Edition) tells me that at 80 kg, 1 mile burns 431 Kcals at 9min/mile pace, and 656 Kcals at 6 min/mile pace, for example.

Posted: 29/11/2007 at 08:01

Oops!! APOLOGIES - that was wrong above - the numbers given are for 30 mins of running, not Kcals burned for 1 mile.

Posted: 29/11/2007 at 08:11

That's the point raised above though - the calories are different for an equal time of running, but the overall distance covered by the two runners will be very different:

The 6 min a mile runner will cover 5 miles in 30 mins (656cals/5miles) = approx 131 cal per mile

The 9 min a mile runner will cover just over 3 miles in 30 mins (431cals/3.3 miles) = approx 129 cal per mile

Hence, if you are calculating calories from the amount of time spent running, then the speed of the runner is very important.  If you are estimating it from distance, then the speed of the runner makes very little difference.

Posted: 29/11/2007 at 09:31

At a pace of 13kph my Tunturi measures 1calorie/4seconds. At a walking pace of 6.5kph it measures 1calorie/13seconds - therefore half the speed is not half the calories, or vice-versa.  
Posted: 29/11/2007 at 16:42

I am well confused with all this calorie malarky - I never know what to trust! I've always gone on 100 calories a mile/10 minutes but I secretly hope that I burn off more! Maybe just have a medium size pie?!
Posted: 29/11/2007 at 17:45

I feel quite sorry for myself at times - I'm only a mere 7st so have to run an awful lot further than most to clock any kind of worthwhile calory usage as I only burn 70 to the mile.  As a result, I have to stick with the mini-sized pies!
Posted: 29/11/2007 at 18:14

Oh dear shy ted, that's not good news - at least you don't have to worry too much about putting a pound or two on though! I'd be pleased to even weigh 10 st!! Maybe one and a half mini pies would be ok?! I'll stick to veg!
Posted: 29/11/2007 at 19:02

See more comments...
We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

Smart Coach
Free, fully-personalized training plans, designed to suit your racing goals and your lifestyle.