Running Weight Loss How Many Miles Should I Run to Lose Weight? What are the variables to achieving weight loss? By Christine Luff | Medically reviewed by a board-certified physician Updated January 10, 2019 Pin Flip Email Print Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision/Getty More in Running Weight Loss Beginners Motivation Long Distance Nutrition and Hydration Injury Prevention Shoes, Apparel and Gear Treadmill Running Race Training View All Running is a great way to lose weight, but it is often difficult to know how far or fast you need to run to reach your weight loss goal. Moreover, your ability to shed pounds depends as much on the number of calories you eat as the number of miles you clock. While there is no fixed formula by which to calculate pounds loss by the distance ran, there are some insights and statistics that may help. Running and Weight Loss Ultimately, the amount of weight you can lose from any exercise depends as much on the intensity of the workout as it does the duration. Simply put, the greater the effort, the greater the result. Running is an excellent way to lose weight as it involves moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity. Moderate-Intensity activity is one in which you breathe quickly (but never run out of breath) and sweat lightly after 10 minutes. Vigorous-Intensity activity is one in which your breathing is deep and fast, and you develop a sweat after a few minutes. Clearly, the intensity of your run can make a big difference in how many calories you burn. To illustrate this, consider the differences in calories expended per minute for jogging, running, and sitting, according to a report from the American Council on Exercise: Activity calories per minute 120 lbs 140 lbs 160 lbs 180 lbs Jogging 9.3 10.8 12.4 13 Running 11.4 13.2 15.1 17 Sitting 1.2 1.3 1.5 1.7 To estimate the distance you need to run to lose weight, you would need to: Categorize the intensity of your runningEstimate the number of calories you'd burn per minute at that intensityMultiply that number by the time you intend to run in minutesMultiply that figure by the number of times you plan to run each week This is the total number of calories you can expect to burn per week. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds and run at a relatively brisk pace for 45 minutes five days a week, you'd burn around 3,825 calories (17 calories/minutes x 45 minutes x five days = 3,285 calories). To put this in perspective, one pound equals 3,500 calories. If you are 180 pounds and intend to lose a pound a week, you would need to run around 37 miles per week at a rate of six minutes per mile. What this doesn't take into consideration, of course, is the role that diet can play and how trimming calories can entirely transform the conversation. Role of Diet In the United States, 66.3 percent of adults are either overweight or obese, which represents a major public health concern. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people wanting to achieve significant weight loss need to engage in exercise training and/or recreational physical activity for no less than 225 to 420 minutes per week. With that being said, research published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Disease concluded that exercise alone rarely achieves significant weight loss unless performed with a low-calorie diet. In fact, your likelihood of losing weight after 16 weeks varies dramatically by the approach you take, as illustrated by the following findings: Weight loss plan Average weight loss Likelihood of weight loss Walking 0-1 kg Unlikely Resistance training only None Unlikely Aerobic activity only 0-2 kg Possible but requires high exercise volumes Aerobic and resistance training 0-2 kg Possible but requires a high volume of aerobic activity Aerobic and resistance training with a low-calorie diet 9-13 kg Possible While this highlights the role that that running can play in weight loss, it also demonstrates how much faster you can meet your goals by cutting back calories. You can calculate your recommended daily intake by using a simple online calculator which adjusts your intake based on age, sex, height, weight, activity level, and target weight loss date. By meeting these goals (and never consuming less than 1,200 calories per day for women or 1,500 calories per day for men), you'll be more likely to reach your target and still ensure a healthy, well-balanced diet. Making Running a Habit The key to losing weight with running is to create an exercise habit. Some runners stay on track by following a training schedule so they know exactly what they need to do each day (including rest days). Keeping a training log or a running blog is an excellent way to track your progress and stay motivated. Similarly, running with a group or partner can provide extra motivation and prevent you from skipping out on days when you feel less than energized. If you meet your monthly targets, reward yourself with a massage, pedicure, or a new piece of clothing for your trimmed-down physique. By providing yourself with regular incentives, you can focus on the benefits of running as they apply to your life and long-term well-being. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Whether you're looking to run faster, further, or just start to run in general, we have the best tips for you. Sign up and become a better runner today! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources American Council on Exercise. (2009) Fit Facts - Calories Burners: Activities That Turn Up the Heat. San Diego, California: American Council on Exercise. Swift, D.; Johannsen, N.; Lavie, C. et al. The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Maintenance. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2014;56(4):441-47. DOI: 10.1016/j.pcad.2013.09.012. Continue Reading Article How Many Calories Does Running Burn? Article Strategies for Running to Lose Weight Article How Many Calories Do You Burn Running a Mile? Article Should I Run By Time or Distance? Article How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking a Mile? 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