Tag Archives: calories

How runners can effectively track cross training

person on elliptical trainer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One thing clear to me this summer is that getting in a lot of miles is probably not going to happen. It’s one reason I went ahead and joined the gym near my home: I need to do more to fill in the blanks with cross training. I’ll hit my key workouts whether outdoors or indoors, and then have a variety of indoor options with which to fill in the blanks.

Filling in the blanks however requires some analysis. People cross train, but people don’t have a firm basis from which to equate their cross training to the needed aerobic development.

How much work on the bike or elliptical equals one mile of easy running? Most do an indeterminate amount of cross training, but beyond knowing that it helps some with training, they have no idea how many miles or how much progress it has helped make them.

(I will also note that, while some writers and coaches think it so, I don’t consider treadmill running cross training. I realize at a zero incline, with a consistent surface, and with no wind resistance… running on a treadmill could be easier than regular running. However, there are enough equalizing factors I’ll discuss another time that can and usually do make it as difficult, sometimes more difficult, than regular running. Plus, you still are bearing all of your weight at a higher speed and intensity, as you do with running. So, I consider miles run on the treadmill equal to regular running miles.)

What’s the best way to figure out how much value, how much volume, a cross training workout provided to your training? It’s a question I’ve dabbled with over time, and wrestled with more in recent memory, especially now that I’m cross training more frequently at the gym.

I think the best way to figure this out is:

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How many calories do you burn while running a mile?

I’ve suddenly seen this question get asked a lot both online and out in the world, and as an experienced runner who’s done more research than he should on subjects like this I think I can provide a quick, reliable answer.

How many calories you burn while running generally depends on several factors:

  • Your weight.
  • Your distance traveled.
  • How experienced and comfortable with running at the given intensity you’re running.
  • (of course) how fast and intense you’re running
  • The conditions in which you’re running

But, for real, how many calories do you burn running a mile?

With little deviation… on average, for every mile you run, you’ll burn a number of calories equal to 75% of your weight in pounds.

This can vary slightly, and I mean by a couple of calories per mile one way or another, based on a variety of factors. But on average you’ll burn a number of calories equal to 75% of your weight in pounds (or 166% of your weight in kilograms).

For example, I weigh 163 pounds. Over a mile, I will burn roughly 122-123 calories.

You can consult a slightly more scientific online calculator, like this one, to get a more specific estimate. But you’ll likely find that your results are around the same place.

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