Calories Burned Running a 10K

Woman running in street

Any way you slice it, running a 10K is a great accomplishment regardless of whether it's a race or just a daily workout. You can recover more quickly from running this distance by replacing some of the spent calories, but don’t go overboard and gobble up junk food. Most runners only work off approximately 600 to 800 calories during a 10K. To figure out the amount of calories burned, your size and speed are the two important considerations.

About Calorie Burning

Body mass (size) and workout intensity (speed) directly affect the number of calories a person uses during a run. A general calculation tossed about by old-school runners is that 1 mile of running consumes 100 calories of energy, but this is like comparing a Chihuahua to a Great Dane. Smaller people don’t have the same body mass, and won't burn an equal amount of calories as a larger person. For example, based on data from Harvard Medical School, a 125-pound person running for 30 minutes at 5 mph burns 240 calories, while a 185-pound person burns 355. Runners also burn more calories as they go faster.. A 155-pound person running for 30 minutes burns 298 calories at 5 mph, but burns 614 calories at 10 mph.

10K Calorie Burn Formula

The University of Indiana offers a simple formula based on body weight for calculating how many calories are burned based for each mile run. The formula states that a person's weight multiplied by 0.73 equals the amount of calories burned in a mile. This formula is premised on running 5 mph (a 12-minute mile); running faster will up the total amount of calories burned. To figure out how many calories are burned in a 10k, you would take the result of calories burned per mile and multiply it by 6.2 miles, the English measurement equivalent to a 10K.

Net Calorie Burn

Another formula to calculate calories burned while running subtracts the basal metabolic calorie-burn from the previous formula to create a "net calorie burn." This gives you the actual calories burned as a direct result of running instead of the "gross calorie burn" based on the combination of running and just living (breathing, digesting, maintaining core temperature, etc). To calculate this formula, multiply your weight by 0.63 to determine the net calories burned for each mile run.

Conditions to Calorie Burning

Note that several other factors can affect the how many calories burned while running. Environmental factors like hot or cold weather, hilly terrain and gusty winds may increase or decrease the number of calories burned. Also, your fitness level can affect your calorie-burning ability. Brian Mac, a British track and field coach, points to research revealing that highly conditioned athletes burn fewer calories than equally-sized but less fit runners during the same exact workout. The explanation: Trained runners use a lower percentage of aerobic capacity than the untrained runners and thus need fewer calories to support oxygen uptake.

Your Diet Plan

These calorie burning formulas for running can be used to keep track of your energy expenditures in both10K races and daily workouts. By jotting results in a log, you can add totals each week to see if you have burned off enough calories to shed an entire pound--3,500 calories. This represents approximately five 10Ks for the average runner, but you can treat yourself to three moderate-sized slices of pizza for less than 600 calories, leaving a few extra calories to allocate to a sports drink to wash it down.