How Many Calories Do You Burn Running a Half Marathon?
The number of calories you burn running a half-marathon depends on several factors, including your speed, weight and how intensely you're running. The most important factor in maximizing your weight loss, though, is maximizing your performance. A top-notch performance requires proper preparation, including training and eating properly. Eating more calories from the right foods is crucial in helping you burn as many calories as possible.
Calories provide energy for exercise. Consequently, consuming more calories helps you burn more calories. A 190-lb person needs to consume 1,003 calories to run at a pace of nine minutes per mile for an hour, while a 155-lb person needs to eat 818 calories. The same people must consume 1,174 and 958 calories respectively to run seven minutes per mile for an hour. Too few calories can cause fatigue, illness, injury and a slower speed that burns fewer calories. About 60 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates, 25 percent from fat and 15 percent from protein.
A top-notch performance in a distance race requires five training stages. The base, intensity, peak, race and recovery stages should take 30, 37, 8, 20 and 5 percent of your training time. In the base period, all of your workouts should be at a pace where your heart rate is between 60 and 80 percent of your maximum heart rate -- 220 heartbeats per one minute minus your age. In the intensity, peak and race periods, your heart rate should be 90 to 95 percent of its maximum during 15, 20 and 25 percent of your workouts. In the recovery stage, your heart rate shouldn't go above 75 percent of its maximum.
Running 7-minute miles for an hour burns 1,208 calories if you weigh 190 lbs and 985 calories if you're 155 lbs. People running at this pace will complete a half-marathon in 91.7 minutes. The 190-lb person would burn 1,846 calories. The 155-lb person would burn 1,505. Running 9-minute miles for an hour burns 949 calories if you're 190 lbs and 774 calories if you're 155 lbs. People running at this pace will complete a half-marathon in 118 minutes. The 190-lb person would burn 1,866 calories. The 155-lb person would burn 1,522. Faster and slower runners burn about the same number of calories, but faster runners burn more calories per minute. This helps them during training.
Things to Consider
Running and training for a half-marathon, which is 13.1 miles, is a risky endeavor if your fitness and health is subpar. The death rate while jogging is about seven times higher than the death rate while sedentary. Anyone who is more than 40 years old should have a medical examination and a maximal performance treadmill stress test before starting a vigorous exercise program.
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Jay Schwartz has had articles printed by the "Chicago Tribune," "USA Today" and many other publications since 1983. He's covered health, fitness, nutrition, business, real estate, government, features, sports and more. A Lafayette, Pa. college graduate, he's also written for several Fortune 500 corporate publications and produced business newsletters.