You signed up for a 10K to burn megacalories during training and on race day. Take a moment before you celebrate your finish by inhaling all the goodies at the post-race tent. You may feel like you worked hard, but your calorie burn is probably not as high as you think. How many calories you burn depends on your size, speed and the course.
The bigger you are, the more calories you'll burn during your race. If it takes you approximately one hour to run your race, at a 10-minute-per-mile pace, and you weigh 125 pounds, you burn about 600 calories. A person weighing 155 pounds burns about 744 calories, while a 185-pound person burns 888 calories going the same pace. It takes more energy, or calories, to move a larger engine over 6.2 miles.
If you run a bit quicker, say an 8-minute-per-mile pace, you burn more calories -- but you are out on the course for a shorter period of time. A 125-pound person burns 375 calories per half hour at this pace, but finishes a 10K in a little less than 50 minutes, so she ends up burning about 615 calories. You clock a faster time and get to the finishing chute faster than your slower friends, but still ending up burning about the same number of calories.
A hilly course helps you burn more calories during your race. How many more depends on the extent of the inclines and your overall pace. "Shape" magazine reports you may log 100 calories more by seeking out a race with hills.
The motivation for running a 10K extends beyond mere calorie burn on race day. Having a goal to aim for keeps your exercise routine more regular, meaning you burn calories all week long to help you manage your weight. You can support a good cause by running a charity 10K. Sign up for the race with friends and make training a social time that is much healthier than hitting happy hour at your local bar. Accomplishing a 10K is also a way to boost your confidence and show yourself that you are stronger than you may believe.
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.