Not all runs are created equal. While pounding the pavement is a powerful way to burn calories and stay fit, there are a number of factors that make certain runs more fat-blasting than others. By knowing what factors contribute to the total calorie burn, you can tailor your workout to fit your goals and start racing toward them to leave fat and calories safely behind.
The faster you run, the more calories you burn. Because your body has to work harder to sustain the higher pace, it requires more energy to pump blood and deliver oxygen to the muscles. Calories are the source of that energy, and you use more of them the harder you work. A 155-pound person can burn almost 75 more calories in 30 minutes of running just by increasing from a pace of 12 minutes per mile to 10 minutes per mile.
Your height and weight also affect the number of calories you burn during a run. The bigger you are, the more calories it takes to move your body and keep it in motion. Your heart and organs have to distribute the blood across a larger area, and you have to carry more weight. While a 125-pound person can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes at a 10-minute-mile pace, a 155-pound person can burn 372 and a 185-pound person can burn 444.
If you’re going uphill during your run, you can bet you’ll be burning more calories than you would on an even surface. Hill or incline running requires you to lift your legs higher and engage more muscles, which uses more calories. According to “Shape” magazine, running at a 5-percent incline can help you torch almost 100 extra calories compared to a workout on level ground.
The longer you’re on the road, the more calories you’re going to use. Whether you burn 95 or 110 calories per mile, you’ll add them up fast if you put in extra time. Even if you log only an extra half mile several times per week, you can burn 100 or more extra calories and increase your post-run metabolic rate. According to Runner’s World, a study published in the “Canadian Journal of Sport Sciences” showed that post-workout metabolic rates more than doubled when the amount of time subjects exercised increased from 30 to 45 minutes and increased more than five-fold after exercising for 60 minutes.
After graduating from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in sports information, Jill Lee served for 10 years as a magazine editor for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Also a published author, Lee now works as a professional writer and editor focusing on fitness, sports and careers.