Running is one of the most popular physical activities for burning calories and losing weight. For beginners, however, it can take a while for running to start showing its benefits.
You can run however long you like and not see the results you want. It certainly helps if you’re AWARE of how many calories you’re burning.
The most common running distance for beginners is a 5-kilometer run, but how many calories does a 5k run burn?
Here is everything you need to know about how many calories you can expect to burn during a 5k run.
How Many Calories Does A 5K Run Burn?
If you’re looking for the simple answer, here it is: The average person can expect to burn between 300 and 400 calories per 5-kilometer run. This roughly translates to 100 calories per mile.
This might NOT seem like you’re burning a lot of calories, but you’re actually doing far more to your body than losing 300-400 cals.
Plus, there are several factors that will determine how many calories you burn in a run of this distance.
1. Running Speed
The general rule of thumb with any type of exercise is that the faster you go, the more calories you burn.
So, the faster you run 5 kilometers, the more calories you have a chance of burning. If you jog a 5k at a slow pace, you can expect to burn less than 300-400 cals.
Still, running a 5k will take roughly between 28-32 minutes for the average runner, which isn’t the longest time a person can run for.
This means that you can only expect to burn a certain number of calories, and not thousands, as with a marathon.
2. Body Type
Your body type and shape will also determine how many calories you burn.
Generally speaking, those with a larger physical build and more body mass will typically burn more calories than someone with a smaller physical build.
This is mostly because there are far more calories AVAILABLE to be burned in a larger physical build.
Plus, those with more body mass tend to sweat more than those with less body mass, which also speeds up the calorie-burning process.
However, there’s a slight EXCEPTION to this rule.
If a person with a larger body ran a 5k at a SLOW jog, they might not burn more calories than someone with a smaller body running a 5k at a faster speed.
3. Run Intensity
The INTENSITY of your 5k will also determine how many calories you will burn.
Running a 5k distance on completely flat terrain won’t provide any difficulty to your run (UNLESS you alter your speed), which will burn a minimal amount of calories.
However, if you were to run up steep inclines and hilly terrains, this would vastly increase the intensity of the run, which in turn will increase the number of cals burned.
This will take some time because you will undoubtedly run up hills slower than on the flat ground. But once you train yourself with a good speed, this will burn calories much faster.
Ways To Burn Calories While Running A 5K
So, we’ve established that a 5k run will burn an average of 300-400 calories. But what are the best ways to burn calories while running a 5k?
1. Use A Calorie Burn Tracker
The best way to TRACK how many calories you are burning is by downloading a calorie burn tracker app.
These trackers use your body weight and running information (such as time, distance, and speed) to calculate how many calories you burn.
These are ideal for those who want to take up running to lose weight, as well as athletes who require careful calorie tracking for their diet.
Fitness trackers such as Fitbit typically measure two types of calorie burn: cals burned through exercise and BMR calories (BMR = basal metabolic rate). Basically, these calories you burn just by living. They make up a large chunk of your daily calorie burn.
No calorie counter is 100 percent accurate, but a device like Fitbit is as good as any.
2. Implement Interval Training
Everyone knows that it takes time to get USED to running. At some point in your fitness journey, running a 5k will become almost too EASY.
You will find your speed plateauing, which essentially means you aren’t getting better or worse. Your body will then become more efficient and will burn fewer cals at this comfortable speed.
So, to burn more calories, you should implement interval training into your running schedule.
This is achieved by adding bursts of speed at chosen intervals, followed by periods of rest. This encourages your muscles to work harder, which will subsequently burn more calories.
3. Change Your Running Route
If you are not losing weight on your run, it’s time to CHANGE it up.
While it’s more inviting to stick to flattened paths, the best way to burn calories is to make your runs more intense.
So, find running routes with STEEP inclines and a RANGE of terrain to push your body.
With a new hilly route, you will adapt to high-intensity running speeds, which will simultaneously burn more calories and improve your running skill.
4. Don’t Just Rely On Running
The best way to burn MORE calories with a 5k run is to implement other forms of exercise.
A 5k run is a great way to warm up or cool down the body, so if you want to burn more calories, implement some strength training into your routine.
Strength training will help to focus on other parts of your body that aren’t activated as much during a run, such as your arms and core.
Strength and resistance training will also help to IMPROVE your stamina, which will help your running speed.
It’s all about CHANGING up your routine. Routines are comfortable, but if you’re on a weight loss journey, a routine can become stagnant.
In order to burn more calories, don’t just rely on a 5k run to do the job. Spice it up!
The Bottom Line
So, there you have it! Turns out, that a 5k run can be a good exercise to start losing weight, but there are many ways to burn even more calories with a run of this distance.
Changing your running routine and implementing different types of running workouts are the first things to try.
And make the run more INTENSE to get the best results.