The energy cost of running & walking – weight loss and calories burned 101

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I incorrectly thought that to get your body from A to B required the same amount of energy whether you walked or ran. That’s not quite true.

Well, it’s not true.

More correctly if you RUN AT ANY SPEED from A to B then you will use up roughly the same amount of calories.

Walking is clearly biomechanically different to running and the energy cost is different to that of running for either a given distance or a given speed.

Here is a short and interesting article for fellrnr with a calculator where you can input your own weight.


To cover a certain distance, A to B, it’s nearly always easier (ie will consume less energy) if you walk. HOWEVER. Here’s the interesting bit. At around 8 miles per hour it becomes MUCH more energy-consuming to walk fast rather than to run fast. But 8 mph is a very fast walk.

So what does this all mean for weight loss?


When you are walking (or running aerobically) then you are specifically telling your body to get better at burning fat as a fuel source. If you run fast then you are still burning fat but you are also getting much better at burning carbs -that’s fine for getting faster but maybe, simplistically, not so good for burning fat.

Factette: About 90% of the energy to race a 5k comes from fat burning. But don’t forget the other 10% is important to train for.

The whole picture is more complex than that. But that’s good enough for now.

Here is the link again.

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