How much should I run a day to lose weight?

Running is a great way to lose weight. It increases your metabolism, burns calories and it’s good for your heart. Plus, you’ll have more energy throughout the day when you work out regularly! 

However, the most important thing is staying safe and injury-free while running because if you get hurt, then your weight loss plans will be halted! Keeping that in mind, at least try to spend 30 mins running at a moderate speed for losing weight.

That’s why knowing how much should you run a day to lose weight will help you make the running session more fruitful and secure. Today, I will discuss everything related to running and weight loss so that you know your limitations and plan accordingly. Stay tuned.

Relationship between running and losing weight

We always tend to find the benefits of something before doing that. You should look for the same in the case of running as well. First of all, you should know we burn calories when we do something which makes our heart beat faster than usual. Now that can be anything right? But why running?

how much should i run a day to lose weight

Because it’s the easiest exercise out there which makes your fat burn, and this is where the relationship between running and losing weight happens. The formula of weight loss in simple words will be to burn more calories than the number of calories you eat. By running you get to burn hundreds of extra calories and hence you lose weight.

Now you might be wondering, losing weight is very simple then. You will run excessively, and eat whatever you want. Well, it’s not that easy and we will discuss it later in the article. For now, let’s just say, you can never outrun a bad diet.

Back to where we were, say you are in a calorie deficit and losing weight by the day. But how is it happening? You are losing weight because now your body doesn’t have any extra energy source, so it starts burning fat from your body to produce energy. And the calorie deficit created by running is making the process faster along with a good diet.

Now that you know how running helps you lose weight, let’s figure out how much you should run on a daily basis to lose weight while staying strong at the same time.

How much you need to run to drop the extra weights

Not every person is the same and the effort needed for weight loss varies from person to person. From the running aspect, there are three things on which how much and how long you need to run depends.

No one can guarantee you that you will lose a specific amount of weight by running this much or that. How fast or slow you are gonna lose your weight depends on many factors such as your genetics, diet, metabolism, stamina etc.

how much should i run a day to lose weight

Your current weight, the speed at which you can run and for how long you can run. These three along with your genetics determine how much you need to run in a day to lose weight. Typically a pound of fat is near about 3500 calories worth. And you burn 100 calories more or less by running one mile. Now if you calculate, for losing one pound of fat, you need to run around 35 miles. If you are determined to run everyday, that leaves you with 5 miles a day.

Now that was a simple mathematical calculation, but in reality losing weight and running is more complex. Say you are around 160 pounds and want to lose a pound per week. If you run at 5mph pace, you will need to run for an hour every day whereas if you run at the pace of 8 mph, running half an hour for a week would help you lose a pound.

Weight loss depends on at what speed you are running and for how long, and also many other factors which we will discuss later in the article. For a better understanding a chart is added below.

By running an hour you can burn the following amount

Speed​125 pound person burns​155 pound person burns​185 pound person burns
6 mph600 calories744  calories888  calories
6.7 mph660  calories818  calories976  calories
8.6 mph870  calories1078  calories1288  calories

From the aforementioned data, you get the idea about how much you should run a day to lose weight according to your plan. Now let’s look at the factors on which the amount of how much you need to run depends on.

Types of running

There are various types of running for different purposes. Depending on what your purpose is, you can choose the type of running which will best suit you. Some of the most common and popular running forms are as follows.

  • Recovery run: it is the kind of running which you do at an easy pace. After a heavy workout or as someone who started running after a while, you can do recovery running.
  • Long run: A long run is to boost endurance and overall stamina. In the long run you can have a mixed pace at different points of time.
  • Base run: it is the shorter version of a long run. This is the most frequent form of running, in other words the usual day to day running is the base run.
  • Progression run: in this kind of running, you start at a moderate speed and with respect to time, you keep on picking up the pace until the last moment.
  • Intervals: it’s a very famous type of running for weight loss and fat burn. In this format of running you run at the highest speed you can for a while, then run slowly like you are taking rest. Then again run as fast as you can. Following an interval you do this for a couple of rounds.

Popular Running plans

Even before starting to run, you should have a plan about how you are gonna run. You should have a goal and a plan which will help you achieve that dream. There are various running plans out there, but you should do your own plan. Depending on your overall condition, you will know how many hours of running everyday will be better for you.

If you are a beginner, keep your goals small and try to achieve that with short runs. And as you slowly get comfortable with running, you can increase the pace, time and mileage of your run.

One other thing which people usually mess up is they can’t fix an exact time for running. And if you don’t have an exact time, you are more likely to miss your daily run every other day. So, depending on your everyday routine, figure out a time when you are free and you can run. And follow that routine strictly.

Some influencing factors on how much you should run daily

All the factors which make running different for people are gathered here. We might have seen that someone is losing weight very fast while the other one is not able to do so even with much more running. Here are a few reasons behind that.

  • Running surface:

Where you are running plays a vital role in how much you should run. If you are running on a flat surface, it’s relatively easier compared to an inclined surface. Those who run on an inclined surface tend to lose weight faster.

  • Climate:

It doesn’t really matter that much, but if we compare between cold and hot weather, you are more likely to burn more calories by running in hot weather.

  • Composition of your body:

Not everyone has the same amount of fat or muscle in their body. People who have greater muscle mass can burn more calories by running.

  • Your fitness level:

How much you are gonna run depends entirely on your fitness level. The more you run, the faster you lose weight. And if you are fit, you can run fast hence you don’t need to run for a long period of time.

  • Genetics:

Lastly, how much you should run or you can run depends on your genetics. Some people are born with asthma or heart condition, they don’t really have anything to do about it. On the other hand some are genetically blessed and can run like a pro anytime anywhere.

Things to look out for while running

  • Maintaining a clean diet:

A clean diet influences how much you need to run the most. If you are running 7 miles a day for example, and burning 500 calories. You are on the right track of losing weight, but it won’t bring results if you are eating 600 calories more than what you should eat. You need to burn more calories than you eat. Eating is easy while burning is difficult, so you should focus on your diet as well.

  • Stretching before and after running:

While starting to run, many people make the mistake of not warming up their body. There’s a procedure to running like everything else. You can’t just start running at your full pace at the very start. You need to warm up and stretch or else you might get injured. Stretching before and after running is very important as it makes your muscles ready for running. If you run without stretching and get injured, that might sabotage your whole plan.

  • Don’t run excessively

One other reason which causes injuries is running too much and not letting your body rest. Excessive running causes much soreness and muscle mass loss as well. Without an adequate diet, if you run too much, you will get weak and be prone to injuries.

Benefits of running

Running has many benefits apart from helping you lose weight. Most of us don’t even know about those, or don’t really acknowledge how beneficial running is. Some of the mentionable benefits of running are

  • It decreases the chances of you having a heart attack and stroke as well
  • As by running the overall blood flow gets better, you become less prone to cardiovascular diseases
  • Even the chances of cancer is reduced by running regularly
  • Running helps with various neurological problems such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s etc.

Now you know, you can enable all these health benefits just by running everyday. You should start running from today.

Cons of excessive running

Running is great for you unless you overdo it. Many studies showed that too much running thickens your heart tissues which leads to an irregular heartbeat. On the other hand, you don’t recover as much or as fast as you should. Which leads to laziness and dizziness all day.

On top of everything, your immunity gets degraded and your body can’t fight much against infections. Hormonal dysfunction is noticed in the case of some people as well.

how much should i run a day to lose weight

Frequently asked questions

a. How quickly will I see results from running?

Depending on your running plan, you might start seeing results within 4 to 6 weeks. Some people, especially beginners, notice changes even sooner in most cases.

b. Can I lose weight by running 30 minutes a day?

Running for 30 minutes will surely burn near about 200-450 calories depending on your overall condition. You can’t just lose weight by doing that once, if you run for 30 minutes for a specific number of days, you will surely lose weight.

c. Can running give you abs?

Abs depend on your body fat percentage. And if by running you can bring your body fat percentage down, specially under 13/14%. You will see your abs get visible.

d. Is running everyday bad?

Running everyday is bad for you if you overdo it. By running everyday you increase the chances of injuries and soreness and fatigue. You should have a rest day or two in a week.

e. Is it better to run in the morning or evening?

There’s no specific evidence on which time is better to run. But what you should maintain is a routine, and run at a specific time everyday. Some studies say running on an empty stomach in the morning is better if your goal is to lose weight.

f. Should I run on an empty stomach?

There’s no objection in running on an empty stomach as long as you can handle it. But make sure you are not putting yourself in much pressure.


Now that you know how much running you should do everyday, get out there and achieve your dream of losing that extra bit of weight. And be mindful about the precautions that you should take before and after running. Enjoy the run and don’t put yourself under pressure which your body can’t take.