Weekly running calories?

I have cut back a bit on running volume since my HM and 10K a few weeks ago - but now starting to build up again, mostly with easy running but a little bit harder at parkrun and a short fartlek day once per week.

This past week I have completed 2hours 30 minutes of running ( nearly all non-stop) , 20klms and Garmin tells me it cost 1500 calories. 1500 cals per day is around my basal metabolic rate for an otherwise sedentary life. I may be currently eating/drinking more than or less of this, don't really know. But this means that I have essentially used up one whole day's food intake - at least as much as I would be supposed to consume to cover my BMR.

Is this a valid way of looking at things?? Am intending to increase my weekly volume at least another hour to 3hours 30mins. During my training for the HM, I did one day of 3&1/2 hours!! :)

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18 Replies

  • I know you Bazza your going to get into this question and I for one will be waiting to hear about it. All the time I have been training/running my weight has stayed more or less the same, hormones have caused a rise in the last 6 months but I was going out for 400-1200 kcal runs and not losing any weight, no matter how much I jiggled the food input to output nothing was sustainable for me and weight loss. I know I have the added complication of my metabolism being controlled by tablets rather than naturally (only got 1/2 a thyroid and it dosent work too well) but with all the research I did I couldn't find the equation that made sense to me and longer distance training. I have now cut my heart rate down and distance down and as usual the weight is coming off. I'm not eating any less just training less. I am Suspicious of the calorie in and calorie out equations that are used as depending which one you use the results are different. I have two sources Garmin and Smash run and the are always 120-300 kcal different to the exact same run, both use pace and HRM?

    I wait to hear your research on this.

  • Realfoodie -- I have read one website which goes into great technical detail about how these various technology gadgets calculate calories expended - have also read another website which claims that the old formula of 3500 cals expended = 1 lb of weight loss is inaccurate over a long period of time spent "dieting" - and for a years "dieting" one needs to think more along the lines of 7000 calories per 1lb weight loss. Basically because as you do lose weight over time , you need to increase the food calorie deficit.

    Who knows the answer??? - and whether these gadgets are in any way accurate. I just know that we all today eat very energy dense foods and a lot of it. I can remember back 60 years to when I was a child and we all never ever ate or drank what we all do now. Money, food, drink are so much more readily available today than back then!!!!! Mind- boggling so!!!!!

    I can't say that I have ever felt the need to increase food intake due to increased "hunger" after doing workouts -- but I do tend to do so when I am "bored" at home and not doing anything.

  • On my marathon training runs I burnt over 200 calories at time. as it took up most of the day, I generally ate like crazy the day after. I havent got it right yet and I would love to know more how to do it. I get horrifically hungry and crave things like chicken thighs.

  • JuJu- I think you might have left a zero off that calories number??? My Garmin tells me that I used 1500 cals during a 22Klm training run/walk. That one run is equivalent to all of my training last week :) -- although it is interesting to note that the run lasted for 3&1/4 hours - whereas the total of my last weeks running was only 2&1/2 hours. I also ran the actual HM in around 2&1/2 hours - but at a faster pace than the longer training run

  • I'm dieting and therefore counting calories. I eat an extra 250-300 calories on my running days - I run for around 30 minutes in a very moderate tempo. That is just based on what My Fitness Pal tells me that my running is worth in calories and it is probably not a very exact number. But I'm pragmatic and it works (I lose weight as planned) so no reason for me to go deeper into the technicalities. But I would love to hear more.

  • But if you eat an EXTRA 250-300 calories on your running days, then you cannot lose any weight due to the calories expended during your running???

  • True, I lose weight on the basis of my diet/reduced calorie intake. What I mean to say is, that the 250-500 extra calories do not slow down my weight loss so I think they match quite well what I burn on a run... But I know that no scientist would be satisfied with that assumption

  • I take part in medical research into diabetes. I have an accurate measurement of my BMR from that. Basically they place you in a hood for 15 mins and measure your use of oxygen. My BMR is just under 2,000 calories per day, 1,500 sounds low for a man Bazza. They also attached me to a heart rate monitor and movement detector for a week, from this I could see that my Garmin underestimates - it calculated something like 370 for a 5KM run, from the research I could see it was more like 550. (Sorry I don't have the exact figures to hand.

    According to Garmin I burnt 5500 calories last month running 85 KM, if I understand this correctly that's equal to under 1Kg of weight loss if I didn't make any other changes (like eating more cos I'm starving after my runs!)

    I didn't want to lose any weight when I took up running, I've been the same weight since my 20s apart from a few blips. Nevertheless I lost about 6 or 7 KGs over the course of the C25K programme. Despite being quite slim I was gobsmacked to find out from a DEXA scan conducted during the research that I have a body fat percentage of 28%, this is apparently normal for a woman...

    I've found I have quite a high tolerance for calories if you know what I mean. Sometimes I can eat a lot, sometimes not much at all, and nothing much happens to my weight. I have to make massive changes if I want to lose or increase. Maybe this is because I don't eat junk...

  • Interesting! My BMR only comes from one of those online calculators. Age for me does make a fair difference to my BMR - I'm old , ya see!! I am not especially looking for more weight loss at the moment - any weight loss I get seems to come in "waves" - I stay stable for quite a long time when I think that I should be losing weight - then it comes almost every day until it decides to stabilise once again. :) I can do up my shoelaces now and balance on one leg ( aside from running a half marathon , that is! ) :)

  • I was under the impression that as a general rule women need 2,000, and men 2,500, 1,500 is the point at which men lose weight, that's 1,200 for women. Are you sure yours is 1,500?

  • 1421 actually - according to this website Male, 165cms, 73Kg, 70YO =1421. It is quite possible that these generic calculators are not completely accurate???

  • I checked and mine said 2195 - for 3-5 moderate exercise activities per week. Is that about what you do?

  • No - I like to keep my running "separate" - as I sort of know how many cals I use when running (from Garmin) - so I work out my BMR using the "sedentary" setting , which is what I would be if I did not run :) . I don't actually count calories anyway - so I have no accurate idea how much I eat/drink really - I just started this thread because it struck me that my running activities each week are/chewing up one whole day of what should be my sedentary "allowance" :)

    At the end of the day however, it also seems to me that provided I keep off the daily vino, I can either lose weight or stay trim, taut and terrific as I currently am :) -- but the running doesn't seem to do much for me weightwise. ???

  • Ah gotcha, yes that sounds sensible to keep your exercise separate. No I agree, running doesn't really do much weightwise, but for my part anyway, I feel if your metabolism isn't "broken" by eating too much sugar, your body will tell you what it wants. I find I am much hungrier after a short interval run than I am after a long slow run, for instance. Hunger usually comes the next day, and if you listen to your body (within reason) you will put back what you've used.

  • I wonder if the calculators that say we should eat less as we get older @Bazza1234 allow for those of us that choose to exercise? Rather like the mental 'leap' that hasn't been made regarding how different, in the main, we older people are now when compared to, say, even 40 years ago. I mean c'mon special gentle exercise classes for the over 50's! Or is that just me getting it wrong - again 😚

  • I think that it is a fair thing to say that, in general, we need less calories as we age. Not just because we tend to get less physically active with advancing age but real aging things like muscle loss, different sleep patterns, etc. I notice on one calculator that I have used that there is a difference between BMR for a sedentary 50yo and a sedentary 70yo of only 100 cals per day. 100 cals is not much really - and I believe that the obesity I see in fellow aged Aussies comes probably from eating/drinking much more in excess of that each day!! - AND without much exercise as well. We here are quite a "unique" group of aging men and women - how many of our ages are doing what we do - not many!!!

    But like you, I am amused /annoyed when I look up "exercises for seniors", etc on the internet - and I find mostly exercises done while sitting in a chair !!! :)

    earlier this year, wife and I went on a long ( 7 weeks) Indian Ocean cruise - mostly people 60YO+ on the ship - basically all retirees. I have been a fairly regular drinker in the past - trying to be not so regular these days - and booze on these ships is expensive - BUT we were on holiday so I would have one or two drinks when I felt like it maybe every few days. My biggest problem was trying to get to the bar - the amount of drinking being done every day by this large group of quite elderly people convinced me that was why they were ALL fat!!!!! :)

  • Ha ha, surely as you are whippet thin you could slip between them?

  • My local gym has chair-a-cise, sitting in a chair lifting your arms one at a time, for over 50s. I find it quite insulting...although perhaps some people benefit from it. It's not for wheelchair bound people, just ordinary people who don't want to over do it....

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