Not that it really matters, but I was perplexed by the difference in calories used between some of my runs...

For instance

Distance 10K, time 1 hour 21 minutes, calories used 709

Distance 6.5K, time 1 hour 4 minutes, calories used 816

The shorter run was in my early days and includes a lot of walking at the beginning and end, how can it burn more calories than the longer non-stop run? Or is Runkeeper just having a "moment"?

21 Replies

  • A lot of the calorie conversions are simplistic. I don't know how runkeeper calculates, but I suspect (and I'm putting two and two together here, and possibly getting five) that on your first 5k run it's somehow managed to add in your warm up period and treat it as if it was all run at the maximum rate. I normally just look at the calorie estimates that I get for my runs and have a good laugh. I often find that I'm "awarded" more calories for running a 10K slowly than I am if I run the same distance fast because the calculation obviously uses time as a factor, but then doesn't differentiate between fast running and sloww running - it's all just "running".

    I do know that, if I ate back all my exercise calories that I get from different apps I would very soon be Mr Michelin Man.

  • Was it the same route or was there more vertical gain in the second one?

  • I wondered about that, the second indeed was very steep at the end - too steep to run in fact. That said, of course, it was steeply down at the beginning! Does Runkeeper take account of elevation?

  • No idea. My Garmin certainly does. I know I burn a heck of a lot more claories on hill days than flat.

  • Ah, maybe that's it then..

  • Does your calorie calculator measure heart-rate? Many watches etc that give a calorie-count base it on heart rate. If you were out of shape on your first run then your heart rate may have been higher giving a higher (perceived or actual) calorie count. Now, when you are fitter, you can run longer without your heart rate hitting such heights and the calorie calculation stays lower.

    Similarly, some devices use body-weight in the calculation; if you have lost weight (e.g. through running) then the count will be lower.

  • No, it's just Runkeeper, GPS tracking on my phone. My weight hasn't changed significantly..

  • Sounds like an aberration then, although it could be related to elevation, as above - even if it only counts steps, I tend to take many smaller steps going up hill (and steep down hill) than I do on the flat.

  • It's GPS, not a step counter, I'm tending to agree with Rig, it's the elevation XX

  • Ah - I see. Sorry I thought the GPS you were referring to was in addition to "runkeeper" I've now discovered the Ap' so I know what you mean now - sorry! I expect you are right - my Garmin measures elevation and garmin connect can also refer to topological maps to calculate it I think.

  • I reckon runkeeper was having a moment to be honest, of course it isnt that simple but one hour 21 on your feet running continuously definitely burns more than 706, especially when its your first time going that long, Im sure it depends on alot of other things but I think that generally its 100 calories per mile, but most people will burn alot more than that!

  • Runkeeper didn't seem to think I'd burned as many calories as that when running for longer. I am pushed to get above 200 calories burned in most of my endeavours. MyFitnessPal is always much more generous but I suspect Runkeeper is nearer the truth. For me anyway.

  • Reallyy? Ahh thats interesting, completely different experience for me, Runkeeper seems to always overestimate my calories compared to other apps, always hitting 1000 calories quite easily on long runs, so I try not to listen to it and go with others, just goes to show that its all very subjective buisness.

  • All I know is that running does not use enough calories for the effort involved!

  • Couldn't agree more!

  • Calories aside-- you are certainly progressing with the running - 10K in 80 minutes!!! I find it very difficult to pace these longer distances - 10K is such a LONG way that I tend to do them perhaps a bit too conservatively. My non-stop time for 10K is around that time also - although using a 4/1 run/walk ratio I am hoping to do it in 70 minutes next week in an official "race" . This heat here is getting to me a little bit lately though.

  • Thanks Bazza, my first, and only so far, 10K, I was pleased with the time. I'll be back boiling with you soon...

  • Does anyone else convert their 'calories burned' into 'wine allowed'?

  • This is a fairly normal conversion in my opinion :)

  • Nah, I just drink the wine anyway!

  • Update - I've been on to RK and they said it was just a

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