How Many Calories Does Running 2 Miles Burn
A 2-mile run is a runner’s sweet spot; it’s short but challenging—the perfect amount of running to keep you active and at peak performance!
It has other benefits, too, such as weight loss, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and even improved heart health.
If you started these 2-mile daily runs for the sake of burning calories, you’re probably itching to know the answer to this question: how many calories does running 2 miles burn?
In this article, we’ll discuss just how much you’ll burn if you were to run 2 miles every day. We’ll also show you how to calculate the expected calories burned as per your weight, time, and exercise intensity in a concise, straightforward manner.
Let’s dive right in!
How Many Calories Does Running 2 Miles Burn?
There’s no single answer to this question. The number of calories burned when running 2 miles differs from person to person, as it’s entirely dependent on the runner’s weight, speed, and the metabolic equivalent of a task (MET).
According to a study conducted by Harvard Medical School in 2021, running 2 miles at a speed of 12 minutes per mile burns anywhere between 192 calories to 284 calories, depending on the runner’s weight and activity.
Here’s how many calories a person would normally burn in regular 2-mile runs without stopping:
- 125-pound person – 192 calories
- 155-pound person – 238 calories
- 284-pound person – 284 calories
On the other hand, here’s how many calories a person would burn if they were to run cross-country non-stop for 2 miles:
- 125-pound person – 255 calories
- 155-pound person – 316 calories
- 284-pound person – 316 calories
It’s important to note that calories burned don’t change significantly per mile with speed. If a 125-pound person were to run 9 minutes per mile rather than 12 minutes per mile, she or he will burn around 198 calories instead of 192 calories.
So, if you’re planning to lose weight through running, don’t focus much on speed; focus on the mileage.
3 Major Factors that Affect Calories Burned
As discussed above, the number of calories burned by a person is dependent on multiple factors.
If you were to manually calculate how many calories you’ll burn on a given activity, you’ll have to factor in three key factors: body mass, duration of the activity, and exercise intensity, which can be measured through the metabolic equivalent of the task (MET).
There are other factors as well, like age, fitness level, body composition, diet, sleep, and even temperature, but these factors aren’t as important—or rather, as impactful—as the first three.
1. Body Mass
Generally, larger individuals with more muscle, fat, or height burn more calories.
The higher the weight, the more burned calories per single session.
This is because larger individuals exert more energy during exercise than smaller individuals.
People with larger bodies tend to have larger internal organs (i.e., lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver), which likewise contributes to the calories burned.
Scientific data suggests that up to 43% of the calories burned in groups of different-sized individuals could be explained by the size of their internal organs.
Naturally, the longer you exercise, the more calories you burn.
Longer routines burn more calories, regardless of the intensity.
For example, a 30-second sprint, although more intense, burns fewer calories than a sustained 30-minute run of low intensity.
3. Exercise Intensity
Although obvious, it’s still worth mentioning: the more intense the workout, the greater number of calories you’ll burn.
Intense activities raise a person’s heart rate, which then forces the body to consume more oxygen. This shows that the intensity of exercise and oxygen consumption have a linear relationship; the harder the exercise, the more oxygen the body consumes.
Since oxygen consumption is closely related to a person’s body mass, it’s possible to create a standard for the oxygen consumed per body mass. This makes calculating the number of calories burned much easier, as you can measure the activity through its metabolic equivalent.
The metabolic equivalent of task (MET) is a standard unit that estimates the rate at which a person expends energy during physical activity.
For example, low-intensity upper body exercise has an MET of 2.8, while aerobic dance wearing 10 to 15-pound weight has an MET of 10. Running 2 miles at a rate 13 minutes per mile has an MET value of 3.
Encyclopædia Britannica’s ProCon website lists the MET values for 800+ activities, which you can refer to when calculating the calories burned when running.
How to Calculate How Much Calories You’ve Burned
When calculating how many calories you’ll likely burn on a 2-mile run, use the following equation:
- Calories Burned per Minute = Time × MET × Body Weight (in kilograms) / 200
For example, let’s say you weigh approximately 160 pounds and you’re planning to run 2 miles at a rate of 13 minutes per mile.
Using the above calculation, we can estimate that you’ll burn around 229 calories at a pace of 13 minutes per mile for 2 miles.
It’s important to note that MET equations provide semi-accurate estimations at best.
Modern technology has yet to provide us with 100% accurate calculations of how many calories are burned per activity, so use the equation with that in mind.
For best results, manually track the progress you wish to seek instead of relying on calorie counters or trackers.
Does Running 2 Miles a Day Help You Lose Weight?
You can indeed lose weight by running 2 miles a day or even every other day. On average, you can burn anywhere between 150 to 300 calories during the running session.
It might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still a good step towards your weight loss goal.
With that said, 2 miles a day might not be sufficient if you want to notice a significant difference in weight loss.
Remember: one pound is equal to 3,500 calories. If you want to lose a pound a week, you need to run at least 35 miles a week.
This means that if you run seven days a week (which we don’t recommend—have at least one day of rest a week, minimum!), you’ll need to run 5 miles each day.
On top of that, you’ll also need to make several changes to your diet. To effectively lose weight, you’ll have to analyze your diet so you can turn food into energy.
You don’t necessarily need to count your calories or go on a special diet, but you do need to be a bit more conscious of your food intake.
Here are some energy foods that every runner should eat, according to conditioning specialist Aleisha Fetters:
- Full-fat Greek yogurt
- Frozen berries
- Whole grains
- Lean beef
As a runner, you need at least half a gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Spread your protein intake throughout the day so your body can properly burn the protein you’ve consumed and turn it into energy.
Also, eat three full meals a day instead of six or so small meals.
Eating throughout the day increases the digestive enzymes that stimulate the gut, making you feel hungrier throughout the day.
Additionally, avoid consuming sugary, high-calorie drinks and energy bars. They might do a good job in giving you energy for your runs, but they won’t contribute to your weight loss—especially if you’re only running 2 miles a day.
High-calorie snacks and drinks are completely unnecessary for 2-mile runs.
Replace these snacks and sugary drinks with healthy low-calorie alternatives such as coconut water (high in electrolytes), pineapple (low calorie, rich in nutrients), and banana (contains fiber, which keeps you full).
How Fast Should Your 2-Mile Runs Be to Burn Calories?
As mentioned earlier, the calories burned don’t change significantly per mile with speed. Even if you take longer than average to complete 2 miles, you’ll more or less burn the same number of calories.
In general, noncompetitive runners take anywhere between 9 to 10 minutes to run a mile. Beginners take a bit longer, around 12 to 15 minutes on average. Elite runners complete a mile in less than 4 to 5 minutes.
Depending on your endurance level, it may take you anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes to run 2 miles. This is a good baseline to start with.
To effectively burn calories, reduce your rest time and try to run the full 2 miles without stopping. As you get used to your 2-mile runs, you’ll gradually notice an improvement in your speed.
Let the speed come naturally to you; before long, you’ll clock in more than 2 miles a day with the same amount of time!
5 Tips to Follow When Running 2 Miles a Day
Depending on how you go about it, running 2 miles a day can either be a walk in the park or an uphill battle. Here are some tips to make your 2-mile runs a little easier:
1. Create a Schedule and Stick To It
Create a running schedule ahead of time and treat it like an appointment you can’t miss. Prioritize it like any other activity you’re going to do that day and stick to it. Consistency creates stronger habits, and consistency is what you need on your daily runs.
Start your week by scheduling when and where you’ll run. Try to squeeze it in even on your busiest days.
If you can’t go in the morning, try to do it at night just before dinner time.
For example, run at 8 am on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday, and at 8 pm on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Stick to this schedule as much as you can.
2. Plan Your Meals In Advance
One of the biggest struggles of losing weight is eating the right meals every day.
It’s easy to get carried away with little snacks and sugary drinks, and while a “cheat meal” once every so often isn’t going to do any harm, planning your meals out in advance makes your weight loss journey more manageable.
This way, you don’t have to worry about what you need to eat before, during, and after your runs.
Before the week starts, go to the grocery store and purchase the items you need for your weekly breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Create a simple menu and prep the more time-consuming meals ahead of time.
While you’re at it, replace or at least cut down your alcoholic drinks. Alcohol lowers your energy and dampens your mood, which may prevent you from going on your daily runs.
3. Don’t Stop At Only 2 Miles
Running 2 miles every day can help you burn calories, but only to a certain extent.
If you really want to lose weight and build muscle, don’t just settle on 2 miles a day. Once you get comfortable on your 2-mile runs, gradually increase your mileage to three, four, and even five miles a day.
4. Get a Running Partner
Have you ever heard of the quote, “Happiness is running with a friend”? Well, it’s true!
Running with a friend or loved one might give you the motivation you need to commit to a daily run. It kills 2 birds with one stone: not only will you burn calories, but it’ll also give you some time to spend with your best friend. Furthermore, running with another person gives you a little bit of a challenge. If your friend runs faster than you, you’ll naturally want to keep up!
Another great thing about running with a friend is that it gives you an extra bit of security, especially if you’re running early in the day or late at night.
If all your friends are busy, you can instead join a running group! You can find these groups in running clubs like Road Runners Club of America. You can also join charity group training programs or free group training runs for upcoming road races.
5. Add In Some Other Exercises
Running is a fantastic calorie burner, in fact it’s the winner for most burned calories per hour. However, don’t restrict yourself to just running; mix your routine every now and then!
Other exercises that burn calories include:
- Jump rope
- Water polo
Final Thoughts On How Many Calories Does Running 2 Miles Burn
The answer to the question, “how many calories does running 2 miles burn?” is dependent on multiple factors, including your weight, the time spent on your runs, and the intensity of your runs among other things (age, sex, fitness level, etc).
In general, though, you can burn anywhere between 190 to 300 calories on 2-mile runs, as per the study conducted by Harvard University.