“Running 3 miles burns how many calories?” is a common question that we get from a lot of people who are considering getting into running to lose weight.
Whether you’re trying to shed those extra pounds or stay in shape, burning calories is a must. So is running 3 miles a good way to torch calories and reach your weight loss goal?
Today’s article is all about answering this question as we discuss the benefits of running 3 miles, the caloric burn associated with the distance, and how to get started with it. Let’s jump in!
How Long Does It Take to Run 3 Miles?
If you’re just getting into running, you’re probably wondering how much time running 3 miles takes to complete. This is important information when it comes to planning your daily workout routine, so here’s what you should know:
If you’re a beginner runner who’s trying to cover a distance of 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) in decent time, then you should aim for a maximum time of 30 minutes. Less than 30 minutes puts you within the average time for running 3 miles.
Don’t worry, it’s not difficult to get this done. You should be able to run 3 miles in 30 minutes or less even if you incorporate a bunch of walking breaks into the run.
You should also note that 3 miles are almost the same distance as the infamous 5K, which is 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. As such, a beginner runner should aim to run at a speed of 6 mph.
- 6 mph is 6 miles in an hour or 3 miles in half an hour.
As you work on your pace and develop your running skills, you’ll gradually cover 3 miles in a shorter period.
Running 3 Miles Burns How Many Calories?
The American Council of Exercise came up with a chart to help people get a general idea about the number of calories they can burn doing a range of different exercises.
When it comes to the physical activity of running, the chart shows that a 120-pound person can burn 11.4 calories in 1 minute, while a 180-pound individual can burn 17 calories per minute.
Going on this information and assuming you’ll be running 3 miles in 30 minutes, then you’re looking at a caloric burn between 340 and 510 calories depending on your weight.
This is a very rough estimate though. Not only does your weight affects your calorie burn, but also your pace, metabolic rate, diet, age, sex, and so on.
We recommend using this Running Calorie Calculator to get an accurate estimation of the number of calories you’re set to torch in your particular case.
How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn to Lose Weight?
According to the USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center, losing 1 pound of weight in a week requires you to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume during that week.
In other words, you need to torch 500 calories every day to drop a single pound in a week. If you want to shed 2 pounds in a week, you need to decrease your calorie intake per day by 1,000 calories.
For a runner moving at an average pace, burning 3,500 calories is equivalent to running for 4 to 5 hours per week.
Running, Energy Expenditure, and Weight Loss
That said, let’s discuss the relationship between running, energy expenditure, and weight loss.
The key to achieving a weight loss goal is creating a calorie deficit. You could run every day of the week but still find that your weight didn’t budge when you got on the scale on the 7th day.
This happens because you’re torching fewer calories than you’re consuming. To shed those extra pounds, the number of calories you’re taking in must be less than the number of calories you’re burning.
As such, you can be a regular runner and not lose weight because -without realizing it- you’re consuming more calories than the running is burning.
Tips to Lose Weight for Runners
To help you on your weight loss journey as a runner, here are a few tips that you should follow:
1. Consider calorie calculation
Monitoring the number of calories you eat each day is important so you can keep up a calorie deficit using your diet and exercise plan. But before you can do this, you need to know how many calories you should be consuming per day.
The USDA recommends a 2000-calorie diet for the average person and offers dietary guidelines for it. But if you want to get more specific about your calorie calculation, we recommend using this Daily Caloric Expenditure calculator.
2. Divide your meals
One of the most common mistakes among dieting runners is eating too much after running, which is when you feel hungrier than you really are. This leads to consuming extra calories that you need, and eventually, more than you burn.
Dividing your meals throughout the day is an effective technique you can implement in your loss plan. Breaking up your calorie intake into multiple sessions won’t just prevent you from overeating at a certain time, but it’ll also keep you feeling full and boost your metabolism.
If you’re used to having 2 or 3 large meals over the day, try splitting them into 5 or 6 small meals.
3. Plan your meals
Planning what you eat is an excellent way to help you build habits for healthy living.
Scheduling and tracking your meals and snacks allows for healthier choices because your picks are more conscious and deliberate.
We found that one of the best ways to do this is by keeping a food journal. Having to document the type of food you’re eating and drinking as well as the times you choose to consume them throughout the day helps you better judge your diet.
It can be written or digital, either way, it’s going to make it easier for you to log what you eat and calculate the exact amount of calories you’re taking in.
4. Switch to healthy snacks
Who doesn’t like to snack? Unfortunately, snacking can ruin all your training and dieting efforts if you stick to sweets, candy, chips, and other junk food for snack choices.
These types of foods don’t just contain a lot of empty calories, but they also leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungrier than before.
You need to make sure that the majority of your snacks are healthy, not just your main meals. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, greek yogurt, and dark chocolate are all awesome examples of healthy snacks.
5. Don’t treat yourself using food
Not many people will tell you this, but treating yourself with food after a run -or any other exercise for that matter- is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. You’re basically putting the calories you’ve just torched back into your body, making all your effort count as nothing!
In fact, the “treat” may contain more calories than you burned, so you end up gaining weight despite running and working out. This goes to show how crucial a healthy diet is, even if you’re exercising every day.
Avoid consuming high-fat or high-sugar foods after your runs. You know what we’re talking about — that donut or burger waiting for you at the finish line won’t taste as sweet when you look at the scale later!
So instead of some cheesy fries or a chocolate bar, treat yourself using something not related to food such as a new pair of running shoes or a massage session.
6. Increase your mileage
Last but not least, take a look at your mileage.
If you’ve been a regular runner for a few weeks and you’re not losing weight as expected or you’ve even gained an extra pound or two, the problem could have something to do with the number of miles you cover per week.
Your total weekly mileage may not be enough to burn the extra calories. In this case, increasing your mileage will help you lose weight.
The required increase differs from one runner to another depending on many factors such as weight, pace, diet, age, and metabolic rate. That said, the rule of thumb is “the bigger the difference between your caloric intake and expenditure, the higher the chance you’ll lose weight”.
How Can Running 3 Miles Regularly Help You?
Besides losing weight, here are a couple of benefits to running 3 miles regularly:
Regular Running Boosts the Mood
Going for a run may not seem exciting at first, but it can make you feel a lot better afterward.
It’s not us just saying, it’s a scientific fact when it comes to doing aerobic exercises like running. It triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins, which are responsible for boosting the mood.
You don’t even have to run a full 3 miles or 30 minutes, just 10 or 15 minutes can do the trick! It’s what we call a “runner’s high” in the community.
So, if you’re looking to enrich your positive attitude with feelings of confidence and happiness, running 3 miles regularly can be exactly what you’re missing. In the long term, regular runs can help you fight anxiety and stress.
Running Improves Your Sleep
Going on regular runs can help you fall asleep easier if that’s something you struggle with.
As a form of moderate workout, running 3 miles every day or every other day counts can improve the quality of your sleep quality by decreasing your sleep onset, cutting down the time it takes you to fall into a deep sleep.
Being active also can reduce your daytime sleepiness, so you’re more dependent on nighttime to get your rest.
To make sure this works, we recommend that you avoid going on runs within the 2 hours before bedtime. The released endorphins can make you alert and prevent you from sleeping quickly.
What’s the Goal Pace for Running 3 Miles?
The pace for a runner is how much time it takes them to cover a distance of 1 mile. To find out the pace you need to aim for, you should divide the time you want to make by the distance you’re looking to cover.
The result will be the minimum pace you should maintain during the run. For beginner runners, it can be their goal pace.
So, what’s the goal pace for running 3 miles?
Following the rule above, it’s 10 minutes per mile. If you’re shooting for a 5K distance in 30 minutes, then your pace should be 9 minutes and 40 seconds per mile.
Of course, your pace will change if you want to take less time. A higher/faster pace means fewer minutes per mile.
To achieve this initial goal pace, you can stick to the rule that considers consistency as key. Here, maintaining a steady pace from start to end of the run is crucial during training to achieve any goal pace.
Setting off too fast is a common mistake among beginner runners when trying to reach their goal pace. This leads to burnout and failure to maintain a steady pace.
Some runners prefer the negative split technique. This is where the runner keeps a slightly slower pace for the first half of the distance and then runs faster for the second half.
Can You Run 3 Miles Every Day?
Another question you’re probably wondering by now is whether or not it’s possible to run 3 miles every day to ensure consistent calorie burn.
The answer is yes, it’s possible. Even if you’re not one of the experienced runners out there, you can still do it.
The key here is to start slow for the first few weeks then gradually increase your pace and mileage until you’re able to run the distance every day. For a beginner, training to run 3 miles every day should take about 2 months.
It’s important not to begin too intensely to avoid injuries or burning yourself out.
Final Thoughts On Running 3 Miles Burns How Many Calories
“Running 3 miles burns how many calories?” is an important question to answer when you’re formulating a weight loss plan as a runner.
Assuming you’ll be running 3 miles in 30 minutes (a beginner’s level), you can expect a caloric burn of between 340 and 510 calories depending on your weight.
This is a very rough range as it also depends on your pace, metabolic rate, diet, age, sex, and so on. We recommend using this Running Calorie Calculator to get an accurate estimation of the number of calories you’re set to torch in your particular case.