How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Half Marathon 2024?

Tackling 13.1 miles is no small feat, and the energy you’ll use is just as impressive. “How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Half Marathon? Experts Explain” breaks down the endurance and calorie expenditure of this famous long-distance run.

How Many Calories Do You Burn in a Half Marathon?

What Is a Half Marathon?

A half marathon is a road running event that spans exactly 13.1 miles or about 21.1 kilometers. It’s a test of endurance, speed, and strength, serving as a stepping stone for many runners aiming to tackle a full marathon.

Calories Burned: The Basics

The calories burned during a half marathon can vary widely based on several factors. Your body weight, the pace you run, and your fitness level all play crucial roles.

On average, running burns about 100 calories per mile, but this is a rough estimate. Think of calories as your body’s fuel — the harder your engine works (aka your body), the more fuel it burns!

Determining Personal Calorie Expenditure

To estimate calorie expenditure during a half marathon, you can apply a simple formula that factors in distance, body weight, and an exercise-specific MET (Metabolic Equivalent of Task):

  • MET value for running = 0.63
  • Formula: Distance (13.1 miles) × Weight (lbs) × MET value = Estimated calories burned

Your age and specific health and fitness level also influence the calories burnt. But don’t fret about the numbers – they’re a guide to help you plan your nutrition and celebrate the incredible energy you’ve put into your race!

Maximizing Calorie Burn

A person running a half marathon on a treadmill, with a digital display showing the number of calories burned increasing rapidly

Boosting your endurance and speed will exponentially increase the calories you burn. As your fitness level advances, your body becomes more efficient at burning calories. Implement these training strategies:

  • Interval Training: Alternating between high-intensity sprints and recovery periods increases calorie burn both during and after your workouts.
  • Long Runs: Gradually increase your mileage each week to up your endurance and the rate at which your body burns calories.
  • Strength Training: Include two to three sessions per week to build muscle, which in turn boosts your resting metabolic rate.

Nutrition and Diet for Enhanced Performance

Your nutrition fuels your training and impacts how your body burns calories. Here are key dietary tips to consider:

  • Carb Loading: Increase your intake of carbohydrates a few days before long training runs to maximize glycogen stores.
  • Balanced Diet: Aim for a mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to fuel your body efficiently.
  • Hydration: Proper fluid intake is crucial for maintaining metabolism and preventing fatigue.

Remember, your calorie intake needs to support your increased activity level without creating excess that your body stores as fat.

Race Day Strategies

On the day of the half marathon, fine-tune your calorie burn with these methods:

  • Running Speed: Maintain a steady pace that challenges you without causing burnout; the faster you run, the more calories you burn.
  • In-Race Fuelling: Replenish glycogen stores with easy-to-digest carbs to maintain energy and calorie burning during the race.
  • Pre-Race Meal: Eat a well-balanced meal high in carbs but low in fiber the morning of the race to fuel your starting energy stores.

Measurement and Progress Tracking

A digital fitness tracker displaying the distance covered and calories burned during a half marathon

Fitness Trackers and Apps: These are your digital companions in the quest to quantify calories burned. By inputting your personal details like age, weight, and running pace, these tools use complex algorithms to estimate your caloric expenditure. Look for apps with a half marathon calorie calculator that factor in your cardiovascular fitness level and the specific demands of such an endurance activity.

  • Heart Rate Monitors: These devices help calculate calorie burn by measuring your heart rate and oxygen consumption during the race, giving you a more personalized reading of your energy use.
  • Smart Watches: Integrating GPS and fitness tracking features, smartwatches offer real-time data on your running pace, distance covered, and estimated caloric expenditure.

Physical Considerations and Adjustments

Body Composition and Exercise Intensity: Your body mass and muscle-to-fat ratio significantly affect calories burned. More muscular runners may expend more energy due to the increased effort required to propel their body forward.

  1. Adjust for Weight Loss: If your goal is weight loss, remember that the number of calories you burn will also slightly decrease as you shed pounds. Keep updating your fitness tracker to reflect these changes for accurate readings.
  2. Consider EPOC: Post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC reflects the extra calories your body burns as it recovers. The higher the intensity of your half marathon, the more significant the EPOC effect will be.


Do you lose weight running a half marathon?

Yes, you can lose weight running a half marathon as it burns many calories and can contribute to a calorie deficit.

How many calories does an average man burn running a marathon?

An average man burns approximately 2,600 to 3,500 calories running a marathon, depending on pace and body weight.

How many calories does a 5K burn?

A 5K run typically burns 300 to 400 calories, depending on speed, weight, and running efficiency.

How many calories does a 10k burn?

Running a 10K generally burns about 600 to 800 calories, with the exact number depending on individual characteristics and running conditions.

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