Calories Burned Running vs Cycling

Calories Burned Running vs Cycling – How Much Do You Burn?

Calories Burned Running vs Cycling

Running and cycling is an exercise that millions of people do every day. The health benefits of both typically outweigh that of other sports, so it’s no secret that running and cycling are the go-to sports for burning calories. But what are the differences between calories burned running vs cycling?

In this article we look at the differences between each sport and how you can increase the amount your burn per hour. While this isn’t 100% accurate it does give you a decent figure to understand how much each sport uses.


How Many Calories Does Running Burn Per Mile?

First, let us look at the calories burned running 1 mile. For the average person, running 1 mile will typically burn between 80 and 140 calories. This number will fluctuate between people, as the calories burned are dictated by your weight, speed, efficiency, and conditions.

How Many Calories Does Biking Burn Per Mile?

Now the calories burned cycling per mile is much less at 40 to 80 calories. That is because running uses more muscles than cycling, and in a way, cycling is a much more efficient means of moving forward.

However, if you comparing calories burned running vs cycling, it will depend on the duration and intensity. Both these factors largely dictate how many calories we burn in either sport.

Even though the difference might be small, if you increase the exercise length, you really start to see a large difference in the number of calories burned.

How Many Calories Does Running Burn Per Hour?

How Many Calories Does Cycling Burn Per Hour?

Let’s take cycling as another example. If you are training at a low aerobic intensity, you can expect to burn anywhere around 400 to 700 calories per hour cycling.

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These figures are calculated on the average person biking at a speed of 13mph (21kph). The lower number of calories burned is a lightweight rider around 55kg, while on the upper end of the scale is a rider weighing 90kg. As you can see, weight plays a large role in how many calories are burned in cycling.

However, there are a lot of variables that can influence calories burned in cycling vs running. Aerodynamics is one of the largest influences on energy expenditure, so this alone can impact the results.

Here is a basic estimate of expenditure during an hour of cycling

Weight of Rider Speed Calories
55kg 21km/hr 440
75kg 21km/hr 600
90kg 21km/hr 720
55kg 29km/hr 660
75kg 29km/hr 900
90kg 29km/hr 1080

How Many Calories Does Running Burn Per Hour?

How Many Calories Does Running Burn Per Hour?

The number of calories burned running for one hour is much greater. You can expect anywhere from 700cal up to 1000cal for easy aerobic running. Again the results are dictated by variables such as their weight and the surface they are running on.

If we take an example of a 200-pound person running at 12min/mile pace (8kph) on a flat surface, they will burn upwards of 750 calories per hour.

So the difference between calories burned running vs cycling is quite large. So if you are comparing running vs cycling in terms of weight loss, stick with running.

How to Burn More Calories Running?

After looking at the estimated numbers, you may be wondering how to burn more calories running.

Unfortunately, most people think that running more miles equates to more weight loss. While this is somewhat true, the body actually becomes more efficient the more you run. So the actual amount of calories you burn becomes less as the body adapts.

But luckily, there are some ways to burn more calories. You can do this by increasing the intensity of the longer runs, or by adding some interval training into your schedule.

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Workouts like tempo running or 1 km intervals are a great way to increase your metabolism and increase the amount you burn in a workout. Just remember not to overload the body with too many of these workouts per week, otherwise, you may find yourself out injured for some weeks.

Below are some great workouts for increasing calories burned running in a single session.

Tempo Running
– Warm up for 10 minutes easy running
– Complete 20 minutes at 24 to 30 seconds slower per mile than your 5k PB
– Warm down with easy running for 10 minutes

As your body adapts to this workout, increase the duration of the tempo run to 25 minutes, then 30 minutes.

Marathon pace
– Warm up for 5-10 minutes
– Followed by 6×15 minutes at your marathon pace
– Rest with easy jogging between for 5 minutes.
– Warm down for 5-10 minutes easy jogging

When your body becomes more accustomed to the workout, increase the duration of each interval, and reduce the number of repetitions.

Other workouts like hill repeats, 1km intervals, and fartlek sessions are all good workouts to increase calories burned running. If your goal is to lose weight, then try implementing two of these sessions per week for the ultimate weight loss workout.

How to burn more calories cycling?

How to Burn More Calories Cycling?

Just like running adding interval training into your cycling training can help increase the rate of calories burned. Since your body can handle more stress on the bike than running, you can include more interval workouts per week.

To burn the most calories per hour cycling, try adding a few of these workouts each week into your plan.

Long ride with Tempo
– Warm up for 10 minutes with easy cycling
– Cycle for 1hour in zone 2
– Increase the intensity into zone 3 for 60 minutes
– Go back to zone 2 for 1 hour
– Warm down easy for 10 minutes.

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The workout can be quite taxing if you don’t have a lot of mileage behind you. So make sure your fitness level is at a reasonable level before doing this workout. This workout is a great way to increase expenditure and can be used to replace your long ride.

Threshold intervals
– Warm up with easy cycling for 10-15 minutes
– In low zone 4, complete 4×10 minutes
– Take 3 minutes recovery in zone 1 between
– Warm down for 10 minutes easy

Threshold intervals are a great way to include a more intense interval workout into your training. It can not only help you burn more calories but also improve your FTP and lactate threshold.

If you are looking for shorter workouts that can be done inside on the trainer – Check out our indoor 30-60 minute indoor cycling workouts.



Both sports provide a great alternative to heading to the gym and a more fun way to burn those unwanted calories. Just remember the amount you burn will vary depending on factors such as:

– Weight
– Speed
– Surface
– Temperature
– Terrain

– Weight
– Intensity
– Aerodynamics
– Terrain
– Cadence

While there are a lot of calculators out there, they aren’t that accurate. But they provide an estimated idea of how much you will burn. Below is probably the most-accurate calorie calculator online, but remember this is still off by a large margin.

TDEE Calculator
One of the more accurate calculators, it can get within 10% of the correct figure.

Other tools such as Garmin devices and Jawbone often underestimate the numbers. Then you have tools like Fitbit and Misfit that overestimate by a great deal.

So take whatever tool you use for calorie expenditure and take it with a grain of salt.

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