# Calories burned running and walking

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# 1 The Difference Between Running and Walking

Running and walking are two different forms of movement. In running you either have one foot on the ground or both feet in the air; both feet are never on the ground at the same time. In contrast, when walking you either have one or both feet on the ground and never have both feet in the air. Sometimes people think that basic physics means that it should take the same energy to move a human over a given distance regardless of running or walking. However, both running and walking are quite inefficient, so most of the energy expended does not go to forward movement. This is most easily seen when you compare a runner with a cyclist; for the same effort, the cyclist will move far faster. This means that the energy cost of running and walking is mostly around how much energy is wasted in each form of movement.

# 2 Do You Burn More Calories Running or Walking?

Generally, the answer is that running burns more calories per mile than walking, but as is so often the case, the real answer is "it depends".

• If you're running at a moderate pace, you burn more calories per mile and per hour than walking at a moderate pace.
• If you're race walking, then you can burn more calories per mile than running. (Race walking here is faster than about 14:00 min/mile.)
• The relative Calories per hour for race walking and running will depend on the exact paces.

# 3 Should You Run or Walk in an Ultramarathon?

The table below gives some insight into when you should run and when you should walk in an ultra. This table shows how the slope would change your pace if you keep the same effort (Calories per hour). The first column is the running pace on the flat, then each column shows the pace you would travel if you run or walk on various slopes. The table is based on the available research, and there are obviously some practical limitations that make some values unreasonable for most people. As noted above, it's more efficient to walk than to run on level ground, up to the natural transition pace of about 14:00 min/mile. What's surprising is that it is also more efficient to run than walk on uphill sections, even as the equivalent pace drops. So, if you're able to run at a 10:00 min/mile on the flat, you could go up a 10% grade with the same effort at 16:35 min/mile when running or 17:39 min/mile when walking. This seems rather bizarre when both paces are below the natural transition pace (see below), but when I tested this out I found to my surprise it appears to be true. That doesn't mean you should run up the hills, as walking may be a useful break and using different muscles may help with fatigue. In addition, unless you've practiced race walking technique it's unlikely you'll be able to efficiently hit the faster downhill walking paces, where you may be able to hit the downhill running pace. For example, if you're running a 10:00 min/mile pace on the level, you may be able to handle running the 5:59 min/mile pace down a 10% decline, but few people will be able to walk at a 7:28 min/mile pace down the same slope. So it may not make much difference if you take walking breaks uphill or on the level, but you don't want to take them on the downhill sections. (In the table below, I've used a blue font where the walking pace is faster than the equivalent running pace.)

Equiv Pace on Slope
-10% -8% -6% -4% -2% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20%
Flat Running Pace Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk Run Walk
5:00 2:59 5:40 3:16 6:02 3:37 6:25 4:01 6:50 4:29 7:16 5:00 7:43 5:34 8:12 6:11 8:43 6:51 9:15 7:33 9:48 8:17 10:23 9:04 10:60 9:53 11:38 10:44 12:17 11:36 12:58 12:31 13:40
6:00 3:35 6:07 3:56 6:32 4:21 6:60 4:50 7:29 5:23 8:00 6:00 8:33 6:41 9:08 7:25 9:46 8:13 10:25 9:03 11:07 9:57 11:50 10:53 12:36 11:52 13:23 12:52 14:13 13:56 15:05 15:01 15:58
7:00 4:11 6:31 4:35 6:60 5:04 7:31 5:38 8:05 6:17 8:41 7:00 9:20 7:48 10:02 8:39 10:46 9:35 11:33 10:34 12:23 11:36 13:16 12:42 14:12 13:50 15:10 15:01 16:11 16:15 17:15 17:31 18:22
8:00 4:47 6:52 5:14 7:24 5:47 7:60 6:26 8:38 7:11 9:20 8:00 10:05 8:54 10:53 9:53 11:45 10:57 12:40 12:04 13:39 13:16 14:42 14:31 15:49 15:49 16:59 17:10 18:13 18:34 19:31 20:01 20:53
9:00 5:23 7:11 5:54 7:47 6:31 8:26 7:15 9:09 8:04 9:56 9:00 10:47 10:01 11:43 11:08 12:42 12:19 13:47 13:35 14:56 14:55 16:10 16:19 17:28 17:47 18:52 19:19 20:21 20:53 21:55 22:31 23:34
10:00 5:59 7:28 6:33 8:08 7:14 8:51 8:03 9:39 8:58 10:31 10:00 11:29 11:08 12:31 12:22 13:39 13:41 14:53 15:06 16:13 16:35 17:39 18:08 19:11 19:46 20:50 21:27 22:36 23:13 24:29 25:01 26:28
11:00 6:34 7:44 7:12 8:27 7:58 9:14 8:51 10:07 9:52 11:05 11:00 12:09 12:15 13:19 13:36 14:36 15:03 16:00 16:36 17:32 18:14 19:12 19:57 20:59 21:44 22:56 23:36 25:01 25:32 27:16 27:31 29:42
12:00 7:10 7:59 7:51 8:45 8:41 9:36 9:39 10:33 10:46 11:37 12:00 12:48 13:22 14:06 14:50 15:33 16:25 17:08 18:07 18:53 19:54 20:48 21:46 22:54 23:43 25:11 25:45 27:40 27:51 30:23 30:01 33:21
13:00 7:46 8:13 8:31 9:02 9:25 9:57 10:28 10:59 11:40 12:08 13:00 13:26 14:28 14:53 16:04 16:30 17:48 18:18 19:37 20:18 21:33 22:30 23:35 24:57 25:42 27:38 27:54 30:37 30:10 33:56 32:31 37:41
14:00 8:22 8:26 9:10 9:18 10:08 10:17 11:16 11:24 12:33 12:39 14:00 14:04 15:35 15:40 17:19 17:29 19:10 19:30 21:08 21:46 23:13 24:19 25:24 27:10 27:40 30:23 30:02 34:00 32:30 38:13 35:02 N/A
15:00 8:58 8:38 9:49 9:33 10:51 10:36 12:04 11:48 13:27 13:09 15:00 14:42 16:42 16:28 18:33 18:28 20:32 20:45 22:38 23:20 24:52 26:17 27:12 29:39 29:39 33:31 32:11 38:07 34:49 N/A 37:32 N/A
16:00 9:34 8:50 10:28 9:48 11:35 10:54 12:52 12:11 14:21 13:39 16:00 15:20 17:49 17:16 19:47 19:30 21:54 22:04 24:09 25:01 26:32 28:27 29:01 32:28 31:37 37:19 34:20 N/A 37:08 N/A N/A N/A
17:00 10:10 9:00 11:08 10:02 12:18 11:12 13:41 12:34 15:15 14:08 17:00 15:58 18:56 18:05 21:01 20:34 23:16 23:27 25:39 26:51 28:11 30:53 30:50 35:49 33:36 N/A 36:29 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
18:00 10:46 9:11 11:47 10:15 13:02 11:29 14:29 12:56 16:09 14:37 18:00 16:36 20:02 18:55 22:15 21:40 24:38 24:56 27:10 28:52 29:50 33:43 32:39 N/A 35:35 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
19:00 11:21 9:20 12:26 10:27 13:45 11:46 15:17 13:17 17:02 15:06 19:00 17:14 21:09 19:47 23:30 22:50 26:00 26:33 28:41 31:10 31:30 37:13 34:28 N/A 37:33 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
20:00 11:57 9:30 13:06 10:39 14:29 12:02 16:06 13:39 17:56 15:34 20:00 17:53 22:16 20:40 24:44 24:05 27:22 28:20 30:11 33:52 33:09 N/A 36:16 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
21:00 12:33 9:39 13:45 10:51 15:12 12:17 16:54 13:60 18:50 16:03 21:00 18:32 23:23 21:36 25:58 25:25 28:44 30:21 31:42 37:18 34:49 N/A 38:05 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
22:00 13:09 9:47 14:24 11:02 15:55 12:32 17:42 14:20 19:44 16:31 22:00 19:13 24:30 22:34 27:12 26:53 30:07 32:43 33:12 N/A 36:28 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
23:00 13:45 9:55 15:03 11:13 16:39 12:47 18:30 14:41 20:38 17:00 23:00 19:54 25:36 23:36 28:26 28:30 31:29 35:39 34:43 N/A 38:08 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
24:00 14:21 10:03 15:43 11:24 17:22 13:01 19:19 15:01 21:32 17:29 24:00 20:37 26:43 24:42 29:40 30:20 32:51 N/A 36:13 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
25:00 14:57 10:10 16:22 11:34 18:06 13:16 20:07 15:21 22:25 17:58 25:00 21:21 27:50 25:53 30:55 32:31 34:13 N/A 37:44 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

# 4 The Effect of Incline

It's intuitively obvious that running or walking uphill is harder than level ground. It's also reasonably obvious that modest downhill slopes are easier than level ground, but as the slope increases so the difficulty becomes greater. Scientific research has supported and quantified this[1], showing that the energy cost of walking or running is to lowest at about 10% decline. There is some evidence that the slope of minimum energy is independent of pace[2]. This slope of minimum energy requirement seems to corresponds with the slope that neither requires pushing back for forward movement nor energy dissipation for braking[3]. The two graphs below show the relationship between slope and the cost of walking/running as measured by a number of studies.

 The energy cost of running for various slopes. The energy cost of walking for various slopes.

There are a number of factors that could change these assumptions:

• A study looked at the energy cost of uphill, level, and downhill running before and after a 65Km mountainous ultramarathon[4]. After the race, the energy cost of uphill running was unchanged, but both level and downhill running were significantly harder by 8% (level) and 13% (downhill). These differences were greatest for the slowest runners and at least for the fastest runners.
• A similar study of a rather more extreme 303 Km mountain ultramarathon found that the energy cost of uphill running and walking was lower after the race[5]. This result is a little surprising, and it's unclear why runners would do better fatigued than fresh. (The study did not look at level or downhill running.)
• I've found no research on the effect of training on the energy cost of running uphill or downhill. I would expect that downhill training would reduce the energy cost of downhill running.

# 5 The Transition Between Running and Walking

The energy required to run a given distance is the roughly the same regardless of pace. This is different to walking, where the energy required to walk a given distance generally goes up with pace. This means that at slow speeds, it costs less energy to walk than run, but as you go faster it becomes easier to run. When people are put on a treadmill and the speed gradually increased, they will naturally transition from walking to running. This transition occurs at roughly the same speed for most people and is called the Preferred Transition Speed (PTS)[6]. You can see this in the two graphs below. The graph on the left shows the energy expenditure over time, showing the energy required to walk goes up faster than for running. The graph on the right shows the cost per distance, with running staying constant and the cost of walking rising with pace. (It takes more energy to walk a distance very slowly, so the graph shows the low point which is the lowest energy cost to cover a distance.)

 Energy cost over time. Energy cost over distance.

# 6 Calories Per Hour

This table shows the number of Calories used per hour for a person weighing 150 Pounds.

Slope Running per hour (pace in min/mile) Walk per hour (pace in min/mile)
14:00 13:00 12:00 11:00 10:00 9:00 8:00 7:00 6:00 30:00 25:00 20:00 19:00 18:00 17:00 16:00 15:00 14:00 13:00 12:00 11:00 10:00
0.0% 403 434 470 513 564 627 705 806 940 170 192 246 262 280 304 334 368 407 462 525 611 720
0.5% 416 448 485 529 582 647 728 831 970 178 204 258 275 293 318 349 384 424 480 545 633 744
1.0% 429 462 500 545 600 667 750 857 1,000 186 214 270 287 307 332 364 400 441 498 565 655 768
1.5% 437 471 510 556 612 680 765 874 1,020 196 223 282 300 320 346 379 416 459 517 585 676 792
2.0% 450 485 525 573 630 700 788 900 1,050 204 233 294 313 337 360 394 432 476 535 605 698 816
2.5% 463 498 540 589 648 720 810 926 1,080 212 242 306 325 350 378 409 448 493 554 625 720 840
3.0% 476 512 555 605 666 740 833 951 1,110 220 254 318 338 363 392 424 464 510 572 645 742 858
3.5% 489 526 570 622 684 760 855 977 1,140 230 264 330 351 377 406 439 480 527 591 665 764 882
4.0% 501 540 585 638 702 780 878 1,003 1,170 238 274 345 366 390 420 454 496 544 609 685 785 906
4.5% 514 554 600 655 720 800 900 1,029 1,200 246 283 357 379 403 434 469 512 566 628 705 807 930
5.0% 527 568 615 671 738 820 923 1,054 1,230 254 293 369 392 417 448 484 528 583 646 725 829 954
5.5% 540 582 630 687 756 840 945 1,080 1,260 264 305 381 404 430 462 499 544 600 665 745 851 978
6.0% 553 595 645 704 774 860 968 1,106 1,290 272 314 393 417 443 476 514 560 617 683 765 873 1,002
6.5% 566 609 660 720 792 880 990 1,131 1,320 280 324 405 429 457 491 529 576 634 702 785 895 1,026
7.0% 583 628 680 742 816 907 1,020 1,166 1,360 288 334 417 442 473 505 544 592 651 720 805 916 1,050
7.5% 596 642 695 758 834 927 1,043 1,191 1,390 298 343 429 455 487 519 563 608 669 738 825 938 1,074
8.0% 609 655 710 775 852 947 1,065 1,217 1,420 306 355 444 467 500 533 578 624 686 757 845 960 1,098
8.5% 626 674 730 796 876 973 1,095 1,251 1,460 314 365 456 483 513 547 593 640 703 775 865 982 1,122
9.0% 639 688 745 813 894 993 1,118 1,277 1,490 324 374 468 496 527 565 608 656 720 794 885 1,004 1,146
9.5% 656 706 765 835 918 1,020 1,148 1,311 1,530 332 384 480 508 540 579 623 676 737 812 905 1,025 1,170
10.0% 669 720 780 851 936 1,040 1,170 1,337 1,560 340 394 492 521 553 593 638 692 754 831 925 1,047 1,194
10.5% 686 738 800 873 960 1,067 1,200 1,371 1,600 348 406 504 534 567 607 653 708 771 849 945 1,069 1,218
11.0% 703 757 820 895 984 1,093 1,230 1,406 1,640 358 415 516 546 580 621 668 724 789 868 965 1,091 1,242
11.5% 716 771 835 911 1,002 1,113 1,253 1,431 1,670 366 425 528 559 593 635 683 740 806 886 985 1,113 1,266

# 7 Calories Per Distance

This table shows the number of Calories used to cover a milefor a person weighing 150 Pounds.

Slope Running Walk 30:00
min/mile
Walk 25:00
min/mile
Walk 20:00
min/mile
Walk 19:00
min/mile
Walk 18:00
min/mile
Walk 17:00
min/mile
Walk 16:00
min/mile
Walk 15:00
min/mile
Walk 14:00
min/mile
Walk 13:00
min/mile
Walk 12:00
min/mile
Walk 11:00
min/mile
Walk 10:00
min/mile
0.0% 94 85 80 82 83 84 86 89 92 95 100 105 112 120
0.5% 97 89 85 86 87 88 90 93 96 99 104 109 116 124
1.0% 100 93 89 90 91 92 94 97 100 103 108 113 120 128
1.5% 102 98 93 94 95 96 98 101 104 107 112 117 124 132
2.0% 105 102 97 98 99 101 102 105 108 111 116 121 128 136
2.5% 108 106 101 102 103 105 107 109 112 115 120 125 132 140
3.0% 111 110 106 106 107 109 111 113 116 119 124 129 136 143
3.5% 114 115 110 110 111 113 115 117 120 123 128 133 140 147
4.0% 117 119 114 115 116 117 119 121 124 127 132 137 144 151
4.5% 120 123 118 119 120 121 123 125 128 132 136 141 148 155
5.0% 123 127 122 123 124 125 127 129 132 136 140 145 152 159
5.5% 126 132 127 127 128 129 131 133 136 140 144 149 156 163
6.0% 129 136 131 131 132 133 135 137 140 144 148 153 160 167
6.5% 132 140 135 135 136 137 139 141 144 148 152 157 164 171
7.0% 136 144 139 139 140 142 143 145 148 152 156 161 168 175
7.5% 139 149 143 143 144 146 147 150 152 156 160 165 172 179
8.0% 142 153 148 148 148 150 151 154 156 160 164 169 176 183
8.5% 146 157 152 152 153 154 155 158 160 164 168 173 180 187
9.0% 149 162 156 156 157 158 160 162 164 168 172 177 184 191
9.5% 153 166 160 160 161 162 164 166 169 172 176 181 188 195
10.0% 156 170 164 164 165 166 168 170 173 176 180 185 192 199
10.5% 160 174 169 168 169 170 172 174 177 180 184 189 196 203
11.0% 164 179 173 172 173 174 176 178 181 184 188 193 200 207
11.5% 167 183 177 176 177 178 180 182 185 188 192 197 204 211

# 8 Training Status Effects

The graph on the below shows that there are slight, non-significant differences between runners and active non-runners. This indicates that training does not change the transition speed, though it's worth noting that the actual transition speed is slower than would be expected from the energy costs[6]. Also note that the actual cost of running is not quite constant with speed, but actually goes down as you go faster.

The energy cost for runners and non-runners, showing the Preferred Transition Speed (PTS) and the Energetically Optimal Transition Speed (ETOS).

# 9 Formula

for those who like to create their own tables, below are the underlying formulas that I'm using. The cost of running (Cri) and walking (Cwi) on a slope is given by these equations:

```Cri = 155.4i5 - 30.4i4 - 43.3i3 + 46.3i2 + 19.5i + 3.6
Cwi = 280.5i5 - 58.7i4- 76.8i3+ 51.9i22+ 19.6i + 2.5
```

Where i is the slope and the result I in Jules per Kg per Meter.

# 10 References

1. AE. Minetti, C. Moia, GS. Roi, D. Susta, G. Ferretti, Energy cost of walking and running at extreme uphill and downhill slopes., J Appl Physiol, volume 93, issue 3, pages 1039-46, Sep 2002, doi 10.1152/japplphysiol.01177.2001, PMID 12183501
2. Minetti, A. E., L. P. Ardigo, and F. Saibene. "Mechanical determinants of the minimum energy cost of gradient running in humans." Journal of Experimental Biology 195.1 (1994): 211-225.
3. K. L. Snyder, R. Kram, J. S. Gottschall, The role of elastic energy storage and recovery in downhill and uphill running, Journal of Experimental Biology, volume 215, issue 13, 2012, pages 2283–2287, ISSN 0022-0949, doi 10.1242/jeb.066332
4. Gianluca Vernillo, Aldo Savoldelli, Andrea Zignoli, Spyros Skafidas, Alessandro Fornasiero, Antonio La Torre, Lorenzo Bortolan, Barbara Pellegrini, Federico Schena, Energy cost and kinematics of level, uphill and downhill running: fatigue-induced changes after a mountain ultramarathon, Journal of Sports Sciences, volume 33, issue 19, 2015, pages 1998–2005, ISSN 0264-0414, doi 10.1080/02640414.2015.1022870
5. Gianluca Vernillo, Aldo Savoldelli, Spyros Skafidas, Andrea Zignoli, Antonio La Torre, Barbara Pellegrini, Guido Giardini, Pietro Trabucchi, Grégoire P. Millet, Federico Schena, An Extreme Mountain Ultra-Marathon Decreases the Cost of Uphill Walking and Running, Frontiers in Physiology, volume 7, 2016, ISSN 1664-042X, doi 10.3389/fphys.2016.00530
6. A. Rotstein, O. Inbar, T. Berginsky, Y. Meckel, Preferred transition speed between walking and running: effects of training status., Med Sci Sports Exerc, volume 37, issue 11, pages 1864-70, Nov 2005, PMID 16286854