Apr 24

# Calories Burned in Running vs Cycling

You want to know if you burn more calories running or cycling? If so read on.

I bike and run to burn calories and wanted to know the answer to this question myself. The following is what I found.

I had it in my mind that it took twice as long to burn the same amount of calories biking as it did when running.

What I found was that when I bike I burn 88% of the calories I would for the same time running if I compare my top biking speed (25km/h) and my top running speed (10km/h).

When you calculate these two you need to take into consideration the speed you are biking at due to the wind resistance. Also you don’t expend twice the energy when you bike twice the speed.

Running requires the same amount of energy no matter what speed you are running at. You burn 110 calories for every mile you run or 66 calories for every kilometer you run.

Dr. Edward Coyle of The University of Texas in Austin did a study to determined the average values of oxygen consumption by cyclists at difference speeds. This information has been used to create a conversion factor table so you can calculate the distance you need to run to burn the same among of calories for difference biking speeds.

Here’s the conversion table in MPH and KmPH:

mph | calories/mile | conversion factor
10: 26: 4.2
15: 31: 3.5
20: 38: 2.9
25: 47: 2.3
30: 59: 1.9

km/h | calories/km | conversion factor
16: 16: 4.2
25: 18: 3.5
33: 23: 2.9
41: 28: 2.3
50: 35: 1.9

The maximum speed I can bike for a long distance is 25km/h. So when I bike 50km in 2 hours (25km/h) my calorie burn is 900. The conversion factor for 25km/h is 3.5 so I would need to run 14.25km to burn 900 calories.

The maximum speed I can run at 10km/h but I can’t do this for 14km. Currently If I ran 14km I would have to slow down to 8km. 14km at 8km/h would take me 1:45:0 so my calorie burn biking would be 88% of what my running is.

While I can bike 50km per day no problem I couldn’t run 14km every day. So it looks like to me biking is the best way for me to burn calories.

### 4 Responses to “Calories Burned in Running vs Cycling”

1. 1. Pecos45 Says:

So you are saying you burn as many calories biking as running?
I don’t think that is correct.
Wouldn’t 30 minutes of running equal 45 minutes of biking?
Isn’t running the best way to burn calories in the least amount of time????

2. 2. B. Says:

Actually if you double the speed you cycle at, you will burn MORE than twice the calories since air resistance increases exponentially with speed. This can be observed in a car at highway speeds, the fuel consumption raises dramatically for small increases in speed.

3. 3. Bob Mutch Says:

Hi B,

Thanks for you comment.

The short answer is that when you double your speed you don’t doubt your effort and hence the number of calories burned per mile. I did a Calories Burned Cycling post when I changed your comment into a question.

4. 4. Bob Mutch Says:

Hi Pecos45,

The short answers are yes you can burn as many calories biking as running; for me 30 minutes doesn’t running doesn’t equal 45 minutes of biking; and no running is not the best way to burn calories in the least amount of time.

I make a post Calories Burned Biking out of your questions where I answered the questions in more depth.