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How many calories does run commuting burn?

We looked at, on average, how much money would be saved and how many extra calories would be burned over the course of a year if running became a daily mode of transportation

Brian Dickson on his run-commute in New Westminster, B.C.

Canadian commuters spend an average of 26.2 minutes getting to work. What if those 26.2 minutes getting to and from work, so 58.4 minutes total, were spent running? 

A 2017 Statistics Canada study revealed that 15.9 million Canadians commuted to work in 2016. That’s 30.3 per cent of working Canadians. Understandably, running to work is not a possibility for everyone. But based on these 2016 numbers, for many members of the Canadian working population, running to work is a possibility. We looked at, on average, how much money would be saved and how many extra calories would be burned over the course of a year if running became a mode of transportation. 


RELATED: Are you faster than the average runner?

As a disclaimer, these are all averages. Some runners would run significantly faster or slower than the predicted times, and everyone burns calories at a different rate. Caloric burn is a very complicated aspect of physiology, so these numbers are not absolute. Another disclaimer is that this article has the city dweller in mind. A 26.2 minute commute covers a lot more ground in a rural community than an urban area, and might not be feasible on foot. However, these numbers provide an insight into the cumulative effect that one lifestyle change can make over an extended period of time. 


Money saved 

Running is free. This is one of the biggest draws of the run commute. The Toronto Transit Commission charges $3.25 CAD per ride on the city’s metro system. If you ride the subway twice a day, every day, and work five days a week, that’s a grand total of roughly $1,875 CAD over the course of a year. 

Caloric burn 

Using the average paces from the 2015 Chicago Marathon, we found what we believe to be an accurate average running pace. For women, 6:45 per kilometre is what Running USA says is the average marathon pace. For men, 6:10 per kilometre is the average marathon pace during the same period. 

This means that, if we meet in the middle, the average person is running roughly 6:27 per kilometre. If the average commute takes 26.2 minutes, that would mean that runners could travel four kilometres and not add any time to their morning travel. 

In terms of calories burned, using a BMI calculator, we found that a 160-lb. person doing a four kilometre run to and from work everyday at 6:27 per kilometre would burn roughly 596 calories. If you did this run five days a week for 50 weeks of the year, that would burn a shocking 149,000 calories in a year.