How Much Should I Run Based On BMI?

Whether you want to lose weight or get in shape, running is one of the best forms of cardio. It’s the only type of exercise that doesn’t require money or equipment. All you need is a pair of running shoes, and you’re good to go. In addition, making running a hobby can boost your spirits, and revitalize you mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Of course, overdoing anything can do more harm than good. So you may be wondering, “how much should I run based on BMI?” This guide will tell you precisely what exercise regimen you need to follow to lose weight.

How Many Miles Do You Need To Run?

While the specific values will vary depending on your body weight, body type, and level of exertion, the general rule for running is that you can burn around 100 calories per mile. But what does this mean in terms of weight loss and reaching your optimal BMI?

A single pound of fat has nearly 3500 calories, which would add up to 35 miles of running. Of course, you can break this down over a few days or even weeks, depending on your fitness level and time constraints. As a beginner, it’s best to start slow and build your way up to longer spans.

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How Long Do You Need To Run?

Now that we’ve figured out that you need to run around 35 miles to lose a pound of fat let’s find out how much time you need to allocate to running. If you are a regular, sedentary person who is just starting running, it will take around 12 to 15 minutes to run a mile.

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Once you build up your endurance, become fitter, and gain some experience running, you’ll be able to run one mile in under 10 minutes. And if you decide to embrace this hobby and sign up for a marathon, you’ll be competing with runners who can cover a mile in under 5 minutes.

As a beginner, it will take anywhere from 7 hours (420 minutes) to 9 hours (525 minutes) to lose one pound of fat. Factor this into your daily schedule and carve out intervals of 30 minutes a few times a week to get started on your goal. 

If you’re running five days a week, in half-hour intervals, it’ll take you around a month to lose a pound. You can adjust your workout schedule to meet your weight loss and fitness goals. This may not seem like much progress, but remember, building an exercise regimen takes time, and each day contributes to your long-term health and fitness. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! 

How To Decide Your Fitness Goals

Before you hit the track you need to define clear goals for yourself. The best way to keep yourself motivated is by having realistic expectations. For example, how long will it take you to reach your ideal weight goal?

The first step is to use our BMI calculator and figure out what range you fall into. How many pounds do you need to lose to be healthy? There are four categories you can fall into.

  • Below 18.5 is underweight.
  • Between 18.5 and 24.9 is the healthy weight range.
  • Between 25 and 29.9 are overweight.
  • More than 30 are obese.

Losing a few pounds can put you in a different bracket. Use our BMI calculator to figure out your exact weight loss goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 5 pounds, then you can expect to reach it in 4 to 5 months. And if you want to lose 10 pounds, then aim for a year! 

The worst thing you can do is set unattainable goals and lose motivation in the middle of your fitness journey. So make sure you know what to expect. But if this is too slow and you want to speed up your weight loss, then you can always make changes in your diet and nutrition to help you along.

How Much Should You Run According To Your BMI?

You can’t expect to go from zero to 100 overnight. How much you should run depends on your current fitness level and how out of shape you are. For example, if you fall into the obese or overweight category of the body mass index, here are a few things to consider.


Running places a lot of strain on your joints. If your upper body weighs more than it ideally should, then that strain will also be greater, and you may experience joint pain. In addition, for overweight people with a high body fat percentage, running extensively without warming up can cause knees misalignment, leg cramps, or foot injuries. 


That is why it is essential for all beginner runners, especially those overweight, to start slow with short distances and at a leisurely pace. Try alternating walking and running cycles to get you started. Then, as your stamina increases and your muscles strengthen, you’ll be able to run longer distances at a faster pace.

Add in a few days of strength training with hip and leg exercises to strengthen your body and make running easier and more enjoyable. While slight muscle soreness a day or two after a run is normal, intense or prolonged pain is not. Visit your doctor immediately if you experience distressing symptoms.

How To Lose Weight Faster 

When it comes to losing weight, exercise alone isn’t enough. You need to couple your running with a food plan and nutritional goals that help you lose weight safely. So what is safe weight loss? For people under 150 pounds, one pound a week is the maximum rate of acceptable reduction. And for people who weigh over 150 pounds, you can afford to lose no more than 2 pounds a week. 

But if you’re running regularly, you will need the energy to maintain this new athletic lifestyle. That means simply cutting back on calories will do more harm than good. The daily required calorie intake for men and women is 2500 and 2000. 

Reducing this will rob your body of essential nutrients at a time when it needs to draw on energy to meet your new, active lifestyle. Instead, you need to replace unhealthy food substances with a protein-focused diet. Get rid of the processed foods in your kitchen. Pick and choose your carbohydrate sources smartly, so you have enough energy for your runs. 

Running Tips For Beginner Runners

Now that we’ve determined how much weight you intend to lose, here are a few tips to help you get started. As a beginner who doesn’t exercise and has a primarily sedentary lifestyle, you may not think you’re capable of running long distances. And if you are overweight, these concerns may be keeping you from giving it a shot. 

But running is for everyone. And with the right plan and mindset, you can do it! So here’s what you need to do.

Step 1

Begin by warming up with a 10 to 15-minute brisk walk.

Step 2

Once you feel like you’re able to give it a go, increase your pace to a jog and begin a two-minute running interval. Follow that up by a two-minute walking interval.

Step 3

As you practice, you’ll be able to run for a longer session with fewer breaks in between.

Step 4

Repeat these walking and running intervals as long as you can, and when you feel like you’re at your body’s limit, end your session with a 20-minute slow walk to cool down.

Running Tips For Intermediate Runners

After you’ve been running for a few months, you’ll notice your rate of weight loss slowing down. That is because your body has adjusted to your increased daily activity. You’ll still burn calories but at a lower rate than you were before. One way to lose weight faster is through a technique known as interval training.

Intermediate runners should alternate periods of fast or high intensity running with periods of slower jogging or low power running to see quicker results. Interval running is similar to the strategy we recommended for beginners, except each interval period should last 10 to 40 seconds, and the intensity of running is a lot higher overall.

One 20 minute interval running session lets you burn anywhere between 150 and 400 calories. Compare this to a beginner runner who covers 1 mile in 20 minutes and only burns 100 calories.

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As if that wasn’t motivation enough, this higher intensity workout even boosts your metabolism, so you burn more calories resting in the 48 hours after the run is over! But, of course, it’s important to remember that this high-intensity workout is not suitable for beginner runners since your body isn’t used to that level of exertion. 

Overtraining or pushing your body too far too fast can result in injury and set you back months in your workout goals. So pace yourself and set smaller benchmarks as your work towards a larger fitness goal.

Bottom Line

Running is an excellent form of cardio exercise regardless of your BMI. It’s essential to recognize that BMI does have its limits. After all, it doesn’t make allowance for the fact that people have different body types. Professional athletes often have high BMIs because they have increased muscle mass, and older people may have a low BMI regardless of general fitness. But for the average person, it gives you a general idea of where you stand. So get out your running shoes and hit the track

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