It seems, even though I’ve always lived for endurance sports, that when I started racing and training for marathons, it was running; in fact some of our most recent marathon races were a single-day event where a runner had to do 20 miles. Even then, the number of miles he or she ran didn’t really matter to the calorie burn.
For long distance races, I know my pace at that point wasn’t super good and I was still burning energy, but after finishing the race, if you ran on the course the following day, it could be a different story. The marathoner who finished that night, for example, would have burned about 250 calories just running the course the next time. But the morning runner who was running a marathon the next day and was in bed the next day would have burned about 250 calories just running the course the previous day. So if it helps you to know what’s driving an increase in calorie burn, it may turn out to help you decide what workouts can burn more calories.
How do you decide which workouts will burn more calories than others? I’m sure you all have a good answer for this, isn’t there one?
Absolutely! After all, what can you do if you can’t burn all the calories in a given workout? On one hand, if you have less calories in your muscle than anaerobic activities like biking, running, or swimming, then it may be easier to run them all. On the other hand, if you have very few calories, you might want to avoid working out for a long time if you don’t know where your food comes from. You’ll probably want to eat before you run the race and before you run for a long time.
For instance, when I ran 10Ks in the summer of 2008, I burned a lot less calories than the average 20-mile distance that I ran. But after the summer, I realized that I was burning far fewer calories than what was in my mouth. I didn’t have much muscle to burn off the carbs I was eating, so I had to do a lot of heavy lifting.
When you know where your food is coming from, you have a better chance of achieving optimal workout composition. The trick is to do your best to keep your intake consistent, even when you run for two or three days. That way, your daily calorie budget doesn’t get off track. When you don’t feel well, eat less and get back on track the