Weight loss is often overlooked by runners but an important part of the recipe in the meal of running. I believe every runner has an optimum weight, one that allows them to run their most consistent pace over their chosen distance. The distance usually dictates the weight initially i.e. Usain Bolt isn’t going to run his best marathon looking like he does at the moment. Whereas Mo Farah probably needs to eat a few cheeseburgers if he’s going to challenge Usain for a 100m dash.
As a marathon runner I’m normally looking what my Wife describes as ‘skinny, bordering on ill’. She has never been a big fan of my marathon ‘look’ after I have probably dropped 6-8kg from when we first met. (though that was 20 years ago) In those days I was a 3-5 times a week gym junkie and I can see her point of view, marathon runners ain’t built for modeling normally. Currently I’m sitting on 69kg which for a 6 foot tall man isn’t probably the ‘norm’ but for a marathon runner is just about perfect. I’m happy to be where I am and realise this is making a big difference to my training and pace. Because of the extra workload I’ve been putting in lately, and also dropping a lot of sugar from my diet, I’m probably 3kg less than normal. This has not gone down well with my Wife.
Ultimately all runners have a perfect weight and , like with all things running, finding that goal weight is difficult. This can be down to cravings (I mean who doesn’t really love donuts? !) or just the inability to put in the exercise needed to shift the kg’s. Then once you actually hit what you consider to be your goal weight there is normally some effort involved in keeping to it. I realise that me keeping to 69kg will be difficult long term but can sustain it for a period of time while I train for the World Masters marathon on November. After that I will have a few months running back to a normal 100k a week . It is important though to keep a good foundation so when you step up for your next goal (there is always a new goal) you need to be able to hit your ideal weight again.
Over time does this ideal weight change? I would assume yes. As we get older it will be more and more difficult to hit the weight you considered ideal the previous year. As I move into my fifties next year will I be able to maintain 69kg for race season ? Who knows, but one things for sure , I’ll be making a big effort to get close, no point in slowing down is there ?
So to sum up if you can drop weight your running will improve, it’s like adding a turbo-charger but there will be some pain and effort involved. Long term though you get use to the constant hunger pains. Only joking, you learn to substitute good food for bad and also you get to run more. C’mon, it’s all good…..
Although runners have less opportunities to increase pace without actually putting in the hard yards…
As you will know I have spent many hours pontificating over diets since my injury…