There's an article in a recent issue of Running Times that correlates weight and performance. There's nothing surprising or revelatory in the article, but they make the obvious point that carrying extra pounds will not help your speed. I've been exploring every reason why my pace has declined over the last couple of years and have ruled out health issues. After reading this story, I wondered if weight is a factor.
I've kept my weight under control over the last six years and I continue to watch my diet. Running 16-20 miles a week certainly helps. Still, I've wondered if I've become lax in terms of sugar intake and portion control. I hadn't stepped on a scale in months and decided check to see if I'd gained weight. I hoped that I had because I can deal with that. Just lose a few pounds and go back to 26 minute 5Ks!
I pulled out the scale and saw that I was only 3.5% over my ideal healthy weight. That didn't provide much opportunity to trade pounds for performance. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the only way to improve is to commit to a higher level of training. Running buddy TPP has proven that really works.
I went out this morning for a cold weather run that felt even colder due to strong winds. I spent almost ten minutes waiting for a GPS signal before the watch showed ready. I took off and noticed that I felt a little stronger than usual. However, I didn't expect a great performance because of the strong winds. The wind chill was in the teens and my face felt frozen.
It wasn't until I got back home that I realized I'd done my fastest run in months. I was happy to see that, but I'm not exactly sure why. I may start paying a little more attention to my diet and bring that 3.5% down to target. Every little bit helps. Especially for those of us who are happy to stick with their current level of training.