Running quote of the week

“It’s an honor to hit the wall… If you hit the wall you know you gave it everything.” – Lauren Fleshman

Friday, January 16, 2015

The good and the bad of weight loss

Today's run (street): 3.3 miles

Weight and running are often linked together. Many people run either to lose weight or to keep their weight at an optimum level. Some serious runners starve themselves to the point of emaciation because the less weight you carry, the less work is required to hold a pace. I took up running in 2008 when my weight slipped into the unacceptable range. By improving my diet, reducing portion sizes and running almost daily, it only took a few months to reach my target.

Over the past six years I've held my weight steady. Except for a period in 2010 when I lost a lot of weight due to pneumonia, I've stayed close to my original target. But over the last year I've put on a few pounds. Not enough to require me to go up another pant size, but enough for me to re-assess my diet.

I plan to reset and drop back down to my ideal weight. My question is how low do I go? From a running perspective, I would probably see better performance if my weight were 3-5% lower than my current target. I can get there, but I'll pay a price. When my weight drops below normal, the first fat to go is in my face. I end up looking wan and drawn. So much for my maintaining my boyish good looks.

For now, I'll work on getting back to normal and decide whether to go lower when I get there. The Runsketeers will be doing mile time trials next weekend, so I'll see if I can make some weight reduction progress over the next eight days. I may be naive to think it could make that much of a difference, but you don't see too many elite runners who resemble Homer Simpson.

I'm sending good thoughts and wishing for good weather for SIOR and TPP at tomorrow's 10 mile Run to the Brewery. You guys will rock it.

11 comments:

  1. There are many sites that figure out your ideal race weight. Mine is 111. I was there when I ran the Mohawk Hudson River marathon where I PR'd. Was it because of the weight? I think it had more to do with my training. Though, I agree running feels easier when I'm lighter.

    I worked with a guy who looked like Barney Rubble (same build). I had no idea he ran until one of my friends said he saw him at the NYC Marathon. When I looked him up, he consistently ran 3:30 marathons. Don't let looks deceive you. Some women who I would guess to be back-of-the-packers whoop my ass, while some long and lean types jog 11 minute miles.

    Thanks for the good vibes. I'd prefer 50 degrees.

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    1. I've also been passed by people in races who look like they couldn't run around the block. I know I used to run faster than I do today and I also weighed less. Is there a correlation? Maybe. I'll try to find one of those sites that calculate your ideal race weight.

      16° is not great, but with the right gear you'll hardly notice the cold : )

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    2. If only I had a pair of used, sweaty $225 pants...

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    3. I would have sent them to you but you told me you moved.

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    4. Just looked at some of those ideal race weight sites. I'd have to be severely ill for about six months with a feeding tube in my mouth to reach my ideal weight. Even worse than BMI calculators.

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  2. It's it's easy to lose weight if you can find the motivation to do so, but it's hard to find the motivation when you're generally content with your health and appearance. Gotta try to get back to running six days per week to lose weight. Running burns the calories and helps provide the necessary discipline. I've gained a few myself, and I have been struggling to maintain a consistently good diet, to no avail.

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    1. Calories in - calories burned = weight. Pretty simple. I think I need to take in a lot less calories to get down to 111 lbs, which is what I think SIOR is saying I should do.

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  3. Whenever I take a few weeks off running (rest period in between training plans) this is when I drop weight easily. Its weird because it goes against ( Calories in - calories burned ) My running goals for 2015 include finding my ideal racing weight. There is a link in this post to Matt Fitzgerald's online calculator for the ideal racing weight. http://www.designeatrun.com/2015/01/07/2015-running-goals-its-game-time/

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    1. Hi Renee. First of all, your site is great. I like your logo design.

      I don't know too much about physiology but I've read that medium and high intensity exercise has an effect on metabolism (i.e., calorie burning) that lasts for a period following the activity. That wouldn't account for weeks of rest though.

      Thank you for the link. I'll see how far I am from "ideal."

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    2. Thank you for your kind words about my site and logo :)

      There is a theory that your body holds water weight & retains some body fat during heavy training load ... I think it was Rich Rolls book "finding Ultra" where his trainer said if your brain knows there is a marathon coming it will adjust the body accordingly and hold water fat etc… kind of like how our body goes into survival fat storing mode in famine. Another theory is that less stress on the body = less inflammation and water weight. I’m just about to start marathon training on the first of Feb hope my body doesn’t decide it need to store up for that ha ha.

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    3. First of all, congratulations on pursuing your first marathon. Don't tell your brain!

      I've done a few halfs, but a full seems overwhelming. I I think the theory that our bodies go into conservation mode under stress is sound. I've noticed that weight loss methods seem to have diminishing returns the closer you get to your goal.

      Are you going to follow the Hal Higdon program to train? My friends swear by it.

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