Showing posts with label weight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weight. Show all posts

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Shoe de Triomphe

Hopefully I won't be saying "Whoa is me."
Today's run (treadmill): 40 minutes

I love a bargain, especially when it comes to running gear. Unfortunately, not all bargains pay off. Back in November, I was able to purchase a pair of ASICS Kayano 20s for $64. I've subsequently seen these shoes selling for $109 (discounted from $160 MSRP) because the 21s have since replaced them. So saving $45 on these highly rated "top of the market, super cushioned" shoes should have been a win-win. At best it's a win-tie.

I've done my best to appreciate the Kayanos, but they don't provide the fit or the comfort that I'd expected. If I'd paid full price, or even current market price, I'd be upset. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to put the Kayanos aside with no penalty. Saucony has asked me to test a pair of their new Triumph ISOs. This is Saucony's top neutral shoe, with some very promising attributes.

Like the Kayanos, the Triumphs are designed for bigger runners who do a lot of mileage. That describes me not at all. According to, I weigh 13% less than the average adult male in the US (although I'm sure the gap would be smaller compared to the average male runner). In terms of volume, I run 50% of the weekly mileage of the average competitive runner. So this shoe may not be a match made in heaven. My plan at the moment is to love the Triumphs and relegate the ASICS to weekend casual shoe status. We'll see. I should be taking delivery next week,

This week has been awful in terms of running. I worked from home on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and all three days should have provided opportunities for running. Between the big snowstorm on Monday and workdays that tied me up from 7:00 AM to early evening, I could not fit in a workout. I was scrambling to get some documents together before a video conference call yesterday and cracked my toe on one of the slate steps that lead down to the den. My hopes for a lunch hour treadmill run were dashed by what I thought was a broken toe.

This morning my toe was a little better. Still swollen, but the pain wasn't as sharp. I put a little foam padding under the toe joint and wore my Kinvara 3's on the treadmill with decent results. I kept it to 40 minutes just in case. I'm probably going to do the same tomorrow. With more snow coming on Sunday and Monday, it looks like I'll be spending a lot more time running inside.

Monday, January 19, 2015


Off target
Today's run (street): 3.5 miles

It's always nice to have a three day weekend, because it gives me an extra day to run during the week. If I'm lucky, the weather will cooperate. Unlike yesterday when the rain chased me indoors, today looked sunny and clear. Except for the near freezing temperature, it looked like ideal conditions for a run.

I dressed for cold but didn't put on too many layers this time. I stepped outside and confirmed that my gear matched the weather. I noticed that the driveway, that was covered by a shadow, had a thin coating of ice. When I reached the sunnier road I was happy to find it ice-free. That happiness was short-lived. By the time I reached the half mile point, I was dealing with patches of ice where the sun didn't reach the road.

It wasn't bad enough to stop, but I needed to be careful. I put aside any thoughts of performance and focused on landing on my mid-foot to maximize my stability. I didn't have any close calls like yesterday, but it didn't make for a very pleasant experience. For a fairly short run, it was exhausting.

I've continued to watch my portion sizes and have already lost a few pounds (I believe this is the primary reason women resent men). Based on the advice I recently got from a nutritionist, I did 12 push ups after finishing my run. I considered doing 15, but didn't want to invite upper arm soreness on top of of my diminishing (but still present) sciatica. Fellow running blogger Renee recommended the Matt Fitzgerald site to calculate my ideal racing weight and BMI (see graphic at top). Will I get down to 14.8% body fat? That would be a no.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Running performance is a weighty issue

Today's run (street): 3.6 miles

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.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Running daily beats fried clams

Some people think this stuff makes you gain weight
I'm back on the work week schedule and, after two weeks, I'm taking my usual Monday rest day. It was great to be on vacation in New Hampshire and Maine. Although being away from home often presents situations where the availability of healthy food choices is low, I managed pretty well. I believe that is due (at least in part) to running every day while on vacation.

Although I've seen articles that claim that running isn't an effective method for losing weight, I strongly disagree. I lost almost 20% of my body weight in the three months after I returned to running in 2008. Aside from suddenly being very active, that change was also due to focusing on portion sizes and better food choices. Today, as a 20 mile per week runner, I eat smart but I don't diet. No matter what, my weight generally stays within a pound or two of my targeted range.

As long as my clothes fit I never really think about my weight. But after a week of fried clams, chowder, pizza and other "vacation" foods, it's nice to finish in the same shape that I started.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Many thought running caused my pneumonia

Rest days are the theme of the week for me. I had planned to do an elliptical session this morning but I figuratively hit the wall on Tuesday afternoon and dragged myself home. My wife said it's crazy to work out when I still haven't adjusted back to the work-week schedule. I took that as sound advice and skipped today's workout. Perhaps tomorrow I'll try again or I may just wait for Friday for a moderate run.

It's hard to write a blog about running when you're not actually running. People have been very gracious and encouraging in their comments and I guess some of the reason is that we've all been forced into recovery for one reason or another. According to what I've read more than 65 percent of runners suffer running related injuries each year. Many haters people probably find that to be solid evidence that running does you more harm than good. My wife said she was asked numerous times whether my running caused my pneumonia. She simply responded by saying that my conditioning probably helped keep the illness from being as debilitating as it might have been. My brother had great response when someone suggested that my pneumonia was triggered by working out too much and keeping my weight too low: "So would he have been better off packing on the pounds and sitting around on the couch than exercising and running?"

With everything that's transpired over that last three weeks my weight has actually dropped lower than I want it to be. That's what happens when you go two full weeks without an appetite. Well my appetite has fully returned and I'm tempted to regain about five pounds via junk and comfort food. I'm happy to say that I've been good about not doing that so far. My weight will come back to the proper level on its own - that's one thing I thing I know I can count on.

Monday, November 23, 2009

So exercise and healthy eating is not enough?

In reading through New England Runner Magazine I came upon an article by a nutritionist about the balance between activity and diet. The writer's point was interesting, summed up with this quote: "[M]any runners burn far fewer calories than they realize, they are actually couch potatoes the majority of the day." Her position is that the average person sits over nine hours per day and even competitive runners exist in a cycle of activity, rest and recovery where R&R may be proportionately much higher than exercise. According to the article, a study of senior citizens showed that one additional hour of exercise a day with no additional food intake yielded no reduction in body fat. Supposedly the subjects failed to lose weight because they slept more and were more sedentary throughout the day.

If this is truly the case I'd expect to see more runners with weight problems. Perhaps there are. It's hard to gauge the fitness of other runners by sight. Aside from the ripped Ironman tri-athlete types who clearly focus on constant activity it's challenging to know just by looking. I'm thin and run with what I think is good form but I've been passed in races by people who I would never guessed were runners (and competitive ones at that).

So fitness is clearly more complicated than exercise and diet. All the same, I did lose a good deal of weight that way. I suppose I could introduce even more activity into my daily routine to better balance the sedentary/active ratio. In the end it would only mean my new pants, shirts and suits would need to be replaced yet again. Frankly, I'd prefer having a percentage point or two of body fat over another round of clothes buying and tailoring.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This past weekend was a busy combination of activities. Some I enjoyed (long runs, buying running clothes, swimming) and others I didn't enjoy at all (an all day reception on Saturday). In between that I spent a few hours organizing my workout storage area consolidating everything into a wooden wardrobe in the guest room. I placed my running sweats, compression tights, thermal wicking jerseys, winter head gear and gloves into their own section and created new spaces for summer jerseys, running shorts, socks, etc. Now I no longer have to bounce back and forth between the bedroom, cabinets and baskets to collect my gear for a morning workout. I'm hoping this better organized setup will shave off a couple of minutes of prep time for me in the morning. Every minute counts.

As I was doing this task it occurred to me that I still have drawers filled with clothes that no longer fit me. Over the past few weeks I'd transferred some suits into the donation bin but I still had dozens of tee shirts, polo shirts and dress shirts that now look huge on me. I've recently bought some new casual clothes so it was easy to let go of most of the tees. I drew the line at my MIT shirts since they are special and many still fit. There were some items that had me on the fence like long sleeve comfortable jerseys. I had to fight the urge to retain them but out they went. The purge continued with pants and shorts and by the end I must have had 50 lbs. of clothing ready for donation.

All the while I was throwing clothes into the donation basket I wondered if this was a fool's errand. What made me think I would continue to remain the size I am now? What if I gained 5 or 10 lbs? I decided that I had to press on as I fully intend to remain focused on fitness and running. I lost my weight quickly but I did that through a sustainable program of portion, sugar and (bad) fat reduction. I don't starve and running keeps my weight in balance. I could always buy bigger clothes if that became necessary but my dislike for shopping for (non-exercise related) clothing is so intense that it may be enough to keep my diet in check.

After all my dreading of the treadmill I did get on it this morning for a quick couple of miles. I started off at a comfortable pace and increased it periodically until finishing the last two minutes under an 8:00 pace. I ended up running 8:32/mi overall. It was fine but I miss the street. AG lent me a head lamp and reflector vest from her relay team supplies so I'm planning to try that as an occasional alternative to the weekday treadmill events.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Size matters

A week ago I had a meeting with some people who I have not seen in months As I greeted this group, the lead person asked me "Did you lose a lot of weight?" Today, I met wth an industry colleague and the first thing he said to me was "You look great, have you lost a lot of weight?" There are many other examples of this including a hit and run on the elevator today with a colleague from another floor who asked me the same thing.

I am happy that I've lost weight and it's always nice to hear that you look good (apparently I looked much worse 35 lbs. ago) but I still look forward to the day when I run into someone that I have not seen in a while and that's not their first reaction. For one thing, I hope to maintain this (healthy) weight level and as long as I continue my running I will. The other thing is about stabilizing my wardrobe. For the last 20 or so years I've worn the same size for suits. My waist size may have expanded a little but I've consistently worn size large jerseys since college. Even as my weight decreased I was convinced that I still needed to buy my shirts in large but recently I was given a medium sized running shirt that fit me very well. I then realized (despite the many times my wife tried to point this out) that clothes should fit you in a way that shows that you actually have a body shape. Over the last six months I've had some of my suits tailored to fit my form better. While that has allowed me to walk around without fear that my pants would fall down, my suit jackets still resembled the one David Byrne wore in the concert film "Stop Making Sense."

Last weekend I actually spent some time in clothing stores and bought two new suits, a bunch of (medium sized) t-shirts, some shorts that fit me and swim trunks that are far less likely to leave my body after diving in the pool than my current pairs. The downside to having correctly sized clothes is that more people are apt to notice my weight loss.

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