|Me before my last marathon ... yes I look just like Evander Holyfield!|
Amby Burfoot talks about the "ideal running weight" in this 2007 Runner's World article. http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-242-304--11903-0,00.html Amby makes the case that less weight = faster running ... to an extent, but also focuses on Body Mass Index (BMI), and the type of race you are running.
According to Bob and Shelly Glover, in "The Competitive Runner's Handbook," runners need to have a "light chassis, strong engine, and most of all, good health." I've always felt like I have a "strong engine" and am fairly healthy, but my chassis seems to be the problem.
I'm not HUGE, but fairly big for a runner who usually finishes in the top 10-20% of my races. It seems I'm usually about 20-30 lbs heavier, and a little taller than most of the runners finishing around me. I'm 6'2 and typically about 181, with about 20% body fat. But that's by closely watching what I eat and running everyday. When I'm in a rest period, or not racking up mileage, I can EASILY drift to 190 without even trying. For years I stayed at about 205 which felt pretty healthy. But I feel like I'm fastest & fittest when I'm 178-180 ... that's about a skinny as I can get.
The Glover's also offer this formula for "Ideal Running Weight" ... For men it is two times your height in inches plus 10 percent. Your range should be about 13 to 15 lbs. above or below this target. For women the target weight formula is slightly different. The baseline is 5 feet 6 inches and 120 lbs. For every inch above this height, add 3 lbs., and for every inch below, subtract 3 lbs. Your range should be about 10 to 13 lbs. above or below this target. These figures are only estimates, based on competitive runners.
I'm not sure I agree with this formula. For me that would be a weight of 165-170. Man, I just don't think I can get down that low. I would look like a skeleton. Like Ryan Hall or something (no offense Ryan) ... but maybe being that skinny is the key to running faster!
I also notice a big difference when I'm working out my upper body a lot. Adding muscle seems to add weight as well. Not just purely from the muscle, but added muscle seems to add fat, at least in small amounts.
I guess what frustrates me the most is it seems like it shouldn't be this difficult. There are a ton of different theories on more carbs vs. more protein. Meat vs. veggie. For me it's all pretty confusing. To be at my best, both in performance and energy level, I have to scrutinize everything I consume, which can be a little overwhelming. Some people say, "Just ignore the scale!", which is probably good advice. But I'm not a disciplined eater and feel like I have to "micromanage" it. Plus, I have a few specific upcoming personal running goals (that I'll share with you if I make them) that will require me being in better shape. But I know the whole weight/body fat/BMI thing is all relative to the type of athlete you want to be.
Okay, back to being a dude! I guess in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter. For years I struggled to get down to where I am now.... and we're really just talking about a few pounds. It's just that I'm always looking for a way to run more efficiently, and thus more effectively. But I guess the most important thing is that I'm running!
... be great today!