Weight and Running Performance

I came across this article, entitled "Weight and Performance," by British running coach/guru Frank Horwill a little while ago and thought it was quite good. Seems like this is a hot topic these days, based on the buzz about Matt Fitzgerald's new book Racing Weight: How To Get Lean For Peak Performance, which a few friends have recently recommended.

Horwill points out that while weight can be a touchy subject, the fact is that:

No man six feet tall and weighing 176lbs (79.8kg) will ever win the London Marathon, and it is unlikely that a woman five feet six inches in height and weighing 130lbs (58.9kg) will ever do so either. Why? To answer this we must consult Dr. Stillman's height/weight ratio table. He fixes the non-active man's average weight for height with a simple formula. He allocates 110lbs (56.2kg) for the first five feet (1.524m) in height and 5 1/2lbs (2.296kg) for every inch (0.025m) thereafter. He is harsher with women, giving them 100lbs (45.3kg) for the first five feet and 5lbs (2.268kg) for every inch above this.

According to Stillman's formula, while the 'ideal' weight for a 6 foot man is 176 pounds, his optimum racing weight should be one of the following, depending on his speciality:

Sprinters (100-400m): 2 1/2 per cent lighter than average (6ft/176lbs - 2 1/2% = 4lbs)
Hurdlers (100-400m): 6 per cent lighter (or 9lbs)
Middle-distance runners (800m - 10K): 12 per cent lighter (or 19lbs)
Long-distance runners (10 miles onwards): 15 per cent lighter (or 25 1/2lbs)

From personal experience, I find that I race best at right around 15% less than my 'ideal' weight range, which is just right for a 5K - 10 mile - cross country specialist.

What's the best way to maintain your racing weight? According to Horwill:

If you are in the overweight category, this is the procedure to follow:
1. Don't go without food. Every four hours eat meals that include the Basic Four - skimmed milk, lean meat, fruit, vegetables, whole-grain cereal and bread

2. Avoid the following high-fat-content foods: cooking fat, lard, etc (253 calories per ounce); margarine (218), butter (211), bacon (128), chocolate (148), pork (116), cheese (117), sugar (108), mutton (94), cream (325 calories per cup), excessive alcohol (spirits, 115 calories per oz, wines, 85 per 31/2oz, beer, 150 per 121/2oz).

3. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, fish, veal liver and fat-free beef

4. Do the type of running that burns fat. That is below 80 per cent of your maximum capacity, which is about 85 per cent of your maximal heart rate for less than an hour run and around 75 per cent MHR over this period

5. Add five minutes a day per week to your workload. If you are doing 35 minutes a day now, within six weeks you will be doing 65 minutes

6. Avoid mid-meal snacks. If you're desperate, eat fruit

7. If you are a teenager, ignore all the above advice! You are growing and need all the good food you can get, but that rules out crisps, sweets and takeaways. Learn to cook vegetables and meats

8. If you drive daily, or use the bus or train, consider running or walking to your destination at least once a week.

Post a Comment

  © Designed by Mousetrap Marketing from Ourblogtemplates.com

Back to TOP