Sunday, 25 November 2012

Weighty matters

During the process of training for the AHM, I managed to lose four pounds.  This was despite refusing to give up the joy of cake(s).  My clothes fit a bit better and I felt better; I had high hopes for the weight loss continuing as my pre-marathon training carried on.  Unfortunately, as we now all know, my running stopped and it was only the eating of cakes that carried on.  I regained the four pounds plus one extra.

Now, I know that running at a lighter weight would be kinder to my joints and tendons and also enhance my speed.  I read one estimate that said for every 10 pounds lost, you could gain an extra 20sec/mile.  Over the course of a marathon, this amounts to being 9 minutes faster.  Woo hoo!  But what is the optimal running weight?

Enter this month's edition of Runner's World and an article on Your Perfect Running Weight.  There were two options for figuring this out.  The first was for recreational and/or fat runners, the second for proper runners.  Although I consider myself a 'proper' runner, I don't have access to a body fat composition scale as required for Option 2, so I had to do the more basic Option 1.  Already, I was annoyed.

To calculate the baseline weight, you start with 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height and add 5.5 pounds for each additional inch.  Then you measure your wrist to see if you have a small, medium, or large frame.  Mine is small.  Teeny wrists but not so teeny hips.  Anyway, for a small frame, you subtract 10 pounds from your baseline weight and voila!  You have your Perfect Running Weight.

Now, at the moment I am already 6 pounds above my RW baseline weight.  I have to lose SIXTEEN POUNDS???  The last time that I weighed that particular weight was in 1994 when I spent five months walking from England to Scotland via a series of long-distance footpaths, carrying a 40 pound rucksack on my back and covering up to 20 miles a day.  The weight dropped off and, by the end, I could majorly see my hipbones.  My periods also stopped.  Yep, that's a healthy weight, no doubt about it.

So, here's my plan.  First, I'm going to make myself stand really, really tall to add an extra inch to my height which will make the target weight be a bit more realistic (this would be the weight where ALL of my clothes, not just the ones with elasticated waists, fit).  Then I'll forget about that weight because, unfortunately, it just isn't realistic for this middle-aged stage of my life.  However, a couple of pounds over that probably is doable, if I keep running and (more importantly) limit the cakes.

Except for cupcakes.  They're small and therefore don't count.


  1. I did this calculation for myself, and also thought it was rather dodgy - because it worked out my ideal running weight as 2 stone HEAVIER than I am now! I know I'm not an unhealthy weight/BMI, as I've recently had a health screen at my GP surgery. So my advice is - ignore it!

  2. I decided to take up your challenge and I'm not sure if this is good or not, but I'm about 10lbs under my perfect running weight. Shame I don't run then, cause it sounds like I could be quite fast!

  3. Gosh - my ideal running weight is only one pound less than I am now. London Marathon here I come! Except the weight's in the wrong places and not enough of it is muscle. The calculation is definitely dodgy. And you're perfect as you are. XX

  4. You could always try a-grow-bics, the workout that promises height gain. I worked this out for me too and the weight they suggest gives me a BMI of 18.5. Never going to happen so I'm going with Cathy's advice to ignore it!