Image curtsey of Anne Summer of http://usmediahouse.com
Does your body weight impact your race? Of course it does. American culture puts the screws to both men and women to have the perfect body. Women want to be thinner and men want to be more muscular. Weight has become a part of our self-identity, which is very unfortunate. People judge others based upon their weight in a variety of ways. They make an assumption about lifestyle, intellect, and financial success. This is ridiculous.
The most important question is what is the healthiest weight for my lifestyle and where do I feel comfortable?
Hanging out at either end of the spectrum can hurt your running. Being underweight will slow you down more than being overweight. Your energy bottoms out, your speed declines, and you loose lean muscle. If you need to measure something, you should measure body composition, not weight.
It’s hard not to focus on the numbers. Runners hear losing one pound will make you two seconds faster per mile (or some such thing). Heavier runners are more likely to injure their joints. It’s a balance. The goal of athletes should be health and fitness regardless of their body weight.
If you believe you need to change your weight in either direction talk with a doctor or sports nutritionist to determine what is a good weight for you based upon your goals and lifestyle. They can help you lose fat while maintaining muscle mass.
Make sure you are fueling your body with a healthy balanced diet. I know, I know, we all run so we can eat the extra piece of cake or Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. That’s fine and good every so often, but 95% of the time you should be choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and health fats. What you put into your body, really does matter because you get out what you put in. We learn all this stuff when we’re kids remember the food pyramid. As adults, life gets busy and it’s hard to make time to cook rather than dump stuff out of a box.
There are a lot of “ideal weight” calculators out there for runners and just for anyone. These are helpful, but I caution everyone not to get overly caught up in whatever it spits out as your ideal weight.
Your ideal weight is where you feel healthy and strong.