A Runner’s Guide To Finding Your Fastest Weight

It is certainly true that every minute detail counts in optimising your fastest speed, from the food you eat, to the shoes you wear. The littlest of changes do add up!

Image Credit: http://www.esssat.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/man-running-weight-loss-1024x512.jpg

Weight is naturally an important factor; the common rule being that the lighter you are, the faster you run.

In reality however, the science behind it is more complex than the one-dimensional surface statement.

Knowing your fastest weight and the reasoning behind it gives you the edge and ensures that you are properly utilising every ounce of energy when you are running.

What Lighter Really Means

Running, as wisely defined by Matt Fitzgerald, a certified sports nutritionist, “is really just a form of jumping”.

With that in mind, it is easy to see why someone with a few unwanted pounds will have a harder time running when part of the running motion is the lifting of the body against gravity. 

Just like how, as children, we based our perception of ‘fat’ and ‘skinny’ on weight alone and in our later years, the dreaded Body Mass Index (BMI), the very myth has been debunked with the introduction of body-fat percentage, a formula that strips your body mass into muscle and fat; the latter being your excess weight.

That said, it is important to strike a balance, maintaining essential fat, that is, the minimum amount of fat that you need to survive, and trimming the rest.  

Gut Instinct

How then do you figure out what your ideal weight is? A rudimentary, purely gut-based method is to simply weigh yourself and get your body composition tested after runs when you were at the form of your life; runs with PR timings; runs when you felt like you were on top of the world.

Some argue that being concerned with reaching a specific number prevents athletes from developing the ability to listen to their bodies and not being aware of how tired or sluggish they are. Hence, the rough estimate appeals better to them. 

Chart Art

For runners who are really meticulous about every single gram, comprehensive calculation is inevitable.

This chart shows you the ideal body-fat percentages for racing that you should be having based on your gender and age group. There are a handful of methods to measure your body fat, ranging from costless body comparison to a $150-a-session dual X-Ray scan at a medical facility.

One recommended way is to use a body-fat measuring caliper – pull the fat away from your muscles and take the measurements. Then, refer to this chart (yes, another one) to determine your body fat. 

"The science behind it is more complex than the one-dimensional surface statement (The lighter you are, the faster you run)." 

Whilst chasing your fastest weight, it is also worth remembering that listening to your body is just as essential as following the science. It is after all, a living, breathing organism. 


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LIV3LY Editor
LIV3LY Editor

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