Running - Knowledge

Why Should Runners Focus on Ideal Running Weight

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With the arrival of the marathon season, it is quite natural for runners to get into vigorous marathon training program, diet changes. Along with an extensive workout regime, if there is one thing that every runner works upon, then it is their body weight! Undoubtedly, it’s the body weight that influences the running performance. The lighter your weight, the lesser the energy spent and faster your performance. Brownie points- good chances to win the race! Now as a runner you might think what should your ideal running weight be? How to calculate? And much more. So, here we are, sharing chock-full of information on ideal running weight. Let’s get straight into it.

Table of Content

  • Ideal Running Weight- A Necessity to Improve Running Performance
  • DIY: Determine the Ideal Running Weight
  • Top Tips to Achieve Ideal Running Weight
  • Factors to Maintain the Ideal Running Weight
  • Why Shed Pounds before a Race
  • Is Ideal Running Weight a Fad or Necessity

Why Should Runners Focus on Ideal Running Weight?

A perfect or proportionate weight is essentially necessary and it is known to most of the runners. However, not many of us know that intensive exercises like running require you to be even more cautious; ideal running weight is the key to achieve a better performing skill in your daily schedule of running.

There is a thin line of difference between staying fit and maintaining ideal running weight. However, as a runner, your ideal focus must be on toning your body to the ideal racing weight. 

But why do we insist this?

Maintaining an ideal running weight is extremely advisable as while running you have to work against the force of gravity that tries to slow you down. For every gain of 5% of your body weight, you running performance are hampered by a lack of 5 % in your performance. Of course, this does not mean you have to be as light as a feather. For being malnourished or undernourished would break down your physical agility and affect your performance. Hence you have to be aware of your ideal running weight by height as well as an ideal BMI for runners. For an acute measurement for your well-being, you may use running weight calculator for the procedure.

Since you cannot cut down on primary body masses like water, bones, muscles, etc, you have to regulate the fat content in your body for an ideal running weight. Try reaching your optimal fat content in your body. Optimal fat content cannot be the same for all individuals and thus you need to go through a few details before finding out yours, as:

  • You have to consider your gender.
  • You have to consider your age.
  • You have to consider your height.
  • You have to consider your genetics
  • You have to consider a history of being overweight in your family
  • Going through all these, you must visit a professional dietician or doctor
maintain ideal running weight
Fitness Goals- Lose weight for the race

DIY: Determine the Ideal Running Weight

Primarily, you may also help yourself by attaining a rough estimate of the following determiners for your ideal running weight, at home, as:

You may calculate your body fat mass at home. Normally, an individual has about 22 % of fat content in one’s body. And thus, we may express that:

  • Body fat mass = Body weight x Current fat content.

You may also calculate your lean body mass with the following easy formula:

  • Body lean mass = Present body weight – Present fat mass.

You must now calculate your ideal running weight by another simple formula:

  • Ideal racing weight = Current lean body mass/ Ideal lean mass percentage.  

Your ideal lean mass percentage is 1 – your ideal body fat percentage as must be expressed in decimal.

Top Tips to Achieve Ideal Running Weight

Let us now focus 8 tips that might help us to achieve our ideal running weight:

Tip #1 - Reduce your Calories Intake

Cut down on your calories. Rather take in only the amount that your body requires. Intake of protein must be more than that of carbohydrates and you must never think of indulging a crash diet. Instead, try monitoring your diet with a healthy stance and focus on healthy eating. Working out during this time must be focused on increasing your strengths and not intensive cardio workouts.  Three to four hours fasting practice for optimum strengthening practice help in the process. Working out on empty stomach and at short and many intervals help in avoiding digestive or bloating problems.

Tip # 2 - Focus on the Right Nutrition for the Body

You must not blindly follow a diet only to lose weight. Your key motive would be to achieve the ideal running weight and thus, you must take in calories that account for the nutrition of body masses like bones and muscles. Quality should be taken into consideration instead of quantity when it comes to calories.

healthy food for runners
Follow healthy eating habits

Tip # 3 - Eat only when You are Hungry

Managing your appetite is a crucial task to achieve your goal. You must only take food when your stomach is empty. However, you shouldn't fast to the extent that you might feel weak mentally or physically and get affected by gastric pain. This way you would be able to know the true demands of your body and consume accordingly. You must not have food with a mythical belief that you must eat at a specific time or within a certain period. Use an ideal race weight calculator for the process.

Tip # 4 - Gender Plays a Major Role

You must find out your ideal running weight by following the steps as mentioned in the previous section. Find out your ideal running weight, the ideal BMI for you, the fat mass content of your body and the like. Besides, you must consider your gender and age in this case. This is because average weight for female runners varies from that of a male athlete.

female running
Running weight differs for a woman

Tip # 5 - Check Your Diet

You have to start a scoreboard for your diet regime. You may follow an athletic weight loss diet or the Matt Fitzgerald diet, in this case for an easier and convenient way. Increasing high-quality food like fresh vegetables and fruits, fishes and lean meat, dairy, and nuts, would help you to achieve your ideal running weight. Try and cut down on low quality food like processed meat, high-calorie meat products like bacon or ribs along with sweetened fruit juices available in the market. Avoid fried food even if they are prepared at home; besides, try saying a big ‘no’ to fast food like pizza or burgers.

Tip # 6 - Eat at Regular Intervals

Eating at right intervals is very significant. Once you know the demands of your body, try having food accordingly. Ideally, you must not fill up your appetite completely by stuffing food, high quality or otherwise. Have food at regular intervals of 2 hours, keeping about one-fourth part of your stomach empty. Again, wash down your food with plentiful amounts of water.

Tip # 7 - Check your Body Weight Regularly

Tracking as well as testing the progress of fitness of your body must be done at regular intervals. You must weigh yourself every week and calculate your body fat content every month for a maintained fitness track record. You will be able to realize how fit and elevated you feel as you progress with your routine.

Tip # 8 - Say No to Unhealthy Food

Do not give in to your hunger by gorging on unhealthy food that is readily available. Instead, keep healthy options handy. Walnuts, almonds, a small block of dark chocolate are ideal options in barring away pangs of hunger during your initial stages of training to lose weight.

fatty foods
Stay away from fatty foods- Eat Clean 

Factors to Maintain the Ideal Running Weight

The key factors that must be considered for the maintenance of ideal running weight:

1. How many pounds should you weigh per inch can be understood by using your index finger and thumb to wrap them around your wrist. Basing on such a calculation you would know the body frame type or the structure of bones in your body.  If your fingers do not touch each other, you have a large frame; if they do yet do not overlap then you have a medium frame and again if you fingers touch and overlap then you have a small frame.  If you have a small frame, then double the inches of your height and subtract 5 or 10 pounds for finding your ideal weight. If you have a medium frame then follow the same rule as in case of a person having a small frame. However, if you have a large frame then add 5 or 10 pounds after you double your height in inches.

2. Know the ideal weight for runners, and considering your gender is important in this case, as the ideal weight for males and ideal weight for females are different. Besides, ideal BMI for females and ideal BMI for males are different entirely. You would want to know what the perfect BMI is; a perfect BMI is a range between 18.5 and 24.9. You may follow a BMI chart along with a losing weight chart if your BMI is more than the ideal value.

3. Know by what age most people lose weight. The faster you get aware about the body the faster you can cope up with the problem of weight loss and age. Aging slows the process of weight loss as our stamina and muscular elasticity lose their effectiveness with time. Consult your dietician, if you have crossed 30 years and are finding it difficult to attain the ideal running weight. Also, use a formula to calculate your ideal running weight like BMI and the process of calculating weight using fingers for maintenance after visiting your dietician.

4. The anorexia weight loss calculator is helpful in case you think you are losing excess of weight than normal. It is a natural phenomenon if you feel you are developing a sudden hindrance towards consumption of food. If your BMI is less than 16 you are suffering from anorexia nervosa. The average weight loss of a healthy human being should not be more than 1 or 2 pounds per week. Being a runner you are supposed to maintain a record in a racing weight book and a racing weight diet, which would promptly alert you if you as drastically losing weight. And of course, you may again use a racing weight calculator triathlon referring online.

5. The Stillman height/weight ratio table for distance running can be put into good use if you are enthusiastic.

This is followed by most trainers and professional athletes and it requires you to follow several rules such as -

  • You must have meals every four hours, 
  • Carbohydrates must be had in a calculative way, 
  • Opt for morning running 
  • Maintain 1- carnitine status,  
  • Cutting on sugars and unhealthy oils, 
  • Consuming good oils

Why Shed Pounds before a Race?

You might now wonder, why do runners want to lose weight before a race? Well, you will get an idea from the listed points:

1. Runners prefer to lose weight before a race as an ideal running weight let them run faster without feeling tired out. This is because while running we need to work against the force of gravity a lot more than we require while walking. However, that does not mean losing weight at an abnormal rate would help very much; a sustainable weight supports sustainable running. 
2. It might occur to you that ideal running weight means higher VO2 max as it is popularly known running speeds up the consumption or production of oxygen in our body. This is true as the rate of production of oxygen or the level of VO2 definitely goes up as you go on shedding a few extra pounds gradually.

ideal running weight-higher Vo2 max
Increase your VO2 Max

3. It might again occur to you if maintaining an ideal running weight would injure you by risking bone damage. If you are not focusing on your ideal calorie intake then there, of course, remains a possibility to affect your health. So, it is imperative that you follow a proper racing weight diet and just not focus on maintaining an ideal racing weight.
4. It might worry you if you are a female runner and maintain an ideal racing weight could affect your health in the long term.  You must be very cautious if you are a female runner as having an underweight could devastate your health. Besides, low-calorie intake may affect your menstrual cycle thereby harming your hormonal system. Affected hormonal system, again, can badly hamper your bone density and bone growth. Evidently, women are very prone to osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, it is imperative that you visit your gynaecologist as well as your coach regularly from affecting your health on a long term.

Is Ideal Running Weight a Fad or Necessity?

Having read the article you must be sure that the ‘ideal’ running weight is definitely not the same for every individual; in other words, it may be said that the ideal running weight varies from person to person, depending on one’s body type, gender, body frame, age, and height. However, you must be wondering if striving for an ideal body weight for racing or running is at all beneficial or not; it of course is.  Because of the following reasons:

1. Healthy Body

Whether you are a professional athlete or not, having a lean athletic body is always a boon in terms of your physical health. Who does not want to remain fit? We all do, without any doubt.  And if we do want that, we must strive for it. If you consider the effects of your body weight on your running, then you must definitely consider maintaining your body weight. To perform ideally with your ideal racing weight, you have to invest your heart and soul for the reason.

2. Boosts Confidence 

Once you find that you have achieved your ideal running weight, not only will you feel emphatic throughout but also you will feel confident and enthusiastic in everything you do. Be it in your professional or personal life. If you are a person who suffers from the unnecessary fright of body shaming, then you definitely would want to shed a few pounds and feel good about yourself. However, body shaming must not be the reason that should lead you to lose weight.

3. Increases Energy Levels

When you cut down on the intake of carbohydrates and calories, you feel brimming with normal levels of energy. Normal levels of energy neither make you feel fatigued or hyperactive. Also, people with a low rate of metabolism would also find it beneficial. This is because, running would keep you hungry at specific and necessary times, allowing you to consume food in demand of your body. So, running and ideal running weight allows you to regulate your digestive system as well.

4. Keeps Injuries and Ailments at Bay

Running brings major changes to your body. You would be able to prevent a certain number of injuries while running if you happen to maintain a proper and balanced weight. Being overweight makes it difficult for you to maintain your body balance while running. This problem gets checked with cutting down of body fat mass. Certain ailments like cardiac problems and immobility of limbs too get checked if you maintain an ideal running weight. Running makes your pulse rate soar up along with your blood pressure levels.  An ideal weight for running helps to check any dilemma considering such problems.

stay healthy while running
Keep sickness at bay

Wrapping Up

Running is the best exercise along with swimming as has been known since ages. Having a habit of running every morning can prevent you from falling ill or fatigued. Making this practice an intrinsic part of your life can only enhance your living skills and ability. However, in order to maintain a good career in running, professionally or not, it is imperative that you create an ideal body that is both agile and strong. An agile and strong body can only be achieved if you happen to have an ideal running weight. 

So, what are you waiting for? Plunge into your daily course of running with a daily dose of necessary arrangements for running. Avoid all the harmful food habits, gorge on healthy food along with fresh and plenty water. And there you go! All fit and fine to run every time!

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Running - Enthusiast
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