Lose weight / race faster

If you’re already very lean…good for you…this post doesn’t apply to you 🙂

I’m not…never have been ‘lean’…well, maybe in high school, getting down for a wrestling weight category…I remember it as being the 185 pound category, and in the last year with more muscle, bumped up to the 196 category…played football in university at 208, and now 200-205 typically…I can’t help but think that some 30 years later, it may be time to get down to fighting weight. 

The good news is that losing a few pounds…like even 5-10…makes quite a difference in speed…and I would probably be healthier for it…I can tell by a ‘mirror test’ that’s it’s there to lose without needing extensive testing.

There was a nice little table in Runner’s World a few years ago that’s been quoted a lot over the years that illustrates how much faster you could be if you lost weight. Of course, this would not take into account speed increases due to training, and is largely premised on losing fat, not muscle (Post coming on that topic).

Pounds Lost
5k
10k
1/2 Marathon
Marathon
2
:12.4
:25
:52
1:45
5
31
1:02
2:11
4:22
10
1:02
2:04
4:22
8:44
20
2:04
4:08
8:44
17:28

According to RW author Amby Burfoot, the table is based on research that runners, on average get 2 seconds per mile faster for every pound they lose. The times you see above are the amounts a runner can shave off his/her race times by losing weight.

Joe Friel agrees:  http://www.peaksware.com/articles/nutrition/weight-management.aspx

A common question asked by triathletes is how to lose weight to improve climbing on the bike and running in general. There’s little doubt that being lighter means better climbing and faster running. A pound of excess body weight takes about two watts to get it up a hill on a bike and costs about two seconds a mile when running. That doesn’t sound like much, but what if you shed ten pounds of fat? Dropping ten pounds of excess flab means you would ride up a hill about seven to ten percent faster and run a 5k about a minute faster.

Those are significant improvements in performance that would otherwise take lots of sweat and months of hard training to accomplish.

The Ironman Florida bike course is flat to rolling…and windy…so the extra weight doesn’t hurt as much as it would on a hilly course…part of what I like about Florida…although still a factor.

The run is also flat…but on the run, weight is weight, so a leaner runner would be faster.

Would be nice to ‘buy’ 10-20 minutes in the Ironman, by simply being 10+ pounds leaner…and my knees would probably thank me for it.

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