Optimal Body Weight for Running Competitions
After a break from competitions during winter, many athletes have gained one or two pounds too much around the hips. Marathon runners, in particular, can lose valuable seconds because of that. As relevant aspect for performance, body weight is an important topic in endurance sport. But when you want to lose weight for upcoming running events, you have to consider some things, so your body still remains healthy and strong.
Optimal weight for endurance sport
It’s a well-known fact that marathon runners who weigh too much can lose seconds and even minutes during a race. In general, it’s assumed that two pounds lost can make you about 2.5 seconds faster per kilometer. One reason for that is the improved oxygen absorption: The less weight a runner has, the more oxygen is available for the body with every breath. So athletes have to be careful with what they eat, despite their intensive physical training. But the search for the ideal weight is a sensitive topic in sports. In principle, lighter is also faster – but only to a certain extend. When you weigh too less, or lose too much weight too quickly, you don’t become faster, but slower and weaker. Therefore, you should be careful; professional athletes should also ask their doctor about weight loss.
Losing weight without losing muscles
At the beginning of April, the first big running events mark the start of the new marathon season. Until the first race, disciplined runners strictly stick to their personal training and dietary plan, in order to reach their best performance, as well as their optimal weight. However, it’s important to make sure that weight loss is achieved by reducing body fat percentage and not by losing muscle mass. Thus, radical diets or fasting are not the right decision, as these methods could increase the risk of weakening the body. You should rather have a program that includes endurance and strength training, combined with a reduced calorie intake. Eating less sugar and carbohydrates, but more fruits and vegetables is a good starting point. In general, an athlete’s diet should be well-balanced, healthy and also sufficient – so it’s not necessarily obligatory to eat less, just the right foods. That in combination with an endurance athlete’s intensive training is the right means against too much body fat.