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Ideal Body Weight for runners

Ideal Body Weight for Runners
In general, for every 1 percent loss of body mass, primarily as body fat, there will be an approximate 1 percent increase in running speed. Most elite marathon-ers are most likely at an optimal body weight and composition. However, other marathoners who are carrying excess body weight, primarily body fat but also excess upper-body muscle, may enhance performance by losing the excess weight.


One option for competitive runners to figure their target weight is to use a simple formula laid out by Bob and Shelly Glover in "The Competitive Runner's Handbook." For men it is two times your height in inches plus 10 percent. Your range should be about 13 to 15 lbs. above or below this target. For women the target weight formula is slightly different. The baseline is 5 feet 6 inches and 120 lbs. For every inch above this height, add 3 lbs., and for every inch below, subtract 3 lbs. Your range should be about 10 to 13 lbs. above or below this target. These figures are only estimates, based on competitive runners. Your body type may vary. An individual with a higher weight, according to "The Competitive Runner's Handbook, " may actually have a smaller percentage of body fat, so there are people who do not fit this specific archetype. When it comes to weight, discretion and individual judgment are always necessary.

In my readings and reasearch on running, for the elite runners (men), their racing body weight is determined by this widely used “rule of thumb” which is the 2:1 ratio—two pounds of the body weight for every inch in height. As applied to my body, my height is 67 inches multiplied by 2, and the result is 134 pounds! For the advanced runners & weekend runner (men) who wants to compete in their respective age categories, the ideal racing body weight is computed as the total of the 2:1 ratio plus 10% of the body weight. As applied to my body, the product of 2:1 ratio is 134 pounds plus 10% (of 134 lbs) is equivalent to 147.4 pounds. If I am seriously considering myself in this category of advanced runners, I should be able to reduce at least 7 pounds from my present weight.

For elite women runners, the formula that works very accurate to men’s elite does not apply to them. Women have a different body fat and body muscle make-up. But this is a suggested reference as the racing body weight for female elite runners—use 5 feet height as the base height and the equivalent of 81 pounds as the base weight. For every inch increment in height means an additional of 5 pounds from 81 pounds (base weight). As an example, the average racing body weight of a 5' 4? feet woman should be 81 plus 20 which is 101 pounds. For the advanced and weekend runner who wants to compete in their respective age categories, the suggested formula/reference is the same with the women elite runners but the base height is 5 feet at 90 pounds as the base weight and for every increment of one inch means an additional 5 pounds from 90 pounds. As an example, for a 5' 6? feet woman, her average racing body weight should be 90 pounds plus 30, which is equivalent to 120 pounds.

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Programming and design by 
Rob George.

Artwork by 
Rob George Jr.

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The information may be outdated (2011-04-25 02:08:49). For actual information go to iTunes

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