Racing Weight

Philip HarrisRunningLeave a Comment

Today I hit my “racing weight” and by that I mean the completely arbitrary and┬ásuspiciously round 160 lbs I picked at the start of our training.

One of the things I get asked a lot when I tell people how much running I do is why I’m not “skinny as a rake” or something to that affect. Partly that’s because I don’t have the genetic lottery ticket that fast marathon runners have. The other reason is that even at 60-70km a week of running, it’s very easy to “eat back” the calories you burn on all but the longest runs – particularly if you start using running as an excuse to indulge in baked goods from your favourite coffee store. There’s a shocking amount of calories in baked goods, unfortunately.

Although I eat far too much processed food, I do try to give my body the right mix of nutrients after a run – which means some sort of protein shake/bar and some carbs (usually a Mango Magic from Jugo Juice – I’m a sucker for Mango Magic). That replaces a good chunk of the calories I burn on the run. Throw in a meal at a restaurant or a doughnut (or both) and before you know it you’ve replaced all those running calories and more.

According to my bathroom scales I’m in the “normal” weight range (whatever that means) but when you hit the 20 mile mark in a marathon every pound you’re lugging round makes a difference. For me, that’s when every step becomes a battle between my desperation┬áto finish the race and my desire to curl up by the side of the road and sleep. So, for this race, I picked a target that felt achievable and healthy and I’ve been tracking the food I eat using MyFitnessPal to try to slowly shed a few pounds.

And it’s working.

On paper, every pound is worth two seconds per mile. That’s just under a minute over the course of a marathon. Looking at my previous races, that means, all other things being equal, I should be roughly 7 minutes 30 seconds quicker. Of course, all other things aren’t equal. My race pace is heavily dependent on the the quality of my training, the weather, nutrition, the grimness of my determination and a hundred other tiny factors I can’t control.

Still, it feels to be good at my completely arbitrary goal already. There’s still a month to go until the race so there’s time to drop a bit more weight and shave a couple more minutes off my time.


[Racing Weight by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 14th September 2013]

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