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"ideal" weight - fact or fiction? (Read 2547 times)

I am a 17-year old male runner, and I train regularly to compete in middle-distance road racing events, between

5 and 10K. I've done a lot of research on the net about the formulas that can be used to calculate "ideal" weight for

various sporting events, etc.,.. I am only 5'5", and I have weighed between 115 and 120 lbs for most of my running career.

The formula I found for middle-distance runners established my "ideal" weight at 117 lbs, but when I drop to this weight

or any lower, I feel crappy and actually perform poorer. I have not had a DEXA or official body fat test done, but when I did

this one (http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html), I got around 5%, which I doubt.

So what should I conclude? Should I just go by how I feel? My docs, etc. tell me that i am still growing.  For an idea

of my current performance, my 5K PR is 19:57. Thanks.

Scout7

CPT Curmudgeon

If you feel crappy at some arbitrarily calculated weight, then I would say that it's not ideal.

If your performance and training are adversely affected by losing weight, STOP TRYING TO DROP WEIGHT.

I really wouldn't worry about it whilst you're still growing. At 5'5 then 120 lbs is still pretty light.

If you feel crappy at some arbitrarily calculated weight, then I would say that it's not ideal.

If your performance and training are adversely affected by losing weight, STOP TRYING TO DROP WEIGHT.

No need to shout

Running is stupid

Are you asking if 117 is a better number than 120?  People may vary by more than than during any given day.

DoppleBock

Old school is for an adult male for weight in pounds to be 2x his height in inches ~ 5'5 = 65 inches = 130 pounds.

I am 6'2 and have run low 18's 5k weighing 220 pounds

Reality is that you would be best served by having adequate nutrition to help you recover and add muscle.  If that would mean that you weigh 125 ~ I would be willing to bet you will become much faster.  It is the people that learn how to receover the best that get the most out of their bodies.

I am a 17-year old male runner, and I train regularly to compete in middle-distance road racing events, between

5 and 10K. I've done a lot of research on the net about the formulas that can be used to calculate "ideal" weight for

various sporting events, etc.,.. I am only 5'5", and I have weighed between 115 and 120 lbs for most of my running career.

The formula I found for middle-distance runners established my "ideal" weight at 117 lbs, but when I drop to this weight

or any lower, I feel crappy and actually perform poorer. I have not had a DEXA or official body fat test done, but when I did

this one (http://www.healthcentral.com/cholesterol/home-body-fat-test-2774-143.html), I got around 5%, which I doubt.

So what should I conclude? Should I just go by how I feel? My docs, etc. tell me that i am still growing.  For an idea

of my current performance, my 5K PR is 19:57. Thanks.

Retired 1/1/13 ... Tired of being broken and fat  ... New goal 12/29/15 - To be able to enjoy running 4-5 hours through the woods again in 2016.

In my experience (with my two sons who run -- one 20 and the other 16), your weight will normalize to where it should be.

My sons are an inch taller -- one weighs more than you and one is about the same.  They both eat everything that is not bolted down...

To add a bit more to the discussion.  As an old guy, I am an inch taller than you but my "racing weight" is 137.  Any lighter than that and I would feel sickly...

The only thing I would worry about is being too light.  If you are eating enough and you are at 120 -- sounds like that is a good weight for you.

Just my opinion -- I could be wrong!

ETA -- DoppleBock makes good points as well!

And you can quote me as saying I was mis-quoted. Groucho Marx

Rob

DoppleBock

Calories will be 2 things for you

1)  Most important - Receover and grow stronger

2)  Allow you to go further in your workouts

If you are not lactose intolerant - I could be as simple as 12 ounces of 2% chocolate milk following your runs.   You are shooting for a 4-2-1 (Grams of carbs - Protein - Fat) of easily digestible calories - 300-400 is a nice number.  This should be taken within 15 minutes post run.

Proper recovery will help you feel stronger for your runs - Allowing you to go faster and further.  Growing stronger and stronger until you become a beast!  Or at least as beastly as a 5'5 125 pound person can be.

Retired 1/1/13 ... Tired of being broken and fat  ... New goal 12/29/15 - To be able to enjoy running 4-5 hours through the woods again in 2016.

Needs more cowbell!

My hubby is built a lot like DB (same height, even)--built more like a decathlete than a pure distance runner.  Once upon a time he loved running and was for years the 3rd fastest guy on his HS XC team and ran XC well in college his first year, even though he was head and shoulders taller and bigger than a lot of the guys who were slower than he was.  He was never a feather-weight kind of guy, but could probably kick major running ass again (and for this I loathe him, heh), were it something he had any interest in.  I'd kill for his lungs and natural athleticism (both of his parents are/were major jocks and gifted runners.  His mother is in her mid-60s and could probably still hand me my ass in a 5k...bitch).

There's a lot of emphasis put on distance runners being at the bottom of the healthy weight range for their height and build, or even a bit underweight.  It seems that a lot of people could benefit from eating more/better.  It may not make them faster, but it wouldn't likely slow them down.  If you're not feeling well you won't perform well.  If you're well fed and getting the nutrients you need you're far more likely to progress AND not risk damaging your body while you're still growing.

'16 Goals:

• Do some dus...and some CX...and some tandem gravel...and some podiums...

• PRs

• 130#s (or less)

• Stop letting my core go to hell

DoppleBock

Chris Solinsky ~ Although large 6'1 and 165 pounds - By the old addage of weight 2x height = 73 inches x 2 = 146 pounds is only @ 20 pounds or 13% heavier than normal distance runner.

Galen Rupp - 5'11 and 138 ~ 71 inches x 2 = 142 pounds is 4 pounds or 2.8% lighter

Pick your favorite male distance runner and you will likely be close - 5'7 = 67 inches = 134 pounds - Likely they will fall +/- 3% from this formula.

Retired 1/1/13 ... Tired of being broken and fat  ... New goal 12/29/15 - To be able to enjoy running 4-5 hours through the woods again in 2016.

Pick your favorite male distance runner and you will likely be close - 5'7 = 67 inches = 134 pounds - Likely they will fall +/- 3% from this formula.

That's exactly the height and weight of my favorite male distance runner.

(Just to add something useful for the OP: at your current weight, you should not worry about your weight at all. Get rid of your scale if that's what it takes. Some lucky people don't have weight problems. You are one of those people. So, don't worry about it just because it is a primary issue for other runners. Eat when you are hungry, and eat a lot. When I was your age, I ate all the time, pizza after pizza. Train hard, eat food and lots of it, and race like a champ.)

Even with the caveat that formulas are based on averages, your estimate of 117 lbs might be light for a distance runner of your height.

There's the further wrinkle is that you are still growing. At 17 my running son weighed about 145 on a 6' 2" frame. A body fat scale measured him at 4%. But he's not worried about it. He eats like a horse. I expect he'll put on a few pounds without diminishing his racing performance.

The late Dr. George Sheehan had a formula that compared pretty well, on average, with actual results, and for 5' 5" he would have 123.5 as the "ideal" distance runner weight and 12% below the average healthy male. But Zatopek was 12% heavier than his Sheehan-calculated "ideal" weight (5' 8" and 155lbs), and Coe was significantly lighter (5'10 " and 120lbs).  And there's the example already quoted of the top two US 10k runners who are different in build and weight and seem to do just fine. Your ideal weight is something you'll find through trial and error, but lowering your weight or trying to keep it where it currently is at 117lbs should not be a priority for you.

If I had to make a single wild ass guess based on your 5k time and no other data (other than that you said you train regularly and have been doing it for long enough to call it a career), I would suggest that you might lean toward throwing away the weighing scale, eating enough, running more, and helping your body get stronger.

The process is the goal.

Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

Just a dude.

I think everyone has an ideal weight. And it is specific to each person, not to a formula.

When I was in college, 150 was too light. 153 was just right. 155 meant I had a big dinner. I couldn't eat enough to get to 160.

Dunk tests had me at 5-7% body fat.

My sophomore year in high school I was at 135 ish.

None of that matters to you. Sounds like today your ideal weight is about 117. Maybe that changes in a month or a year. Maybe you get stronger and you are faster at 125. Maybe you work through a track season especially hard and loose a couple pounds of fat and are still fast and strong.

To me, the number on the scale doesn't matter much. Are you happy with your time on the track or your place on the course? Are you getting better? Concentrate on that.

-Kelly

Getting back in shape... Just need it to be a skinnier shape...

Even with the caveat that formulas are based on averages, your estimate of 117 lbs might be light for a distance runner of your height.

There's the further wrinkle is that you are still growing. At 17 my running son weighed about 145 on a 6' 2" frame. A body fat scale measured him at 4%. But he's not worried about it. He eats like a horse. I expect he'll put on a few pounds without diminishing his racing performance.

The late Dr. George Sheehan had a formula that compared pretty well, on average, with actual results, and for 5' 5" he would have 123.5 as the "ideal" distance runner weight and 12% below the average healthy male. But Zatopek was 12% heavier than his Sheehan-calculated "ideal" weight (5' 8" and 155lbs), and Coe was significantly lighter (5'10 " and 120lbs).  And there's the example already quoted of the top two US 10k runners who are different in build and weight and seem to do just fine. Your ideal weight is something you'll find through trial and error, but lowering your weight or trying to keep it where it currently is at 117lbs should not be a priority for you.

If I had to make a single wild ass guess based on your 5k time and no other data (other than that you said you train regularly and have been doing it for long enough to call it a career), I would suggest that you might lean toward throwing away the weighing scale, eating enough, running more, and helping your body get stronger.

Many thanks for your expert advice, and for that found in prior posts. I've only been running for three years, so I think I used the word "career" a little too loosely here - "pasttime" would have been a better choice, in the sense that running is something important to me and which I enjoy doing.

In regards to Jeff - obviously, weight loss, which seems to be a mainstream topic in running websites and mags such as RW, is not my motivator here (unless I would need to lose weight to perform better/run faster.) However, I am gradually increasing my weekly mileage - hopefully, I will just eventually reach a stable weight at which I can continue to make progress training-wise.

Thanks again to all for the help - I will make sure to provide updates some time from now.

Please don't confuse me for an expert.

But I do live with one, and some of the knowledge may rub off.

The process is the goal.

Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

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