Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

Monday, 4 January 2010

Weight Loss vs. Training

What if instead of spending all of this time running intervals and tempos, the most effective way to become a faster runner was to simply lose weight?

10k's from last year

time 41:45 weight 50.5 kg (no structured training)
time 41:52 weight 51.0 kg (no structured training)

10k's from this year

time 43:48 weight 52.5 kg (no structured training)
time 42:44 weight 52.0 kg (training)
time 42:40 weight 51.4 kg (training)

Okay, so it is obvious my times correlate directly with what I weigh. And I was considering giving up on my training schedule (intervals once a week, tempo once a week and long run once a week, swimming +/- yoga on the rest days), which I have come to love over the past 2+ months, and just concentrating on losing weight.

But the thing is, the last race I listed was yesterday and it was in snow, icy trails, 17 degress F (- 8 C) and with some steep hills. This was the Novo Nordisk Bagsværd Sø Rundt. All the other races were in fairly warm weather. SR and I estimated that around 2 minutes should be taken off of our times due to the conditions to compare it to other races. In that case, I had a relative PR of 40:40 yesterday and was not at my lightest weight. I also have to say, the race yesterday felt effortless, more like a tempo run. I definitely could have pushed it a bit more had a female been close by. Should I admit the training is working?

I took first woman and SR took 3rd with a time of just over 36 minutes. He just barely lost to two of his old running friends, who he hadn't seen in years.

Running Song of The Day: My Girls by Animal Collective

6 comments:

cherelli said...

Admit it, the training is working! :) Maybe too early to tell, I'm sure there is a perfect balance between weight and training though. What if you "train" slightly heavier then "race" lighter (where you designate an "A" race whilst the others may be more "B or C" races in terms of importance and done at a heavier weight)?

SteveQ said...

And you're getting paid to do research? Three data points (five, with three variables), statistically irrelevant, no controls...

Nice race though and good song choice!

Kate said...

but you know your weight going into the race, right? so what if it's really just psychosematic (sorry if I just butchered the spelling...)?
you know, like maybe your knowledge of being at a lower weight is mentally convincing you that you can go faster, and then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

just a thought. but I'm not an elite runner. or an elite eater for that matter. so I could be totally wrong. : )

Danni said...

I don't get it. It looks to me like weight has nothing to do with it based on the times and weights you posted. You ran at least one faster time weighing more than a slower skinnier time.

No doubt weight helps speed to a point, but training is the only thing that's going to push you into faster times.

SteveQ said...

I think we're all saying there's some experimenter bias here. You want it to be true that weight loss means faster times, so you looked for data to support it.

BTW, in the first 5 days of the year, I've lost an inch off my waist (haven't been eating much), but my weight's unchanged.

sea legs girl said...

A couple thoughts:

1. Scientists and non scientists alike are allowed to recognize patterns and possible trends without statistical significance or controls! I'm not publishing this in any journal :).

2. The problem with my theory is anorexics and victims of starvation would be the fastest runners in the world.

3. Danni, it still appears to me that the faster the time, the lighter the weight...

4. Is the reason I was faster last year that I was still benefiting from the great training of running while pregnant?