Monday, 2 January 2006

Waiting for the breakthrough

Posted by speedygeoff on Monday, January 02, 2006 with 2 comments
Training Update

. My running and other training has been on target for the last six weeks or so.

. Times still haven't improved to my satisfaction, and my weight has been stuck on 64 kilos for months now. That's not too bad - just three years ago it peaked at 73 kilos. My target is 57 kilos which would give me a BMI of 20, as low as I want to go. I am glad that my weight didn’t sky-rocket over Christmas this time as it usually has.

. Maybe the breakthrough will come this month?

Last Week’s target 70 km, achieved 70 km
This Week’s target 80 km
Weight 64 kilos (67 kilos on my new set of scales. Aaaargghhh!)
Song of the Week: On The Mend by Foo Fighters from the album “In Your Honor”
An article I wrote for Vetrunner in March 2004; slightly updated.
Because I race over long distances, a light frame can be an asset. So I like to keep track of my body weight every day. I found long ago that a reduction in body weight – up to a point – corresponded to a reduction in times for longer distances, especially the marathon.

Admittedly in recent years ‘monitoring’ means watching my weight go up when training falls below about 50k per week, and watching it go down again – at a considerably slower rate – when training reverts to a normal (injury free) 70-80k.

I was interested to come across the ‘Body Mass Index’ (BMI) measurement recently. A BMI of 30 or over is considered obese; 25 to 30 overweight, and 20 to 25, normal. Anything under 20 is considered underweight.

The formula for BMI is a simple one – BMI is weight (in kilos) divided by the square of height (in metres). You can see it is not really measuring body fat but body mass, and doesn’t take into account that a very strong person could have a higher weight where extra mass may be muscle not fat. Nevertheless when comparing distance runners whose body types are naturally lean, it may be a reasonable comparison.

Shock! Horror! At 73 kilos in early 2003, and 1.68 metres, I fell into the overweight category (26)! This was a wake up call and I have successfully reduced my weight to an acceptable level since then.

I will list a few simple points about losing weight.

. Have a target weight. Make sure the target weight is a reasonable one. Check it out with your medical adviser if unsure. Work towards the target weight by aiming to lose NO MORE THAN a kilo every two weeks.

. Shun fad diets. Eat widely from all the food groups. Keep up your strength. Don’t reduce your intake (assuming you are not a glutton!) but spend more time exercising instead.

. Once you reach your target weight, BE HAPPY WITH IT and stay there. Don’t go to extremes. A very low body fat level is extremely dangerous.

So don’t give up, it can be done. Keep an eye on the scales, follow the principles above, and you can look forward to a slimmer, healthier, and speedier future.
....and I would have peaked at 76 kilos had my old scales been accurate. Aaaargghhh indeed!


  1. Happy New Year Geoff!

    I'm sure you'll soon be down to your target weight and I hope I will be down to mine too!

  2. ... the next thing I do is buy a new set of scales and it looks like my old ones were weighing 3 kilos light. Am I really 67 kilos now?

    Thanks Lulu and just be consistent with your running!