by Mbio Staff February 22, 2017


It is a question that a lot of runners ask. The idea of losing weight to improve pace is not a new concept. Yet, how much it actually affects your race performance depends upon each person in a different way.

Losing weight is the first thing every runner considers doing. Of course, they want to reach that finish line faster. However, it may not be the best way to beating a previous time. We are all different in that regard; from the way we carry our weight to our metabolic rates.

Therefore, it's not entirely accurate to say that dropping some amount of body mass will make you, in particular, run faster. Nonetheless, it can play a significant role in increasing your pace. There are certain factors to keep in mind before you try to drop some of that weight.

Race Time

Fat vs. Muscle

You want to be careful about losing body mass. That is because dropping extra fat is certainly beneficial, but you don't want to lose that muscle mass. The former is going to hold you back and slow you down.

In turn, the latter can actually increase your performance and make you a better and more efficient runner. Less weight can certainly help to speed your progress in beating your previous time. However, it is important to shed the right kind of weight and keep the body mass that works for you, not against.

VO2 Max

Fitness running is measured in your VO2 Max. This breaks down to the maximum volume of oxygen any runner inhales in a certain length of time per every unit of body mass. In other words, the higher your VO2 Max, the lighter your weight, and thus the faster you can run. Conversely, that is not the whole story either. There are a variety of other components that play into the role of VO2 Max on your speed.

One of the most crucial factors is the distance of your run. The effect your weight can have on your time is magnified by the length of your course. Therefore, the longer you run, the more time you can eliminate from each mile.

There are formulas that calculate a loss of just ten pounds in weight can equal an increase of 20 seconds for every mile you run. Putting that into terms that any runner can comprehend, you only need to shave over two minutes off your time for your next 10K. Additionally, when you hit up that half-marathon, before you know it, you could be looking at a new PR.

Estimating Average Results

A good rule of thumb to consider when deciding how much weight to lose is by looking at the average weight in relation to your height. Many experts believe that the target weight for most distance runners is 15% below the average for your height. If you are a male who is six feet tall, you want to aim for a weight of about 150 pounds. That is 15% less than the median weight for a man at that height. While this is just an overall estimate, a healthy ideal weight differs for every individual, male and female.

Losing the Weight

Be very careful about how you go about dropping those extra pounds. It is all about calories. It is the relation between your caloric intake and the amount you expend. If you are an avid runner then you likely have a consistent routine for your conditioning. That will most certainly help provide a baseline.

From that starting point, you can increase the rate of your calories burned. Additionally, you can begin to run further distances with the goal of burning more calories or focus on running faster times. Sometimes combining the two can go a long way to proper, safe weight loss.

Be sure you are smart about limiting your intake as well. You are going to need those calories to give you the right amount of energy in order to continue your regimen. Develop a routine that incorporates an adjusted running program, with a limited decrease in your caloric intake. It will be instrumental in helping you lose that weight in a sensible manner.

Mbio Staff
Mbio Staff

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