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POLSKARENIA SparkPoints: (158,109)
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4/17/14 3:17 A

Is it possible that you have allergies that are making you feel bloated and thereby uncomfortable etc...? Maybe that's something worth exploring...

FUNKYWVCHICK SparkPoints: (0)
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4/14/14 11:21 A

Thanks so much to everyone for the wonderful responses; I purchased the recommended "Racing Weight" book and am anxiously awaiting its arrival.

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
4/13/14 1:17 P

I am not suggesting that anyone will be able to run close to Usain Bolt's speed Zurich. All I am saying is that real running is a series of jumps. We push off, and " leap " farther than the length of our legs. We may only be able to do this 50 times a minute, but if we leap further with every step, we can go farther in the same amount of time ( faster ). So if one wants to go faster, and is not obese, then they are going to need to add leg strength, not weight loss.

This is true whether your goal is to get to 8 m.p.h., or 12 m.p.h.To move a set weight faster, you need to apply more force, and legs are where you build that force. So you need to make legs stronger, if your goal is to run faster, and your weight will not be able to vary a lot.

Sprinting can do this. You use different muscle fibers than long distance running, and build strength. That will help the speed in your long runs also. The principle is the same as if I deadlift 545 lbs. for 3 reps to build strength. If I then do sets of 10 for deadlifts, I may do 405, instead of 365, because the strength I got by doing heavy sets is still available when I do lighter, longer sets.

In the same way, sprinting is " lifting heavy ", and done for short periods to overload the muscle more, and build strength in your legs. That strength will increase your stride length as you " leap ", and increase your speed, even on your long runs, so if you do a 5K, you can cut down on your time.

This can be done from a starting runner, to an Olympic runner. The overall results won't be the same obviously, but the trend is the same. Stronger legs = faster speed.

ZURICHMAN SparkPoints: (1,775)
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Posts: 363
4/11/14 12:16 P

Zorb is a great runner and gives sound advice on here. I use to run before an injury and raced at 6 minutes a mile and ran a best marathon time of 2:50 with my 1st one being at 3:25.

There are many ways to improve your marathon times.

check out runners worlds for some training programs. Some others I know is Jeff Galoway and Hal Higdon but most programs go like this.

Pick your race and then do a 3 month training program working backwards from that date.

1. Do you long training run about 2 weeks before your race.
2. taper off the last 2 weeks to have fresh legs for the race.
3. In the beginning do a 2 month base build up only increasing weekly distance by 10% per week.
4. Every 3-4 weeks should be an easy week to let your body recover.
5. After the base work outs you can do some tempo running, hill repeats 1 slow 1 med and 1 fast and then recovery on the downhills. I had a hill that was about 1/4 mile long. You can also do some speed workouts on some of your training runs(fartlet sprinting between telephone poles). Again the 10% rule comes into play on all this. I use to also kick it in hard on every training run the last 1/4 mile and concentrated on shorting my stride and just turning my legs over faster.

When I was training hard for a race I did one weekend of long runs and the other weekend I did 1 mile sprints at 15-30 seconds below my race pace I wanted to run the marathon at. It gets you use to pacing and builds up leg speed. When you 1st start doing them you might get away with a faster pace but as you stack them up you have to have your pace dialed in. I did this on a 1 mile flat area and started out with 1-2 sprints and then every other week just built up from there. When I was finished I was up to 10-12 sprints with a 2-3 minute walk in between them for recovery time.

I hope that helps but would suggest getting someone's training plan, buy into their plan, and then just worked backwards from your race.

Russel Ussian Bolt was genetically gifted as are all the elite runners. You could train 10 hrs. a day and you still wouldn't beat them. We have one here in the Shippensburg area Steve Spence and his kids are the same way. He is over 40 now and can still run under 5 minutes a mile and think there was an article that he has done that for the last 25 years. You will never be able to beat genetics.

Good luck

Edited by: ZURICHMAN at: 4/11/2014 (12:21)
LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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4/11/14 9:26 A

Russell, there is no such thing as an elite male distance runner at 17% BF. However, there are plenty of elite female distance runners at 17% BF. Unlike men, it is ridiculously unhealthy for women to drop below about 14% BF whereas guys can drop to under 10% without adverse affects.

Edited by: LEC358 at: 4/11/2014 (09:26)
MALAMI518 SparkPoints: (121,869)
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4/11/14 8:32 A

I'm feeling huge right now after reading some of these responses. I have no idea what my body fat percentage is. I'm sure that my scale is giving me a number that is too low for where I really am, but I also am having a difficult time with weight loss at the moment. I'm not sure where to go to have it measured accurately. I would like to lose some more fat and improve my pace, so I'll keep trying.

My library had a copy of The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald, so I'll start there.

TINIERTINA Posts: 5,096
4/11/14 7:43 A

Not exactly sure, personally, if my body fat is too low at all, but I have wasting syndrome due to diabetes type 2. So now, what you really want to do is to avoid those killer carbs.

Whenever I am feeling too skinny (for ME... I caution everyone: this is in MY estimation ONLY!), I avoid exercising until my blood sugar goes back up to borderline-acceptable. Then I am back at intense cardio again.

The constant throughout, though, is keeping the calorie count and carbohydrate grams really low.

MAYBER SparkPoints: (120,147)
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4/11/14 12:12 A

Good advice given by others and hopefully you will learn from it
Many of us only wish we had your problem for myself am not concerned over the BMI number but rather how I feel and altho have body fat to lose feel good at the weight I am at my age
One day at a time God bless Love prayers peace

CLAYARTIST Posts: 3,277
4/10/14 10:50 P


RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
4/10/14 7:30 P

Lec - Men have the same problem.. at 17 % we have boobs.

A woman at 17 % though, isn't gonna wanna lose any more fat, and losing muscle is not a good idea either, so you aren't going to make much more improvement by losing 10 lbs.

All running is, is pushing yourself forward in small jumps from foot to foot. We launch forward with each step, and are actually jumping. One factor is weight. We can only push 250 lbs. so far, right? So if we drop to 150, we run faster, because each stride is longer. Look at Usain Bolt. He runs less steps than his competitors. Meaning each step is longer. At 41 steps to go 100 meters, he is averaging 2.439 meters per step, or 8 feet with each "step ".

I tend to average about 2 feet, since I have 26", and I am short at just under 5'8". Eight feet isn't a real step, but a person launching themselves forward. He basically does 41 long jumps in rapid succession.

So how does he jump 8 feet, and then do it 40 more times in 9.58 seconds? Incredible leg strength. MORE muscle, and greater leaping ability. So I would look towards plyometrics, as well as sprinting to build the muscles you need to do this, and stop focusing on a 10 lb. loss, which will have minimal effect if any. Think about how much it would slow you down, if you GAINED 10 lbs. Not much, right? So why would 10 lbs. lighter make much of a difference either.

Technique is huge. My brother ran a 5 minute mile in high school, and it looked like his feet never touched the ground, because he was actually running, and not jogging. He jumped farther than his actual leg length, which most people don't do, because of technique. We put our leg out as far as it can reach, and have both feet on the ground a lot. Running with good technique will mean that you never have more than one foot on the ground, and many times none, since you are jumping forward.

So focus on technique, and building muscle to accelerate you forward, and speed should increase. If I want to push an object along, without changing the weight, I need to apply more force, and that is done with muscle.

Edited by: RUSSELL_40 at: 4/11/2014 (09:15)
LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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4/10/14 10:23 A

"As you probably already know, most elite runners have bodyfat much less than 17%." Actually, this is not the case for female runners at all. Kara Goucher (elite marathoner) is estimated at around 16% BF.

Male runners can get into the single digits, but women can't without being seriously unhealthy (thanks boobs :)).

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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4/10/14 10:13 A

I second the suggestion to take a look at your training and nutrition patterns. It kind of sounds like you might be overtraining and undereating already. Losing muscle isn't worth it because muscle is what gives you power in your stride to go faster. I give you Ryan Hall's left quad as an example:

As someone who has a large frame and is 5'8", looking waif-like isn't really in the cards for us. I've decided to co-op the "Amazon" image instead. emoticon

Edited by: LEC358 at: 4/10/2014 (10:13)
ESCHULMA SparkPoints: (0)
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4/10/14 10:12 A

I don't think any athletic coach would recommend losing muscle before fat.

If you *main* concern is performance, focus on your training first. If you want to get faster then those intervals and endurance runs matter and they have to be done right. If you can afford a coach that is the best; there are also good training plans that combined with a heart rate monitor can be pretty effective. It means training rather than social exercise though.

As you probably already know, most elite runners have bodyfat much less than 17%. So if you are wanting to lose weight, you should skew towards fat loss rather than muscle. Eat enough protein to keep your muscles intact, and a reasonable deficit to burn some fat. Avoid starvation diets. The Racing Weight book already recommended is not bad.

77RICEGUY Posts: 8
4/10/14 10:03 A

I guess I am concerned that you feel tired and loggy. Given the metrics you describe, I can't imagine that your 17% is what is causing these symptoms or that losing fat would alleviate them. I would look closely at your training and eating regime. I learned from a friend who is both a exercise physiologist and an ironwoman the importance of recovery in a training program.

Also, I think that even though the very fastest distance runner have little upper body muscle mass, that is probably not the healthiest choice, especially if your body wants to carry the muscle.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (196,863)
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4/9/14 1:50 P

ECKYLS Posts: 176
4/9/14 11:14 A

If one of the things you are looking for is improved performance, instead of focusing on the weight, why not switch up your training methods some? I'm not a runner, so I can't offer specific advice, but cross training in different areas may help your performance with running.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 26,421
4/9/14 10:41 A

" I feel big, heavy, and slow and I'm tired and jealous "
Sound like a body image issue....

FUNKYWVCHICK SparkPoints: (0)
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4/9/14 10:28 A

Thanks for your response- I have had it tested at an educational lab with calipers and my scale has BI (which I realize is less accurate.) Both methods have had it between 17-18%.

I suppose I'm just frustrated. I feel big, heavy, and slow and I'm tired and jealous of all my waif-like friends who seem to weigh nothing without trying. However, health always trumps vanity and performance. Thanks for the input :)

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,772
4/9/14 10:16 A


What method have you used to determine your body fat %? If you're already at 17%, I would not recommend losing any more fat, as you're already getting into a range that can be unhealthy. I also don't think trying to lose muscle is a good idea or will help with performance. In fact, I think it could decrease your performance if you lose strength.

In my opinion, you could be compromising your health if you try to lose weight at this point, so I would not recommend it.

Coach Jen

FUNKYWVCHICK SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 7
4/9/14 9:56 A

Hello, SparkCommunity.
I realize this is going to sound ridiculous, but I would like to lose some weight and I'm not sure how to go about it.

I am a female competitive distance runner, and although my body fat percentage is quite low (~17) I am still near the upper end of the healthy weight range for my height and think that losing weight will help my speed/time in my upcoming marathon.

I do not think I am fat or overweight, but I think losing around 10 pounds would improve my performance. For reference, I am 5'9" and 145 lbs with a medium-large frame and currently wear a US size 4. I would like to be around 135, which would still be a healthy BMI, just lower in my ideal weight range. Would it behoove me to lose muscle in an effort to lose weight or am I crazy? I don't think it would be healthy overall for me to lose more body fat.

Is this obsessive or is this possible? Would it improve my performance? I'm not an elite or anything, and don't want to compromise my health in other areas over 10 pounds.

I'd love any advice anyone could give me.

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