Marathon runners come in all shapes and sizes. So it’s more about what shape you are in between the ears.
However, runners must be physically healthy to complete the 26.2-mile race. One of the factors that affect a runner’s performance is their weight.
It’s a common question among marathon runners and enthusiasts – what do marathon runners weigh?
According to various sources, the ideal weight for a marathon runner depends on several factors, such as height, gender, and body composition.
Most elite marathon runners have a lean and slender build, with a low body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage. However, the average weight of a marathon runner can vary based on their level of fitness and training.
While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what marathon runners weigh, understanding the relationship between weight and performance can help runners set realistic goals and optimize their training.
In this article, we will explore the factors that affect a runner’s weight, the ideal weight range for marathon runners, and how weight can impact their performance.
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Factors Affecting The Weight of Marathon Runners
Marathon runners come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of what they should weigh. However, several factors can affect the weight of marathon runners:
- Body Composition: A runner’s body’s amount of muscle, fat, and bone can affect their weight. Generally, runners with less body fat and power tend to weigh more than runners with more body fat and less muscle.
- Training: The amount and intensity of training can affect a runner’s weight. Runners who train more frequently and at higher powers may have more muscle mass, which can increase their weight.
- Diet: A runner’s diet can also affect their weight. Runners who consume a diet high in carbohydrates and protein may have more muscle mass, which can increase their weight. On the other hand, runners who consume a diet high in fat and sugar may have more body fat, which can increase their weight.
- Age: Age can also affect a runner’s weight. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and gain body fat, which can decrease our weight.
- Gender: Gender can also affect a runner’s weight. Generally, men tend to have more muscle mass than women, which can increase their weight.
It’s important to note that weight alone is not a good indicator of a runner’s performance. Other factors, such as VO2 max, running economy, and anaerobic threshold, play a much more significant role in determining a runner’s performance.
Therefore, runners need to focus on maintaining a healthy body composition rather than just trying to lose weight. This can be achieved through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate rest and recovery.
Average Weight of Marathon Runners
Marathon runners come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some general trends regarding weight. According to LetsRun.com, most elite marathon runners are between 5’3″ and 5’5″ and weigh between 100 and 110 lbs. However, this is only sometimes the case for recreational runners.
For non-elite runners, the ideal weight can vary depending on height, gender, and body type. For example, Serpentine Running Club notes that a distance runner needs to weigh less than the average person, typically around 5 to 10 percent less.
This means that a 5’10” male runner might aim for a weight between 130 and 155 lbs, while a 5’5″ female runner might aim for a weight between 100 and 125 lbs.
It’s important to note that weight is just one factor in running performance. While being at a healthy weight can undoubtedly help, other factors such as training, nutrition, and genetics also play a role.
Additionally, losing weight slowly or with proper guidance can benefit performance and overall health.
Importance of Weight in Marathon Running
Weight is a critical factor in marathon running as it directly affects performance. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight to achieve optimal results in a marathon.
However, it is equally important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight management in marathon running, and individual differences must be considered.
Research has shown that carrying extra weight can significantly impact running performance. For example, a 2011 Swiss study found that body weight affects performance in running more than in other sports, such as swimming and biking.
This is because running is a weight-bearing exercise, and the more weight a runner carries, the more energy they need to expend to move their body forward.
However, it is essential to note that being too light can also negatively impact performance. For example, a distance runner needs to weigh about 5 to 10 percent less than someone who does not run.
According to a study, a 6-foot-tall male distance runner should weigh about 8 to 17 pounds less than his 176 pounds.
If a runner is too light, they may not have the strength and energy to maintain their pace throughout the marathon.
Understanding that weight management is not just about losing weight is also essential. Runners must maintain a healthy weight by consuming a balanced diet and staying hydrated.
A diet rich in carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats can fuel a runner’s body. In addition, staying hydrated is crucial for optimal performance, as dehydration can cause fatigue and decreased endurance.
Overall, weight plays a critical role in marathon running performance. Runners must maintain a healthy weight by consuming a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and understanding their weight requirements.
By doing so, they can achieve optimal results and reach their marathon goals.
As we have seen, the ideal weight for a marathon runner varies depending on several factors, such as gender, height, age, and training level. However, a general rule of thumb is that a runner should aim to have a lean body mass with minimal excess weight that could slow them down.
The ideal weight for a 5’6″ runner is around 120 pounds for women. The weight should be 15% lighter for men than the average man at the same height. However, this percentage decreases as the distance of the runs falls.
Professional marathon runners tend to have a lower body fat percentage and a higher muscle mass than recreational runners. They also have a high lactate threshold, meaning they can sustain a high exercise intensity for longer without fatigue.
It is important to note that weight should not be the only focus for a runner. A healthy diet and a proper training program are also crucial for achieving optimal performance and preventing injuries. Moreover, every individual’s body is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Therefore, consulting with a healthcare professional or certified coach is essential before embarking on a weight loss or training program. Any runner can achieve their goals and reach their full potential with the proper guidance and dedication.