2012 Renewal — Running and Walking will be Better without my Extra Weight!

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Mark Russell is one of the owners of Metro Run and Walk and is an avid walker and runner.

Tale of the Tape Through Week One

Weight:  January 1 =  189,   January 8 =  186.  1 week, -3 lbs.  Ahead of pace.

Mileage:  Week 1 run/walk miles:  35.  Average weekly mileage: 35.  On pace.

Weight Loss Goal is 26 pounds in 26 weeks

Running and Walking with Extra Weight

As a runner/walker, weight is your enemy.  It increases the stress on your muscles, joints, and connective tissue.  I’ve heard it said that 10 extra pounds costs a runner 20 seconds a mile in race pace.  That’s 2 minutes for a 10K.  My experience confirms that.  It’s like running carrying a half gallon of milk in each hand.  I also think it increases my susceptibility to injury — like my hamstrings yelping when I stride out or power up a hill.  And running heavy just plain feels bad.

So the big questions for me in setting a goal for weight loss were how much, how fast, and my strategy for losing.

How Much to Lose?

My ‘fighting’ weight – when I have felt fit and did my best running – tends to be in the low 170s.  That was my ongoing weight about 5 years ago.  But even then I was carrying a bit extra.  I was in the low 160s in college.  So, 165 sounds about right.  At a January 1 weight of 189, that means about 25 lbs.

How Fast to Lose it? 

Sustainable healthy weight loss is .5 – 2 lbs. a week.  I am looking for something steady but not too drastic, without radical changes in diet or lifestyle.  With each lb. lost requiring 3500 calories being removed by reduced intake or burnt by increased exercise, I decided that 1 lb a week was a good pace – or 500 calories a day differential. 

What’s the Best Weight Loss Strategy for Me?

While increased mileage can help with that 500 calorie a day differential, making much better choices about what I eat is critical.  And if you are talking calories, you are talking about starches, fats and oils, and sugars.  I am avoiding the worst of these, and including the healthier ones as ‘accent foods’.  Accent foods are smaller treats on my plate rather than the main portions of my meal.  Main portions will be lean protein and lots of different vegetables.

  • Make sure starches are good ones

Avoid processed grains and breads, bleached rice, and white potatoes.  Enjoy small portions of whole grain, brown rice, beans, and sweet potatoes.

  • Challenge fats in your food

Avoid bad fat — hydrogenated oils, fatty cuts of meats, most animal fats — and high fat recipes, like ones that use frying, gravies, or cream/butter sauces.  Rely on small portions of good fats like nuts, avocado, olive oil.

  • Just a spoon full of sugar…?

Avoid refined sugars (soda, candy, table sugar).  Small portions of alcohol, sweetened foods.  Moderate quantities of whole fruit. 


Next week I’ll cover my running and walking mileage and training approach.


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One Response to 2012 Renewal — Running and Walking will be Better without my Extra Weight!

  1. Thanks for all the information!

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