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Ideal Body Weight for Runners

By Karl Gruber ; Updated July 18, 2017

Finding your ideal body weight that allows you to run with ease, suffer fewer injuries and be more efficient and effective is a highly individual process. Everyone's physical make-up and capabilities vary, so there is no one ideal body weight for everyone who runs. By focusing on your body's stature, overall health and the speed at which you run, you can gain a better perspective on exactly what your ideal body weight should be to make your running better.

Ideal Body Fat Percentage

Almost anyone who runs understands that having excess body fat decreases your overall performance. It is simply unneeded weight that causes you to run slower. The normal body fat for young men is 15 percent to 18 percent, and for young women it's 25 percent to 30 percent. When it comes to finding your ideal body weight and fat percentage when you run, these normal percentages are excessive to run well at a good pace.

The Right Running Weight

If you run on a consistent basis, you eventually find the weight that works best for you. Many runners are concerned with having too much weight when it comes to running and are constantly seeking to lose pounds for better performance. But some runners can lose too much weight and hinder their running performance. In "Lore of Running," Dr. Tim Noakes says that runners who become too thin or below their ideal body weight will only hurt their running output. He goes on to say that all runners have an optimum weight at which they run best, maybe even a bit over their ideal weight for extra energy stores, which is especially good for distance running.

Elite Runner's Body Weight

Runners who compete at a high level need a low body weight, mainly reflected by a low body fat content. Elite male runners should not seek to go below 5 percent body fat content, and elite women runners should not drop below 10 percent to 15 percent. Anything less than this can negatively affect performance and impair your immune system, leading to illness or infection.

Daily Jogger's Ideal Body Weight

If you are not competitive and run just to stay in shape and control your weight, there are still important factors in finding your ideal body weight for running. Your ideal weight for running is not just about your weight. If your overall body weight is based upon excess fat composition, you cannot run your best. However, if you follow good nutrition and exercise practices, converting more of your weight to muscle and less to fat, then you can actually be considered slightly obese, by the scales, and still be at a good running weight for you and your performance.

Finding A Happy Medium

The only true way to find your ideal body weight for running is to experiment. Don't be swayed by a running buddy who is the same height, age and stature, but weighs 10 pounds less than you. Your natural, ideal body weight that allows you to feel great and perform well simply might be 10 pounds heavier than your friend.

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