micke-midlife on November 5th, 2008

what’s the optimal weight for a marathon personal best of below 2:30? the usually used BMI doesn’t really help. one is considered “normal weight” from a BMI of 18.5 - 24.9. quite a wide range. this translates for a 186cm tall person to something between 63kg and 86kg. well, most probably 86kg won’t do the trick on the marathon distance. but how close to 63kg do we have to go?

a better indication of a normal weight is given by dr stillman’s height/weight ratio table. this table allocates for the non-active healthy man 49.9kg (110lbs) for the first 152.4cm (5 feet) and 2.495kg (5.5lbs) for every 2.54cm (1 inch) thereafter. for women the table foresees 45.3kg (100lbs) for the first 152.4cm (5 feet) and 2.268kg for every 2.54cm (1 inch) above this. no idea how dr. stillman came up with this (my guess empiricly), anyway the non-active healthy man of 186cm in height would weigh 82.9kg.

the uk website peak performance lays out the relation of weight and performance for runners. dr sheenan, a highly regarded writer on distance running sees the height/weight ratio as the key factor for distance running success. he recommends for

  • sprinters (100-400m) to be 2.5% lighter than the average
  • middle distance runners (800m - 10k) to be about 12% lighter
  • long-distance runners (above 10k) to be 15% lighter than the non-active healthy comparison

peak performance provides a couple of examples. unfortunately too few above 180cm long-distance runners. but there are indications that for tall long-distancers the range is more towards the upper %-range and beyond 15% lighter.

for my fat belly this translates to 15% down from 82.9kg, equals 70.5kg as optimal running weight. ohhh, some way to go… soup the next couple of days?