"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Friday, 15 March 2013

Running and Weight Loss and Age



I think I can safely say that all runners watch their weight. There might be a few that are lucky enough that they don’t have to. I am not one of those few.

What I can say is that many years ago, in the 1990’s, I ran and could eat what I want and still lose weight.  Today, 2013, that is not the case. Age certainly changed that.

When I was 35 years old, if I ran 50km or more per week, I would lose weight regardless of how much of what I ate. Now I am almost 50 and I must run 75km or more per week before that applies. I must really make an effort now if I want to shed any extra weight.

January 1997 - I was 58kg for this marathon.

December 2012 - 16 years older and about 16kg heavier! And 16 x wiser! Having more fun also :)

I must also be careful of what I eat nowadays and running more only helps a little more. But running still helps. I must just run much more per week than was necessary in the 1990’s if I want to eat what I like.

At least I have  lovely wife now that reminds me to eat wisely.
I remember when I used to run 100km and more per week I ate all the time and my weight still dropped. I remember waking up at 2 AM to eat an extra meal, often eggs or bread with cheese. Now I won’t be able to do that, even if I run more than 100km in a week.

Losing weight helps your running a great lot. You run better times with the same effort if you weigh less. It is said that each kilogram you lose can give you 3 minutes on a marathon. That is a lot and certainly makes it worth putting in the effort to shed that extra weight.

I am currently doing exactly that and hope to shed at least another 7 – 10kg before the Comrades. I am really putting in the effort and it shows. Yes, I run quite a lot, but at my age the extra effort is required. So far it is going very well and I am sure I will achieve my target weight by Comrades.

Older, heavier, slower...but I still run and love it more than ever!

Do you battle with this or are you still young and lucky enough not to worry too much about it?

Run and eat well everyone!

27 comments:

Kate Geisen said...

Every time I run with my adventure racing pack I get a reminder of how much harder it is to run when you're carrying extra weight. That's one of the things that pushed me into making an effort to lose weight. I've dropped about 17 lbs, which is about halfway to where I want to be.

I guess running and riding help, but they also kick my hunger into high gear, too. Plus, when I'm cooking healthy I also have to accommodate what my pickier family will eat.

So, yes, it's a bit of a struggle, though that was the case even more so 20 years ago. I'm probably in the best shape of my life (possibly excepting when I played high school basketball), and I'm about 50 lbs lighter than I was 15 years ago.

Good luck with your continued weight loss!

ajh said...

I completely agree with this. Right now that I am only swimming and not running it seems even harder! I was doing well and lately not so much. I have about 8 pounds to lose. Good luck with that.

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Very timely post for me Johann, Michael and I were just talking about this the other day. I used to think that when older people blamed their weight gain on age, it was just an excuse. But I've really noticed over the past few years that I just can't lose weight as fast or as easily. It really takes a lot more work than ever before. All the more reason to keep running I guess. Have a great weekend!

Karien said...

You're making me nervous about the years ahead...!!

At the moment having a young toddler, working full time and running in-between keeps my weight pretty much under control. But I must add that we eat pretty healthfully as well - our little girl (12 months) LOVES fruit and veggies because it's a staple in our home!

Robin said...

I've been trying to lose the same 5-7 pounds for almost 2 years now...it just won't come off. I think that age/hormones make it harder for sure. I'm not the best eater all the time, but even when I'm aware of it and try, it still doesn't really come off. It's frustrating though for sure. Keep us posted on your success :)

Ewa said...

It seems to me that for women, with all the hormonal changes later in life, losing weight is even more difficult. Nutritional experts are confused too, realizing finally that not all calories are equal and that it is not a simple calorie in, calorie out equation.
The only thing that works for me without fail is to be on a multi-week hike. Not a very practical approach to weight loss but one I would truly not mind doing. ;-)
Good luck with your weight loss journey.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

It was so difficult to realize that was happening to me and for many years I didn't want to believe it -- now I'm really paying fot it. A lot easier going on than off. :)

Amy said...

It's true. In my twenties I could literally eat everything I wanted with no repercussions and a lot less exercise. In my thirties I have better eating habits, and exercise a lot more. I weigh less now than I did then, but if I stop running for a week or more, my weight certainly goes up. Good luck with your weight goals for your race.

Jerry Smallwood said...

I, like you, am nearer 50 than 40 and have come to a decision that I am never going to shed the weight I have. One friend said to me "Eat less, exercise more" but I am just finding that I "Eat more, exercise more" now. I am just happy to be fit and not fat

Average Woman Runner said...

*sigh* I remember those days of not thinking about all that stuff while not worrying about my clothes fitting. Each year it gets a bit tougher and definitely impacts running times. Good luck with the training & getting a bit leaner - it will pay off at Comrades!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

I'll just ditto Kovas statement: A lot easier going on than off. :)

Anne said...

Don't hate me, but unless I'm on prednisone, my weight tends to remain pretty stable still...and well, as you know, I'm now 54...I know...I'm very lucky. My problem will be trying to avoid being too thin, which shows the facial wrinkles more and can make a woman look older. But, I'm not complaining!

Char said...

Age isn't necessarily kind when it comes to weight. When I trained for my marathon I was incredibly disappointed that I couldn't eat that much extra even though I was running a lot more kms. But having said that I don't weigh any more than I used to - I just don't eat as much as what I'd really like to be able to.

Paul Rodman said...

Oh dear...so true!

Jill said...

I put on a LOT of weight in my woe-is-me foot fiasco. I tried for a year to get it off but I just wasn't in the right mindset to get it off, mostly because I couldn't run so I had this "why bother" attitude. I've taken it all off and then some since October and feeling better than ever. I don't eat perfectly (just munched on a piece of licorice as I type :)) but for me, it was simply cutting calories - lots of them. I still want to get down about 5 more before Leadville...but I have a few months :).

You can do it, Johann. Stay focused and strong!

Amy said...

This is so true! *sigh*
You're doing great and I know you'll be ready for Comrades, though - at whatever weight!
Hang in there!

Lauren said...

Isn't that a bummer!!! I hate it. I run and run and run (eating the same as usual) and I GAIN weight. Ahhhh, such is with age. Sure, I'm not careful with my calories. That's because in my late 30's I could eat whatever I wanted and still lose weight. I suppose I was spoiled. Such is not the same as I approach 50.

Giorgio said...

We, runners, are aware of good physical shape because we look the same as most runners we encounter in our everyday runs. Anyway, It's really hard to handle the average weight... considering that I am 51 years old.

coach dion said...

As the years roll on I also feel I need to run more and more...

Do you know about Tim Noakes's diet thoughts, well I think you are the type of person who it would work on...

I hope I never need to find out, because I love food to much.

Good luck with the training.

Dawn said...

Ohhh I don't even like thinking about weight/running/age. I DO like to just run. And..I LOVE to eat. I just think I will continue to do both and see where I end up;))

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I believe this a 100%, even though I am training longer and harder than ever, I still have to watch what I eat like a hawk

Raina said...

Age is definitely slowing my metabolic burn..Glad I am not alone!

Michael said...

Unfortunately I've never had the type of metabolism where I could eat whatever I wanted and not worry about weight. I've struggled since I was in my teens. If I want to lose weight I have to eat 1200-1300 calories a day - period. And it honestly doesn't matter if I exercise 1 hour or 10 hours a week. It's just so hard. I'm sure it will only continue to get harder as I get older. It's a constant struggle for me. And I love to eat...and working out gives me such a strong appetite. It's truly hard to balance.

lindsay said...

I'm NOT one of those people! I have to watch what I eat and don't overeat... Easier said than done!

Black Knight said...

Great post, interesting. I have to watch what I eat now, in the past I didn't need. However I noticed that running is the best "cure". I swim and run (few times and few km) now but I lose weight ONLY with the runs.

Molly said...

I can't believe you used to wake up at 2:00 a.m. to eat! lol! I think now that I'm 40, the weight is harder to lose. But I agree, extra weight makes running so much harder than it needs to be. Nice job with your weight loss plan!

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