Tuesday 26 July 2011

he's going the distance, he's going for speed....

Runner's World (@rwchallenge) tweeted an interesting link today:

"Get skinny get faster? Maybe, maybe not. http://ow.ly/5N7Ym"

Will losing weight help you to shave a few minutes off your half-marathon time?  Apparently, for every pound you lose, you cut about 2 seconds off your mile time.... or nearly 30 seconds off your race time.

Since starting training in earnest for the race 3 weeks ago, I've lost about 3kg.  By that logic, I should have already shaved the best part of 3 minutes off my half marathon time.  If my weight loss continues at the same rate of about a kilo a week (which it won't), then in theory I'll be shaving another minute a week.... or about ten minutes in total by the end of my training schedule.  Not too shabby.... although, as the video goes on to say, if you're already skinny, then weight-loss can be counterproductive by taking away muscle-mass and sapping your energy.

To be honest, I don't really have a whole lot weight to lose and I hope I don't lose much more: I already know that I'm running about a minute a mile faster than I was a couple of years ago.  All things being even, then I should stand a pretty good chance of beating my 2009 time of 1 hour 56 minutes and 52 seconds.  I'm not setting myself any targets though: I'd like to beat 2 hours and I'd like to set a new personal best, but that's not the most important thing by any means.  I think I'd actually get much more of a kick if LB manages to achieve a lifetime's ambition and complete the distance in less than two hours.  To do that, he'll need to maintain a pace of a little over nine minute miles..... most people can manage that over a short distance, but the trick, of course, is to keep that up over thirteen miles.  That's what the training is for, right?  To put the miles into your legs so you can run further and faster.  That's the theory, anyway. 

I ran nine miles with LB ten days or so ago, and we maintained a pretty steady pace of 10:52 mins/mile.  During my training for 2009's race, in the second week of August that year, I ran the same distance at an average of 9.42 minute miles, a bit faster, but not unachievably so with another couple of weeks of training in the legs.  With the excitement of the day itself, you tend to run a bit faster anyway (I managed 8.57 min/mile, so nearly a whole minute a mile faster than my training times).... I reckon that a sub-2 hour time is definitely not beyond LB's grasp.  It might be a stretch, but I don't think it's impossible by any means.

Does it matter if he doesn't make it?  Not at all.... but it's great to have something to aim for (and no, before you ask, I don't think he particularly needs to lose weight either.  I reckon he can hit the required pace exactly as he is).

Together with C, the three of us are running the race to raise money for the MS Society.  You can sponsor us all here.

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