Friday, October 30, 2009

One Extra Pound of Flab Costs 2.5 Seconds a Mile

"Any extra flab is dead weight that isn't going to help you generate accelerating force," says Tom Osler, author of The Serious Runner's Handbook. To make his case, Osler analyzed 40 years of data from 1,800 races, ranging from 5Ks to marathons, and found that, on average, every extra pound of body fat costs 2.5 seconds per mile. Drop ten pounds and, over the course of a marathon, you'll shave close to 11 minutes off your time.

MY COMMENT: If you've got the extra weight to lose and can get rid of it gradually (and I believe that also includes upper body muscle), you should see a corresponding drop in your racing times.

How ironic- I met Tom Osler (a math professor in New Jersey) when I was an exercise physiology graduate student at Ball State in the late 70s- he "volunteered" to do a 72 hour ultra while we took periodic measurements and generally kept an eye on him throughout the ordeal. He came into town looking anything but fit, admittedly several pounds heavier than peak shape. Surprisingly, at least to me, as I recall he made it to 200 miles in 72 hours. Impressive.

Osler's bio is a facinating read, and his 2 books, including The Conditioning of Distance Runners Part I , Part II, are cult classics.

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