In their initial days of race preparations, one would find Kenyan runners wearing semi-waterproof tracksuits that make them sweat profusely during their runs. In addition, they would do these runs in the mid-morning to noon sun in order to maximize the effects of the heat.
These easy runs in the hot sun soon get them into their ideal running weight in about one month. With less weight, the impact of each stride while running will be felt lesser by the joints, and hence there will be less likelihood of getting injured once the more demanding workouts begin.
The other obvious reason for focusing on ideal running weight is that the more you get leaner and lighter, the faster you get.
Kenyan runners believe that it is good for one to find out their ideal running weight in order for them to tell if they will need to gain more or lose during their training. And the best way to get to one’s desired weight fast is not in the likes of lemon concoctions but by training and sweating in the heat.
It is also important to feel healthy and fit in the course of training, so one should not quickly train more to lose more weight regardless of other factors. Long distance running needs a lot of discipline and patience in order to succeed. It is all about following the right training in order to train smart and effectively, rather than doing hard and ineffective training.
If you can, the fastest way to get to the ideal running weight is to schedule up to three easy runs in a day, for up to six days in a week. It works wonders! Within two to three weeks, most runners will have reached their desired weight.
But, to do this, you have to have begun gradual progress some weeks, or even months, in advance.
Two runs is a day is also very effective, and perhaps even the best option, given that three runs in a day might prove to be too much for many runners and may even be counterproductive in the other aspects of training.
However, running is not all about shedding weight continuously until race day. Experienced Kenyan runners know the ideal running weight that will likely get them the best results in their races. They know that losing too much weight will often result in even poorer performances than when they would have been a little overweight.
Fat is a form of stored energy in the body that will benefit the endurance runner in their races and it is good to remain with some of it in the body. Most of the endurance training is usually to train the body on how to burn glycogen stores well to sustain energy for long periods of exertion.
When runners finally get to their ideal racing weight, it would be great if that happens to coincide with their goal races. But, it often happens earlier to many runners and the best way to deal with it is to start cutting on the number of runs in a day and only focus more on a few workouts to help maintain the same weight and running form until race day.
As you take on your journey to become a good runner, make sure you know your weight and keep records of it especially when you tend to run better.
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Justin Lagat is a long distance runner. A World Athletics Certified long distance running Coach, and Freelance Sports Journalist. Work appears at World Athletics, RunBlogRun, Spikes Magazine, and Run Republic, among other websites.