With the cross country season approaching I thought I’d address race weight today. I believe the focus on race weight is quite harmful and can be extremely damaging to athletes which is why I’m firmly against having a specific predetermined weight for racing. And I actually despise the words race weight.
Your ideal “race weight” is the weight that you are at naturally when you are fueling your body with a wide variety of foods (no food is good or bad, all foods fit), when you have energy to live out your day, when your body is functioning properly, and when you are living a full and joyful life.
As you can see there isn’t an equation for this type of race weight and its not a specific number. This “race weight” changes day to day and doesn’t even need to be known. Weight is just the numerical value of the gravitational pull on your body, a number that’s not important to know. A number that has no indication of your worth or value, of your beauty and uniqueness, of your importance in this world. A number that has no indication on how well you will run.
The truth is that you do NOT need to lose weight to improve your performance. Performance is affected by so many factors beyond weight and body size- training, injury prevention, mental imagery, hydration, rest/recovery, and more. Focusing on weight and weight loss can be extremely damaging to your mental, physical, and social wellbeing. And can contribute to decreased energy availability, obsession around food and an increase in injuries.
This is your sign to not chase a “race weight” this season and allow your body to naturally be where it wants to be. I ran my best race (and felt the strongest and experienced the most joy) when I was well above what I thought was my “race weight”. There are some great runners- Allie Kieffer, Kara Bazzi, and Rachele Schulist who have all gained weight and ran faster.
Please don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to be at a certain weight to race well and remember that you can race well without changing your body.
Romans 9:20 “But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”
God made you uniquely and specifically to be just as you are, including your body shape and size.
Megan Ludke is a woman of God, Founder and Executive Director of Live RecoverED (formerly RecoverED Athletes), a school-based physical therapist, and a current PSU graduate student (M.Ed. Health Education & Promotion concentration in Eating Disorders). She is recovered from anorexia, orthorexia, depression, OCD, and social anxiety. Megan is deeply passionate about her work at Live RecoverED, having felt the pain and darkness of struggling with an eating disorder. When not working, Megan loves spending time with her boyfriend and family and loves being outside- hiking or reading in a hammock.