When it comes to marathon racing, there are a thousand excuses not to take part. Some range from the believable as well as understandable to the most bizarre and absurd excuses.
When it’s cold and icy out we are able to understand why people choose to not to take part in marathons however one excuse which a lot of people give is that they don’t think that they possess the right body to be a runner and take part in ultra-marathons.
When you look at the top marathon runners, certain body shapes do triumph:
- Long-distance marathon racers tend to be short and light,
- While sprinters are taller as well as much more muscular.
The variation in these two body shapes is reflected in the type of workload that each runner deals with. For the rest of us who aren’t attempting to become Olympic champions and simply want to run, body type shouldn’t discourage us from running at all.
The Lean Body Type Enjoys Far More Success
If you go to any running race — from 5Ks to marathons — you’ll see a lot of different body types reaching the finish line. The stopwatch knows no variation in weight, height or – alternatively – girth. But what is fairly apparent is the steady pattern of small-framed, extremely lean runners who reach the podium. A quick review of the champions of any major marathon over the past number of years shows a tendency towards lithe, gazelle-like athletes.
It’s no accident that these bodies excel at marathon running. Moving anything is much simpler when it weighs less — and this theory can be applied to our bodies when we run. Bodyweight is very important when it comes to marathon running as you have to transfer this weight from point A to point B. By being light, we make running a little bit easier.
Different Body Types
It’s very easy to generalise body types, however most of us are able to slot our overall build into one of three overall categories (recognising that there are a wide variety of shapes as well as sizes even within these categories).
Understanding your body composition is liberating as it gives you something to concentrate on in a good way — lean body mass. Doesn’t matter what the scale says: if you’re in a healthy body-composition range, you’re all good to go!
Your ideal body composition is dependent on your goals. If you’re a competitive athlete, your goal is probably the lower end of the body-fat percentage scale but remember that you are never gunning for zero fat, and lower is not always better.
Naturally, women naturally have a greater percentage of body fat than men, as they have a greater amount of essential fat (fat required for bodily functions, from forming reproductive tissue to helping the absorption of vitamins consumed in a number of different foods). The body-fat ranges for ideal health are 14 to 30% for women and 6 to 25% for men.
Don’t get too concerned on trimming every little ounce, however. If you’re at the lesser end of the body-fat spectrum – however your fitness level falls under general fitness or athlete – you’re not going to gain performance benefits by focusing on fat loss. And you might just make yourself sick.