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1372 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Aug 31, 2013 10:22 AM by shipo
shipo Legend 499 posts since
Aug 9, 2013
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 18, 2013 7:17 AM

Weight vs. Speed

I have read and heard that for every ten pounds of weight lost (assuming the individual had it to lose in the first place, which I do), said individual would increase their pace by 20 seconds per mile, all else being equal (which it rarely is).


With the above stated, I'm 5'8" and when I ran a 25:20 5K ten days ago I weighed about 205 pounds.  I figure I have an easy 30 pounds I can lose without negatively impacting my strength, and based upon the above formula, I should be able to run a 22:20 with virtually the same effort, assuming of course I get down to 175.  The thing is, given that "all else" is almost never "equal", I have to believe there will also be incremental improvements in strength, stamina, and breathing, which to my way of thinking, should translate to even more improvement in pace.


My goal is to start making some noise in my age group (Men's 55-59) next summer which, based upon the recent race I ran with 5,500 participants, would mean I need to knock my time down to 21:40 just to crack the top 10.  If I want to get into the top 3 I would need to burn through a 5K in less than 20 minutes; over 5 minutes faster.



  • The summer months are allowing me to average over 200 miles per month, this winter my mileage will probably drop down into the 120-150 mile per month range (depending upon how much snow we get).
  • I typically run 8 miles 5 days per week on a very technical and very hilly forested trail and then do a couple of 10+ mile runs on a converted 19th century rail-trail on the weekends.



  • If I were to lose the aforementioned 30 pounds by next summer, and assuming my weight loss continues to be brought on by my training, is there a chance for me to lop off more like 40 or even 50 seconds per mile?


I guess what I'm looking for are any anecdotal stories from y'all regarding how much speed y'all have gained through weight loss brought on by training.


Fat old man PRs:

  • 1-mile (point to point, gravity assist): 5:50
  • 2-mile: 13:49
  • 5K (gravity assist last mile): 21:31
  • 5-Mile: 37:24
  • 10K (first 10K of my Half Marathon): 48:16
  • 10-Mile (first 10 miles of my Half Marathon): 1:17:40
  • Half Marathon: 1:42:13
  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 18, 2013 11:42 AM (in response to shipo)
    Weight vs. Speed

    I have heard similar things but I don't remember if it was 20 secs/mile.  I don't have personal experience with it since I didn't lose any more weight after I started racing.  But I think you would be better served by revising your training to do things like intervals, tempo runs and possibly hill repeats.  Finding a coach or joining a running club might help to get advice on adjusting your training.  If you want to look at some online stuff, try


    Good luck.


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