In November 2019 Mary Cain released a shocking video claiming Nike coaches were dangerously encouraging her to lose weight in order to gain speed. While this video made shocking claims against Nike, it also revealed a realistic part of running culture. Olympic Athlete Adam Goucher spoke out on Twitter in reference to his wife, Kara. Adam accused Nike of weight-shaming Kara 6 months after the birth of her son for running a 2:24 marathon.
For a long time, runners have been weight obsessed to increase pace. I’ve heard personal stories of high school coaches putting runners on a “fat boy” program of limited calories in order to gain speed.
It has been proven that extra weight slows a runner down(1). That is a fact. However, sacrificing caloric intake in an attempt to increase speed can be dangerous and cause injury. Lack of proper caloric energy can cause loss of ovulation in females, weakened bones and weakened immune systems(2). Lack of calories puts female runners at risk for lack of menstruation or bone fractures and other injuries.
If a runner feels that losing weight would be a great option for them I encourage that runner to consult the care of a physician and other professionals. Starving oneself to lose weight for a faster pace is never the answer. A professional will help a runner maintain health and fitness levels while also maintaining weight loss targets.
1. Hutchinson, A. (2019, October 21). How Much Does an Extra Pound Slow You Down? Retrieved August 03, 2020, from https://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-weight-loss/a20856066/how-much-does-an-extra-pound-slow-you-down/
2. Petre, A. (n.d.). 5 Ways Restricting Calories Can Be Harmful. Retrieved August 03, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/calorie-restriction-risks