How I knocked 80s off my 5k PB

As I’m not a naturally sporty person, getting into running has involved doing a lot of reading about running , which much more my normal thing. One book I read was matt Fitzgerald’s ‘racing weight’. Although the book is aimed at elite athletes there were take home messages for Mawil’s too . For instance did you know that the physical attribute that most affects performance is your percentage body fat? More important than how long your legs are? As someone with short legs(and as it turns out over 50lb body fat) it was good to know that there is the potential to change something to improve my performance. I always assumed that having short legs would limit me but then I noted that Haile Gebrselassie is only a couple of inches taller than me so no excuse there!
In Matt’s book he also has a table where you can work out how much you can improve your performance by changing your body fat. At the beginning of April I was 38percent fat meaning that I only had 96lb of muscle and bone to carry around 56lb of fat! According to matts table if I reduced my body fat to 20pc my performance would improve by 80pc. (He doesn’t suggest going that far though he says just to aim for 5 lines up the table, but the concept interests me).
He also explains that you should base your carbohydrate needs on your lean mass not your total weight. Even so I found that when I looked at my diet I ate far less than the recommended carbohydrates and too much fat (my normal diet was lots of veg, chicken,cheese and er cake). So I have changed my diet reducing the fat (cereal instead of toast and butter for breakfast) cut the cakes and tried to eat carbs (bananas or a bagel, I dont need much) before and after my run. 3weeks on I had reduced my body fat by 2pc and improved my Parkrun time by 80s! Even though my PB is still over 36 minutes I am pleased with the improvement.
So now I am reading another Matt Fitzgerald book ‘run the mind body method’ which, after the first chapter seems to be about how keeping the fun in your training keeps you going. I’m all for that! Will let you know more about that when I finish the book!


About mawil1

Hi my name is julie and I took up running at the age of 46! Hence 'mawil' Middle Aged Woman In Lycra. I did it at first because someone asked me to do a charity run with them. I couldn't run at all, but pride wouldn't let me be seen to be unable to run so I started a walk run programme. I stuck with it and to my surprise I found that I liked it- after a couple of weeks of progress I was hooked! My blog is about my progress in running and how I fit it in with the rest of my life.
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