Affects of gaining weight on running

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Aug 2011
11:42am, 11 Aug 2011
294 posts
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I have been running on and off for the last 12 months with an "issue" with my leg. I think it's shin splints but sometimes it's there and some time's it's not.

Whilest Driving back from Plymouth to the Midlands I had a thought. What is the true impact of gaining weight on running? Does it encourage more injuy? Does buying new trainers to compensate for weight change help?

Im's sure you will all agree the thought of stopping running for a bit is an awful thought for a runner. But would their be any benefit to take time off to lose weight and then take up running. I appreciate it would probably help the injury but would stopping for a bit make sure that it didn't reoccure.

I haven't a clue. Any body else had the thought and tried it? Has it worked?

Aug 2011
12:08pm, 11 Aug 2011
4469 posts
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If you did in fact lose the weight during the break, maybe. It would be important to substitute other forms of physical activity. I have had an enforced break from running and was mostly inactive for about three weeks, followed by (so far) four not-all-that-active weeks. Diet etc was much the same and I have put on enough weight to make running appreciably slower. So I reckon stopping running and dieting would have seen me stay a similar weight as it appears it was the activity (not exclusively running) that was keeping the weight fairly stable.

I did quite like not having the tight calves and odd niggles I had before: alas they seem to be returning with a bit of running. I reckon getting a bit of weight off would help that.
Aug 2011
1:22pm, 11 Aug 2011
3196 posts
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I know it's an eff of al ot harder carrying a stone more than this time last year - I've had to change my running strategy completely to dodge the injury fairy who was easily able to keep up with me in a threatening manner. I have given myself time off from sustained running while I get myself in order and am getting our for run/walks on trails a few times a week just for a couple of miles (which I have to say I am enjoying tremendously).

Good luck with whatever you do Alibob
Aug 2011
1:29pm, 11 Aug 2011
617 posts
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Put on half a stone over christmas in 2009 and hadn't been out much for runs. Went out for a 10 mile run in January and had a minor foot injury. Could have been the weight but equally could have been jumping straight into a long run without much recent base training.

Hope you get the answer you are looking for, I do think losing weight can only benefit you (not a vast amount mind)
Aug 2011
1:54pm, 11 Aug 2011
35991 posts
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plodding hippo
harder to run, yes
slower, yes
More prone to injury?

No, not nevessarily

I think it depends more on biomechanics and how you run /plus how quickly you ramp up training than your actual weight per se

Paula has her fair share of injuries , and is as far from fat as you can be

I ran 50 marathons(slooowly) at 12 stone with no injuries
Aug 2011
2:03pm, 11 Aug 2011
9520 posts
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SODIron © 2002
excess weight will slow you down....think of it in terms of a car. If two cars have the same size engine but one is lighter, the lighter one will always go faster.
Aug 2011
2:08pm, 11 Aug 2011
489 posts
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wiener dog
I lost a stone early this year and it seems to have made a big difference to my times, however I also started doing more intense training i.e intervals, hill runs etc so I guess that also made a difference. Thinking about it logically if I were to put a backpack with 14lb in it on I would struggle and run slower. Injury wise I have only ever had one injury admittedly it was when I was heavier but I suspect the reason was running too many miles on hard roads too soon as it was when I hadn't been running too long, not the extra weight.
Aug 2011
2:15pm, 11 Aug 2011
13046 posts
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what PH said - biomechanics is pretty important. if you run badly, with great impact, then extra weight will increase the impact and therefore the risk of doing damage. if you run well, then injury risk probably isn't changed much

you'll probably run more slowly, that's very likely.

and when you talk about gaining weight, there's a big difference between gaining a stone or so or gaining 4 or 5 stone.

being too thin (or losing strength) could make you more prone to injury though (a la Paula R)

back to the OP question - if you are injured, rest the injury and cross train..
Aug 2011
2:28pm, 11 Aug 2011
9521 posts
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SODIron © 2002
Taken from Alberto Salazar's book "Guide to Road Racing";

Shin Splints

Most Likely Cause - impact stress radiating up from foot.
First Action - RICE and NSAID; switch to running on soft surfaces.
Prevention - avoid sudden changes in training intensity or running surface.

Mild shin splints are a common beginner's problem that will abate as you become better conditioned.With experience, you'll also learn to recognise incipient shin splints before you have and discomfort you could truly cause pain, allowing you to cut back a bit and dodge the overwork that produces them.
Aug 2011
2:04pm, 14 Aug 2011
3371 posts
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richmac (40 in 40)
Also make sure its not a stress fracture, I've been running around with what I thought was shin splints for ages, now its been diagnosed as a stress fracture. Its not that common but a possibility.

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