Runners and their physique. Apparently most non-runners, and even a lot of runners, believe that this is what a 'real' long distance runner should look like:
Photo courtesy of www.paularadcliffe.com
By the way: Paula Radcliffe rocks! Okay, on to what this post is about...
Lean, skinny. Long lean muscles. Nothing too bulky. As one of my co-workers mentioned today: 'You know, the runner type of physique. Slender.'. Okay...
Well, if that's the case, that would imply that I'm not a 'runner'.
First of all, I'm not skinny skinny. Nothing skeleton-like about this body. At least, not anymore.
When I picked up running in January 2010, and was stupid enough to kick start it by running 16 milers / 25Ks from scratch, I did lose a lot of weight. And I wasn't even overweight to begin with. I was pretty skinny when I started. I lost 11 lbs within 6 weeks. Weighing 116 lbs / 53 kg at 5'9'. That weight was too low for me. I looked unhealthy. Plus, a size 0 was too large for me at that point. Not healthy, at all. But, my body did look like the body I believed a runner should have. So, I figured, that was what was supposed to happen. However, I did not look healthy.
Strange thing about it: I did eat well. Where I probably went wrong is sticking to approximately 2000 calories a day, while I was exercising a heck of a lot more than I did before. Those 2000 calories just weren't enough for me - apparently.
Then I started paying attention to my calorie-intake. I just needed more. I did stick to healthy options, though. And my weight got back up to 127 lbs / 58 kg again. And it still is. Even though my mileage is a lot higher than it was when I picked up running. Plus I'm faster than I was at 116lbs. And I no longer look skeleton-like. Slim, yes. Skinny skinny, no.
And this brings me to building some muscles.
Long lean muscles? Nope, never had those, never will. It's just not the way that I'm build.
I did gain a bit of weight by eating more and making healthier food choices. But, what really helped getting the weight back (and getting rid of the 'skeleton' look), is working those weights at the gym. Lucky for me, I don't mind working out, so spending a couple of hours a week doing core work and lifting weights, isn't something that would make me feel unhappy. ;)
The core work and lifting the weights didn't get me the long lean muscles I'd envisioned. Nope. Bulky is the word. I should have known this. Back in my competitive skiing days I had monster quads. I even wore two sizes up in pants, because of the size of those babies. Yep. So, bulky is what happened when I started working on those muscles.
And you know what? I don't mind. Stronger muscles will help prevent injuries (knock on wood!!!) - hopefully. The stronger core improved my running form. I feel better at my current weight. Plus, I look a lot healthier than I did. But, do I have long and lean 'runner' muscles? Am I skinny skinny? Nope. Not at all. And I'm perfectly fine with that.
What are your thoughts on 'the runner's physique'? Thoughts on weight and building muscles?