Runners are typically easy to identify because of their distinctive long, lean form. There are often specific weight range goals for serious athletes.
The average weight range for runners varies from person to person based on their sex, height, and the type of running they prefer. The average 6′ tall male runner weighs 159-168 lb, while the average 5’6″ female weighs 117-124 lb. Male and female runners would have different ranges based on their body composition even if they were the same height.
Please continue reading to learn everything you need about how much runners weigh and the factors that affect these weight ranges. We will discuss how weight relates to speed, how to identify your ideal running weight, and the difference between male and female runners.
What is the optimal weight for runners?
The average optimal weight range for runners varies depending on the type of running, the sex of the runner, and other biological factors. It would be best for runners to maintain a healthy weight range by focusing on their body fat percentages instead of the numbers they see on the scale.
In general, the optimal weight for runners is:
- Male – 168 lb (for a 6′ man)
- Female – 120 lb (for a 5’6″ woman)
- Long-distance – Roughly 15% less than regular runners
- Male – 143 lb (for a 6′ man)
- Female – 108 lb (for a 5’6″ woman)
Unfortunately, weight differentials vary from person to person, and several factors can affect your optimal weight range.
The best way to calculate your body fat percentage is by using BMI calculators. However, since running naturally burns many calories, runners typically have a lower BMI than the average person. BMI uses your height and weight to calculate your healthy weight range. You can find several BMI calculators online or use the BMI table to determine your ideal weight range.
Since runners need to maintain a healthy weight, they don’t want to dip below 18.5 or above 24.9 BMI.
Runners can expect the following benefits when they are on the lower end of the healthy BMI range:
- Carrying less weight around will improve your running speed.
- If you’re a long-distance runner, losing weight to fall on the lower end of the healthy BMI range will help you run for longer durations.
- It would be best to calculate your BMI instead of comparing your weight to other runners so that you get the best performance results based on your body composition.
The main reason runners should weigh less than the average person is that the more weight someone carries, the more energy they consume. So, if you plan to run marathons or long-distance, weighing less can help you make the most of your energy. Runners also tend to weigh less because this cardiovascular exercise burns many calories.
How much do female runners weigh?
The average weight for female runners is 120 lb, and the average height is 5 ft 6 in.
Many female runners are a few inches taller than the United States average, which is 5 ft 4 inches. Taller women have a longer stride, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be faster runners.
How much do male runners weigh?
The average weight of a 6ft tall male runner is 168 lbs.
If a man is shorter than 6 ft, their weight will be less. The average height for a male runner is 5 ft 7 in tall, and they weigh around 140 lb.
What do long-distance runners weigh?
Regardless of demographic, long-distance runners should weigh 15% less than other runners. This number applies to men and women.
Based on the previously established optimal weight for runners, here are the projected ideal weights for long-distance runners:
- Male – 143 lb (for a 6′ man)
- Female – 108 lb (for a 5’6″ woman)
Long-distance runners need less weight because they rely on energy to maintain their distance. The more weight someone has, the more difficult it will be for them to run longer distances.
What is the average weight of a marathon runner?
Marathon runners have very different body proportions from the average person and even other athletes.
The average height and weight of a marathon runner is 5 ft 7 in tall and 140 lbs.
However, this weight can fluctuate by a few pounds because weight varies from person to person. A person’s body mass index can greatly impact their speed and performance throughout a marathon.
How much do Olympic marathon runners weigh?
Olympians are at the absolute peak of fitness in their field, and it’s safe to assume that Olympic runners are no exception.
The average Olympic marathon runner weighs 140 lbs. However, plenty of Olympic running Champions have different weights than this figure.
Here is the list of popular marathon runners and their statistics to give you additional insight into the weight ranges you can expect from Olympic marathon runners:
- Abdi Nageeye – He is a Dutch and Somali nationality olympian who won the silver medal in the 2020 Olympics Marathon, weighing 119 lbs and standing at 5 ft 5 in tall.
- Eliud Kipchoge – He is a Kenyan long-distance runner who won the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics weighing 115 pounds and standing at 5 ft 6 in tall.
- Feyisa Lelisa – He is an Ethiopian long-distance runner who weighs 148 lb and stands at 5 ft 9 in tall. He won the silver medal in the 2016 Olympics.
- Galen Rupp – He is an American long-distance runner who weighs 134 pounds and stands at 5 ft 11 in tall. He won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics.
- Bashir Abdi – He is a Belgian and Somali nationality long-distance runner who won the bronze medal at the 2020 Olympics. Here stands at 5 ft 10 in tall and weighs 123 lb.
As you can see, the weight ranges vary for each Olympic gold medalist depending on their height and genetics. However, all of these Olympic gold medalists remain on the smaller end of the healthy weight BMI spectrum.
How much do track runners weigh?
Track runners need to focus on running, jumping, and throwing to succeed on the field. They need to carry less weight to accomplish all these tasks without exhaustion.
The average track runner weighs 140 lb and is around 5 ft 7 ft tall.
The following are current statistics for the most popular track runners so that you can get a baseline for common track runner weights:
- Elaine Thompson-Herath – She is a Jamaican track star who weighs 123 lb and is 5 ft 6 in tall. Many people regard her as one of the best sprinters of all time, and she has won Olympic competitions five times.
- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – She is a Jamaican track star who is 5 ft tall and weighs 115 lb.
- Noah Lyles – He is an American track and field sprinter who weighs 154 lb and is 5 ft 11 in tall. He’s won championships in the Olympics and other competitions.
- Trayvon Bromell – He is a track and field sprinter who weighs 157 lb and is 5 foot 8 inches tall.
- Sha’Carri Richardson – She is an American ethnicity track star who weighs 99 lbs and is 5 ft 1 in tall.
- Shericka Jackson – She is a Jamaican ethnicity sprinter that weighs 134 pounds and is 5 foot 8 inches tall.
Track runners should maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9. Calculating your BMI is a fantastic way it to determine how much you should weigh for running track.
Are lighter runners faster?
Runners place a big emphasis on weight, but why? Are lighter runners faster than others?
Lighter runners are faster because they don’t have to carry extra weight, which can lead to exhaustion. Being lighter also allows you to get enough oxygen during a run.
When someone loses weight, they can shave 2 seconds per mile off their run time, which will benefit competition.
Alternatively, people who weigh 10 lbs above the average in their running sector usually add 14 seconds to their final run time. Fortunately, people who run often have an easier time losing weight because running burns plenty of calories. The more frequently you run, the more weight you lose.
Can a runner be too thin/too heavy?
Avid runners can typically be identified by their long, lean bodies and strong legs. Is it possible for a runner to be the “wrong” shape?
Runners can be either too thin or too heavy to be effective athletes. A runner with a low BMI may be unable to maintain the energy necessary for an effective run. Runners who are significantly above their optimal running weight will be effectively wasting energy moving the additional weight.
Runners can be too thin because they need to consume enough food to fuel their bodies for exercise. For example, if you’re a 5-foot-6-inch woman and weigh less than 115 lb, you may struggle to maintain energy throughout your exercise.
Alternatively, many people also have trouble running when they are above the average running weight. The more weight you carry around, the more difficult running will be because running is a high-impact exercise. So, you’ll put a lot of stress on your joints if you weigh too much to run.
Overuse injuries afflict 70% of runners, and your chances of receiving these injuries are higher if you’re overweight. The average weight people experience trouble running at is above 200 lbs.
Identifying your ideal running weight
The best way to identify your ideal running weight is to use the BMI chart. BMI is a classic way athletes determine which weight ranges would suit them best and determine their body fat percentage.
BMI is the most popular way for runners to determine their ideal running weight. For most runners, the ideal BMI is in the 18.5 to 25 range. Distance runners should aim for the lower end of that range.
Some people also use the Stillman Weight Tables to determine their optimal running weight.
You can use plenty of calculators online to give you a baseline. It’s important to remember that your actual weight might vary from your ideal running weight, and that is completely fine.
- About the Author
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Joshua Bartlett is a professional amateur when it comes to running – basically, he takes his mediocre running ability very seriously.
As the Editor-in-Chief at Saltmarsh Running, it is his job to make sure that readers get only highly-researched and comprehensive questions to all of their running questions.