DIARY: Another hint of the truth

I haven't weighed in a while as I took it for granted that I'd have lost weight over summer with hard competition following on long aerobic training.

How wrong I have been! This morning, I weighed in at 71.5 kilos with 11.1% fat. Earlier this year I had been disappointed not to go under 69 and 9% fat as my best performances came in the year with when I weighed 65 kilos and had 6% fat.

This alone may explain my string of laboured climbs, I am now carrying 6.5 kilos more uphill than I did in 2008!

Clearly what I consider a healthy diet isn't working and clearly my own hunger is deceiving me (I only eat when hungry), and I just need to start suffering through periods of hunger.

If we assume this was my weight two weeks ago it explains the poor showing as well: A person weighing 71.5 kilos needs to generate 210 Watts power to reach the top in 01:00:18 as I did. Last year I needed 208 Watts to reach the top in 58:45 meaning I may have generated more power this year but to no avail as I was carrying around too much flesh.

I'm quite disgusted by this realisation and happy that we've decided to set up strict dieting rules for the Autumn in the household to try and emulate the body composition of the English elite athletes we saw at Snowdon.

Very disappointing especially since a runner of 65 kilos like my 08-self would only have needed 210 Watts to reach the top in the 55 minutes. Weight not training, it seems, let me down and it'll be up on the weight every weekend from now on to avoid another serious slip like this one.

More evidence
To gather more evidence to prove or disprove my theory that weight may be largely responsible for the poor performance of this summer, I conducted one of the tests on myself that I have subjected some of the athletes I coach to: A simple local muscular endurance test where you perform as many standing squats as you can without rest.

Several of my athletes (all female) performed remarkably well, all recording well beyond 100 repetitions and most capable of carrying on, showing that the test is perhaps too easy for hill-runners.

Despite the fact that I felt like quitting at 35, I held it together for 101 and could probably have pushed further if I wanted. Slightly disappointing, as a man, that I cannot match the strength of top-end female hill-runners, but nevertheless enough to earn a score of "Excellent" the maximal for my gender and age-group when comparing with the normative data for the test.

There's two conclusions from this:

  1. I'm not as feeble as I assumed, my perceived weak muscular strength stems from too high a body-weight compared to my optimal rather than underdeveloped strength
  2. The test is too easy for sub-elite and elite athletes when everyone I have tested have scored in the best category. A harder test would be useful to rank elite and sub-elite athletes against each other. Knowing you can beat the general population is not that useful for good athletes.
This means that while more strenght is always good, my existing strength work has not been as inefficient as assumed which is heartening. My failure, depending on the test results on Tuesday, may largely stem from a lack of disciplien in my private life around my eating habits.