Automatic Endurance Training
Ok, did we all make it through Thanksgiving without plumping up to the size of Violet Beauregarde? Alright, deep breath. Go outside, retrieve the scale you hucked out the window on Friday morning, and let's feel good about this. As endurance athletes, we're all inclined toward totally hilarious and innocuous eating disorders (insert nervous crying emoji here). As a result, it's pretty easy to go into straight stress/meltdown mode leading into Thanksgiving, the interceding weeks to Christmas, Christmas itself, Martin Luther King Day, Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, Easter, Memorial day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Veterans day, and right back into Thanksgiving. What I'm trying to say is, "it's a goddamn miracle we're not all co-stars on My 600 Pound Life."
What I'm about to tell you is something no endurance coach would ever dare say in public, lest he be mocked by the wannabe PhDs of the internet: Don't Sweat it.
I know, I know, how fast you go up a mountain is determined by your power relative to your WEIGHT. And dropping 5lbs will take a minute off your 5k. Yada Yada, "boo-shit boo-shit boo-shit." For sure, losing weight will help you go faster, provided you don't lose any strength. The same way saving for retirement is easy if you stop drunk-purchasing rotisserie roasters at 3am off QVC. In a perfect world, right? Sadly weight loss is sometimes attacked too aggressively, and as a result we lose what meager power we've currently got, and actually end up with a LOWER w/kg than we previously had (not that I'm speaking from experience here or anything).
Look, You're probably never going to be Chris Froome. I'm sure as shit never going to be. So stop trying to look like him. He's a physiological freak who breaks his wrist if the wind blows the wrong way (jk Chris, don't hit me). Instead of chasing an impossible ideal, why not look to the guys who are more like you? Take Philippe Gilbert for instance. He's a pretty normal looking dude! I mean, average to small against the measuring stick. A Not-inhuman weight. Honestly he's kinda thick. Thick by way of muscles, but thick nonetheless. And yet he sails up climbs, has a wicked sprint, can TT like a devil (I guess Satan is a good pursuiter?) and oh yeah, gets to eat chocolate around the holidays. So many athletes make the mistake of focusing on the Kilogram part of the equation without tackling the Watt part first. If you're doing it this way, you're doing it wrong. Strength takes a LONG time to build. That's why you see a lot of people working out in the gym, but not so many walking around who look like Arnold. It's also why you see a bunch of toothpicks show up on race day and get shelled right out the back. If you're racing up mountains, feel free to tell your friends "This guy's a loon!" You guys are special cases. But for the rest of us, we'd do well with a little extra power as opposed to fewer kilos.
All this isn't to say weight isn't important. It's extremely important. Almost as important as not throwing your Thanksgiving plate in the air when your grandmother tells you there wasn't racism when she was growing up, and it's something invented by Obama. What I'm trying to say is, don't hate yourself. So you ate a slice of pie, big whoop. Okay, you cut a slice of pie, left THAT on the plate, and removed the larger chunk from around it, cartoon-style. Then smothered it in chocolate syrup, a pint of Ben and Jerry's, a whole can of whipped cream, stuffed it INSIDE the turkey, and disappeared to the living room to literally cry over the dismal performance of insert-NFL-team-here and shame. Let it go. Don't feel guilty about what you put in. Just make sure when you go to stand on the pedals, or rip down that trail, you use all of that glorious ChocoPieCreamTurkey.
And knuckle down: Christmas is coming.