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Musician. Triathlete. Almost.
Musician. Triathlete. Almost.

Size Matters

Bishmanby BishmanJul 7th 2012
On my TriBlogs homepage, and presumably on all of yours as well, I get a notification prompting me to enter my weight. As it currently stands my weight is 57kg, which is pretty much bang on 9 stone. I've been this weight since puberty and it stays pretty much the same whether I'm tapering/carb loading or in heavy training.

I once actively tried to increase my weight and put on about a stone in the space of two months, and there was that all inclusive holiday to Turkey where I put on a stone in 3 weeks (all you can eat, all day, every day! Who wouldn't put weight??) Needless to say, on both occasions, after the gluttony ended I promptly returned to my starting weight.

After some discussion with an old flatmate, who over the space of a year became considerably 'built' following extensive gymming, I had expected that although I wasn't doing specifically resistance or weight lifting exercise I might have put on a bit of weight through building a little muscle bulk, or lost weight from excess fat. However, neither has happened and my weight has sat at my rather weedy 57kg. (I have noticed more muscle definition in my calves/quads though - is this the start of something?)

However, I have accepted that this is just what my body wants to weigh and am happy that I don't ever think about either what I weigh or give much thought to what I eat. The ultimate advantage obviously being that I don't have to worry about getting down to 'race weight'.

But what are the advantages in triathlon?
Size Matters
On cycling websites I've seen references to weight and climbing ability reflected as a ratio (not specific or scientifically measured but being a good climber for a heavy rider etc). Cyclists are often going on about shedding those extra pounds, which I don't need to worry about since I'm already 12-14kg lighter than Mark Cavendish, Alistair Brownlee and Lance Armstrong and a whopping 23kg lighter than the current TdF Yellow Jersey wearing Fabian Cancellara, who clocks in at 80kg. However, I'd wager my bike weighs considerably more than the ultralight carbon physique of theirs - but I suppose it's about where the weight is. It's probably that these athletes have the muscle bulk which is what puts their weight up. Does it suggest I am too light and adding weight through extra muscle would increase my speed?

There was some fascinating data from SRM on Andre Greipel after his Stage 4 Tour de France win two days ago. A 75kg rider delivered 1,566 watts in the final sprint, averaging 334 watts over the last 20 minutes. I don't have any scientific numbers to back it up but I reckon if he was my weight he'd loose some of that power.

Here's a link to the article, well worth 5 minutes of your time:
Greipel Article

I'd rate myself as an OK climber but I'm not very quick on the flats since I can't grind large gears for too long before my thighs give in and demand a break - meaning I fall short everytime I try to 'go long' on a bike training session. I guess this gives me two options - I can go for hilly courses, or I can develop my speed on the flats.
Size Matters
It's generally accepted that lighter runners are faster runners and suffer less in their knees, though it's not always true. I've run a 1:30 half marathon and have never injured my knees. Google is surprisingly unhelpful with providing weights of runners I wanted (Mutai, Kipsang and Kiptoo), but told me that Samuel Wanjiru, WR holder for half marathon weighed 52kg (5kg LIGHTER than me!) and GB's Marathon hopefuls Lee Merrian and David Webb were both 4-5kg heavier than me.
Size Matters
For swimming, assuming bones and organs and stuff take up most of the 57kg, it doesn't leave much room for a squidgy bottom. This lack of buoyancy obviously doesn't help my keep my booty raised during swimming. Michael Phelps is both considerably taller and heavier than I am (he is 84kg) and his body has developed into a swimming machine. I don't have the size or frame to be able to put as much power into the stroke as someone bigger, but am I just making excuses now?
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