People often ask me what they should weigh to race their best. I’ve never really had an exact answer to give, but the question got me thinking recently. There are a lot of reasons to try to optimize your weight, and the off season is a good time to lose a few pounds in preparation for the upcoming season. I’ve always found it much easier to lose weight when I don’t have to worry about staying fueled for my big workouts. Why should you lose some weight? Here are some of the best reasons:
1.Less weight means a higher VO2 max. When you have less body mass, it’s easier for your body to transport oxygen to all your cells.
2. Less weight also improves thermodynamic regulations, which means that your body can cool itself more efficiently in hot weather.
3. An old rule of thumbs says that you can improve your mile pace by 3-4 seconds per mile for every pound that you lose, so if you loose 10 pounds that means up to 30-40 seconds per mile (this is not a scientific rule, however, so don’t hold me to this one!).
So, what’s the best weight? I’ve always heard that an ideal weight for runners is two pounds of body weight per inch of height, so I decided to do a little research to find the height to weight ratio of some top elite triathletes. Here’s what I came up with:
Craig Alexander: 5’11”, 150 lbs.: 2.11 pounds per inch
Chris Lieto: 6’0″, 160 lbs.: 2.22 pounds per inch
Michael Lovato: 6’0″, 170 lbs: 2.36 pounds per inch
Andy Potts: 6’2″, 175 lbs.: 2.33 pounds per inch
Andreas Raelert: 6’0″, 159 lbs.: 2.20 pounds per inch
Michael Raelert: 6’2″, 163 lbs.: 2.20 pounds per inch
Matt Reed: 6’5″, 180 lbs.: 2.34 pounds per inch
Dave Scott: 6’0″, 162 lbs.: 2.25 pounds per inch
So it appears pretty consistant that the height to weight ratio of the top male pros is about 2.25 pounds per inch of height. Keep in mind that this is an informal survey and that I relied on information found on the internet, which is not guaranteed to be accurate, but I think it’s reasonably close.
So, now you can take a look at your own height to weight ratio and see if any improvements can be made! Good luck! And lest you think that I forgot all about women, check back next week and I’ll put together a list of some of the top female triathletes.