When do you know you’ve reached your racing weight?

“The trick is to keep losing weight until your friends and family ask you if you’ve been sick. then you know you’re within 10 pounds. If they start whispering to each other, wondering if you’ve got cancer or aids, you’re within 5. When they actually do an intervention, you’re at race weight.” – Slowman

Recently I hit my final goal weight, almost seven years to the day from when I started. It was a much longer process than it needed to be, but aren’t most things in life that are worth it?

Since then, I’ve just been getting faster and faster climbing hills on the bike, and much faster when I’m actually able to run. I haven’t been doing any run training (averaging maybe 2 km per week), but my pace has jumped dramatically.

There’s this one hill near me that I’ve used a few times for hill training. It’s more of a run hill than a cycling hill. Last night I did four laps of it. I’m trying to become more comfortable descending while in the aero position, and I’m going to have a lot of climbing ahead of me this spring.

When I climbed this hill in 2010 as a part of a training loop, I did it in 2:28 at an average heart rate of 148. Last night I did the exact same climb in 1:43. That’s about a 40% improvement.

My run pace has improved a similarly. There’s a short run loop near me that’s just over 2 km. In 2010, my pace on this loop was in the 5:30 per km range with a high 170s average heart rate. Last year just before the half Ironman, I managed to do it at 4:45 at 166. Last night: 4:30 at 159. This is with no training at all!

Last night was the best feeling run I’ve ever had. When I started off my strides were short, my turnover rate was high, and I was still able to breathe through my nose for the first bit. Then I experimented with a longer stride. It was all behind me: I was still minimizing my impact with a mid-foot strike, but feeling my glutes engage. My form felt better than ever.

I actually felt bad running this fast down Yonge Street. There were people jumping out of my way. Before they would give me encouraging looks like “you can do it, buddy,” but this time they were like “get off the sidewalk, asshat!”

I’ve been reading Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. Summarized in one sentence the book says “lose weight until you stop going faster.” It goes on to give examples of how and why to eat healthier, and how to realize you’ve reached your goal.

My problem is right now these gains haven’t stopped. I’ve reached (and then surpassed) my goal weight, and I keep getting faster. This is despite training with a significant calorie deficit. It’s starting to show in my face, and while it may be normal for professional endurance athletes to have cheekbones, I’ve never seen them on me before.

The problem is mainly aesthetic though. My body is telling me that it likes this. My injury doesn’t feel like as much of a factor, and I’m actually able to stand for longer periods of time without my flat feet killing me. As great as it feels, I don’t want to look sick.

When do you know you’ve reached your racing weight?