Professional Cycling Team Sky (now Ineos Grenadiers) famously popularized their marginal gains approach to maximize performance and dominate the cycling scene for a number of years. They left no stone unturned in the quest to eke every last drop of performance from their athletes’ legs (and I am not referring to PEDs here). The point is, they looked for those tiny 1% improvements that could take their riders to the highest levels in the pro peloton, whether that be though aerodynamic equipment and clothing, ketone esters use, using their own mattresses and pillows when travelling, ultra high tech team uses with all the recovery gadgets you can imagine, state of the art mechanics trucks, and the list goes on.
All too often, recreational athletes look for those marginal gains in their day to day training. They spend hard earned cash on supplements (spoiler alert - most don’t work), expensive equipment to shave off ounces of unnecessary weight (maybe skip a beer instead), altitude tents before races in Colorado, pneumatic leg compression devices etc, etc. This is all good and well, but remember that marginal gains are just that. They are marginal.
If everything else in your lifestyle and training is dialed in to perfection, and you are racing at the pinnacle, then maybe these things are worth it. That one percent advantage could make a difference, and don’t get me wrong, I like the new gadgets as much as the next person, but ask yourself, is everything else in my house in order?
So instead of looking for the next revolutionary amino acid, compression garment of uber lightweight carbon shoe, maybe take a look at those things which provide more bang for the buck and decidedly more than marginal gains. It may not be nearly as sexy, but get your sleep, nutrition and workouts in order, and don’t take life too seriously. Most of us aren’t breaking World records. Don’t drop your hard earned moohlah on that ketone ester drink (spoiler alert 2: they don’t work).
My thoughts on Sunday morning.....feet up, watching the Olympics....Go Canada!