A guest post by Tracy McKay, Scott Thigpen’s endurance coach and friend.
This seems to be the most immediate question I have for my clients on Monday mornings, “What color is your pee?“.
Their weekend has been spent completing mileage on the road or meters in the pool. They have been pounding the pavement, doing ‘bricks‘ or looping the local forest trails. I have asked them to monitor their calorie intake as well as weigh in before and after their workouts. They know the mileage, they know the routine, they know to get it done.
Monday morning comes around and after a cup of coffee and some self indulgent R/R,( ‘Reflection and Reward’ ), I get down to business, “what color is your pee?”, I ask, and the details become clear when I ask this direct and pseudo-medical question.
2. It gets to the point – letting my athlete know that pee is serious business and I am interested and care in what they have or have not done to their bodies while training.
3. It tells me more about the sequence of your training, how it all transpired with regards to pre-hydration, calorie intake, intensity, frequency and duration and here’s the biggie, the ‘perceived value‘ you have placed on process of training and hydrating, etc.
4. This in turn tells me how to communicate with you, its like a compass of sorts, pointing me to your area of need. As a beginner or intermediate athlete, this process MIGHT take second fiddle to whether or not your kit matches.
10 years ago, a young educated client/pilot, comes to me for a threshold test. He makes it through the 13 minute time trial (TT) effort and no sooner finishes, he jumps off bike and goes to pee.
He looks pale and we agree that he is finished and should get checked out. He calls me 2 days later and says this, ‘hey , just wanted you to know that I had blood in my pee after I worked out, what should I do?” I just stood there jaw disjointed and full open. Seriously? Blood in pee? I had him describe the color, he said his pee was ” brownish/ red”… I said ‘go to doctor right now.
Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars, go straight to doctor. He did and guess what? He had a tumor pressing on his kidney. He was admitted that day, he almost died from a ruptured appendix, the kidney and its’ tumor were removed and he has completed several 1/2 IM distant races since then.
7 years ago, I was on my first day of the Ride Across America (RAAM), the Pacific ocean was far behind me and the Atlantic beckoned my arrival, 2725 miles away.
It’s all a bit of a blur, but I was in the Imperial Sandunes when I stopped peeing and for the next 18 hrs and I found myself taking self-administered IV fluids and hoping that the URGE would hit me. It did not turn out well and my Wide World of Sports debut included puking on national TV and the picture to the left.
So, if you and I are speaking on a Monday morning, regarding your training, go ahead and go to the bathroom, because Im gonna ask!
Here’s a pee chart for you to look at to help you understand where you’re at after a hard training ride or workout.
and asks a lot about your pee.
“you’re either getting better, or you’re getting worse, pick one…”