Thursday, January 10, 2008


I wrote an e-mail yesterday outlining how the program works here at the PTC, and I was reminded that I've been making an assumption that everyone has a clear understanding of what goes on with our little group in Guelph. Allow me to explain:

If you've read the little blurb under the first header on the right ("PROVINCIAL TRIATHLON CENTRE"), you'll see that we're a "full time triathlon program". Essentially, that means that we have coached workouts throughout the week - in our case, we have coached workouts Monday to Friday, with Saturday off, and "OYO" (on your own) workouts on Sunday. Sometimes, we also have coached workouts on Saturday and Sunday if we're hosting a Training Day or Swim Camp. As we move into the spring and get back on to the roads for cycling, we'll have coached workouts Tuesday - Saturday, in addition to coach support at key races. In practice, this means that we have the same coach (me) for all coached sessions, including strength & conditioning, video analysis, testing, and racing. This allows for better control over the structure and direction of the program, and allows me to better assess the adaptation and fatigue of the athletes. I write an annual plan (aka "macro") for the PTC, and then draft individual macros for the athletes based on their goals and racing plans. At training sessions, we train as a group, but we sometimes run different workouts within the same session, depending on the needs of the athlete (ie. technical development, upcoming races, etc.). Although they are excellent programs, we do very little training with the Guelph Marlins or Speed River - our race season is in the summer, and our training needs to be dedicated to optimal race performance in the summer, not in the fall, winter or spring. We do however benefit immensely from training in the same environment as other nationally and internationally competitive athletes, and from the expertise of the Marlins and Speed River coaches.

Ultimately, I'd like to see more clubs and coaches in Ontario offering this sort of structure, either in conjunction with a local competitive swim club, or as a completely independent triathlon program. In fact, some clubs are currently doing this, be we need more. This same approach (one coach leading a full program) is used at the National Triathlon Centres in Victoria, Winnipeg, and Trois Rivieres, which currently produce and support the majority of Canada's top Junior, Development and Elite triathletes. Thanks to OAT, Quest for Gold and the Canadian Sport Centre-Ontario, the PTC now offers the same opportunities for athletes in Ontario.

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