Saturday, January 31, 2009


British poaching Canada's top coaches
Whitfield's mentor latest to accept job offer; athletes lament losses
January 31, 2009

An exodus to Britain, a brain drain of the coaching variety, has been weakening Canadian sport with the poaching of each highly talented prospect.

Canadian Olympic triathlon coach Joel Filliol, who guided Simon Whitfield to a stirring silver medal at the Beijing Games, is the latest to depart for a better offer in Britain, taking over as head triathlon coach after a worldwide search.

That makes three top-level Canadian coaches lost to a British team gearing up for the 2012 London Games in the last six weeks.

Full article here.

Friday, January 30, 2009


The 2009 Canada Summer Games will take place at multiple venues throughout the province of PEI, August 15-29, 2009. For the first time, the sport of triathlon will be included in the Canada Games, with two races (draft legal sprint, and relay) taking place in the first week. OAT's Canada Games Selection Criteria is now posted.

Best of luck to all eligible athletes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Heather Williams and Joel Filliol announced as British Triathlon’s Performance Director and Head Coach
29th January 2009

After a world wide search to find a leading international coach with a proven track record of success, Canadian Joel Filliol has been appointed as the new Head Coach and will provide support to athletes and coaches identified in the Olympic Podium and Academy Squads to convert them into medal winners.

Filliol is one of the world’s most experienced and successful triathlon individuals having been involved in the sport since 1989, both as an athlete and a coach. He has worked for Triathlon Canada since the 2002 Commonwealth Games and was their Senior High Performance Coach during the 2008 Olympiad. He was also the personal coach of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Simon Whitfield.

Full article here.

You can read Joel's farewell message here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Dorelle (l) and Angela (r) at the 2008 Summerside Jr Race

Dorelle was recognized by the UofG Athletics Department for recently being named OAT's Female Junior Triathlete of the year for 2008. The full article is here - too bad her eyebrows hadn't fully grown back in when the picture was taken.

Angela Quick posted a nice 0:25" PB in the 1500 free last weekend (18:30), earning her first provincial qualifying time.

At the same meet, Angela's younger brother Derek (Brantford Aquatic), posted new PBs in the 400 (4:23) and 800 (9:00.4).

In other news, the NTC crew in BC is ripping it up on the wet coast. Nice run Sharpie! It should be an interesting race season for the juniors in 2009.

If there are coaches, clubs and/or athletes out there with news of their recent accomplishments, please send me the link or a brief report for posting.  I'd love to post more news about the successes of athletes across Ontario, not just the athletes who happen to have close ties to the PTC.

We'll get back to the overtrained horses in the next post.

Congrats to Dorelle, Angela and Derek - pat on the back - now get back to work.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Food for thought on structuring microcycles (weekly training structure):

In a study examining training load and overtraining, Bruin et al. (1994) trained 7 male athletes on a treadmill for 272 days straight. Prior to testing and training, the athletes were screened for their ability to run on a treadmill, and all athletes followed a low intensity three month training program of five 30-45min sessions of walking and running per week.

Training lasted 272 days, 7 days a week, alternating one day of interval training, and one day of light endurance training. Training intensities were set by heart rate: v140, v180 and v200, where "v" indicates the velocity which elicited the target heart rate of 140, 180 or 200 beats per minute. Interval training began with 4x(3'@v200 with 3'@v140) and increased to 6x(3'@v200 with 3'@v140) + 6x(0:60" sprint with 4min recovery). During all interval training, the treadmill was set at a 6.25% incline. Training intensities/velocities were continuously revised based on frequent testing (every 4 weeks until day 187, and then every 2 weeks thereafter).

The alternating endurance days consisted of 20mins of v140 from day 0 to day 260.

For the first 260 days, all athletes were able to handle the increasing training load, without injury, illness, or reduced performance.

Before any of you try this at home, I should probably mention that the athletes were horses.

Noting that none of the horses were demonstrating the expected signs of overtraining, the researchers changed the training program on day 261. Instead of further increasing the training load of the interval sessions, the authors increased the training load of the endurance sessions (ie. the rest days got harder). Specifically, they increased the intensity from v140 to v180, but kept the duration (20mins) the same.

Ten days later, "the training was discontinued because the horses showed progressive and marked irritability and increased difficulty in completing the training sessions. In addition, they did not consume the usual amount of food provided."

Horses who were able to adapt to a progressively harder training load over the course of 260 consecutive days of training, failed after only 10 days of increased training intensity on the easy days.

Interesting. More soon.

Bruin, G., H. Kuipers, H. A. Keizer, and G. J. Vandervuisse. Adaptation and overtraining in horses subjected to increasing training loads. Journal of Applied Physiology, 76:1908-1913, 1994. Abstract.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Six Canadian junior triathletes competed January 16th-17th at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. The AYOF was held from January 14th-18th in Sydney, Australia.

The triathlon competition featured the men and women’s individual races on Friday, January 16th, followed by a men’s team and women’s team relay challenge on Saturday, January 17th. The Canadian contingent featured Matthew Sharpe (Victoria), Aaron Thomas (Victoria), and Cole Stewart (Langley, BC) on the men’s side and Christine Ridenour (Cowichan Bay, BC) and the twin sister duo of Alexandra and Kyla Coates (Victoria) for the women.

Full report on TriCan website.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Collaborative approach vital to NZ triathlon success, says coach
Jan 21, 2009

A proposed revamp of triathlon coaching in New Zealand would depend heavily on maintaining the sport's "collaborative" approach, a leading coach said today.

A controversial high performance plan from Triathlon New Zealand (TNZ) is being considered by government sports funding agency SPARC.

Full article.


Radical triathlon coaching shake-up a 'time bomb'
By STEVE KILGALLON - Sunday Star Times
Sunday, 18 January 2009

Renowned triathlon coach Jack Ralston says a controversial new high-performance plan for the sport could "destroy the whole great coaching structure" that propelled athletes such as Hamish Carter and Bevan Docherty to the top of the world.

Full article.


Two comments:

1) Outside of the months leading up to the Olympics, this sort of media exposure simply doesn't happen in Canada. But rather than complain, I'll give a tip of the cap to Randy Starkman who has done more than his fair share of reporting on triathlon, and amateur sport in general. If you want to see more coverage of amateur sport, the simple solution is to make sure there's lots of web traffic, feedback, and comments for reporters like Starkman.

2) The themes in these two articles are quite common, and have been played out in many countries - particularly the big triathlon nations. It will be interesting to see how one of the best (likely the best, on a per capita basis) triathlon programs performs in the years to come.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


[EDIT: Document links should work now. Apparently Google Docs won't allow me to make PDF files public, so I've upload the original MSWord or MSExcel Files. Please leave a comment if you still have trouble viewing the documents.]

This is the fourth post today, so be sure to scroll down for updates on Training Days and the Summer 2009 Junior Training Camp.

Final post for today - these two documents are something I've been meaning to work on for a while.

Unofficial Quest for Gold Scoring Grid

The first document is an unofficial Quest for Gold Scoring Grid. Athletes and coaches: I'll work to keep this updated through the year, but I'll need your help, so please send me your updated results. It was recognized last year that we were not doing a good job of maintaining an even playing field if all eligible QFG athletes didn't know where they stood in terms of scoring. In accordance with QFG rules, we can't release the 2009-2010 QFG criteria until it's approved by the government in August (I realize that it's ridiculous to post criteria at the end of the season, and I've brought this issue to the administration several times, to no avail). However, we can post old criteria, and we can keep an unofficial scoring grid, based on last year's criteria. I hope that this will help us avoid the last minute time trial scramble we've had in previous years.

While I'm on that topic, I strongly urge all athletes and coaches to schedule swim and run TT's or races as part of your regular 2009 training and racing schedule. In past years, several athletes have compromised their fall transition period in order to squeeze in some final training and complete a time trial to meet QFG criteria. The QFG program is intended to support promising athletes, age 16-22, in their development to international performers. Cramming in TT's and extra races at the end of the season is not proper development, and with proper planning, should not be necessary for most athletes.

Ontario "All Time" List

For a while now, I've had this idea that I'd like to keep a list of the top swim and run performances, in addition to a list of provincial and national champions, and World Championship and Major Games team members. This is the first draft, with a Top 10 for 400free, and a Top 10 for 3000m. The format is subject to change, but the first draft was written with Junior and U23 athletes in mind. Maybe we can expand it in the future to have a "U23/Elite" category with 1500m and 10k times. Send me your ideas.

This is a very rough first draft. For example, I know that Kyle Jones, Dano Wells, and Colin Jenkins were Junior National Champions. Colin and Sean Bechtel must have posted some pretty fast swim times from their junior years. Alicia Kaye was swimming in the front pack of World Cups at 16, so she probably has a Top 10 400fr time too. I'm pretty sure that Ayesha Rollinson raced on the elite team at 2005 Worlds, and I'm almost positive that Sean Bechtel raced at the PanAm Games in support of Brent McMahon. So I need these athletes, along with the historians and the 'results nerds' (Alexander) to send me info and links, as we revise and refine the list - don't be shy.

Both documents will be permanently posted in the DOCUMENTS section on the right.

E-mail me with feedback, ideas and data.


I've been getting some questions about a Junior Training camp for Summer 2009. The short answer is "Yes, we are hosting one." The camp will likely be here at Guelph - I'm waiting to hear back from the UofG housing office for residence space and access to meal plans. Athletes will also have the option of living off campus, but they will be responsible for their own sublets and meals.

The camp will be scheduled during the first 1-3 weeks of July. For some athletes, it may be an 3 week camp, for others I'll probably recommend 1 or 2 weeks.

I'll have more info in the coming weeks, including a call for applications to coach at the camp.


As I've written before, part of my job is to support and promote other coaches and programs. The more quality coaches and programs we have in this province, the more opportunities we have for younger (and older) triathletes to grow in the sport.

One small way I can do that is to promote training days across the province. My only requirements are that a) they must be sanctioned by OAT; b) they must be targeted to youth/juniors, or at least accessible to youth/juniors. If you have an upcoming training day that meets those requirements, let me know and I'll post it. We get anywhere from 50 to 150 blog readers a day, up to 800+ if Simon links to us.

Two upcoming Training Days that meet the criteria:

Jan 24th - Sudbury, ON
Not much notice on this one, but the paperwork was just completed, so I'll post earlier next time. Coach Mike Coughlin is hosting a training day Saturday, Jan 24th, in Sudbury. Mike is a NCCP certified Competition Coach for triathlon, and he has volunteered at the PTC Training Days this year. The feedback from the PTC Training Day coaches regarding Mike's coaching has been unanimously and enthusiastically positive - I'm sure he'll deliver a great program in Sudbury.

Feb. 21st - Ottawa, ON
Greg Kealey's Bytown Storm is hosting a training day on February 21st in Nepean. This is part of an ongoing training day program, so visit the Bytown site for the full schedule.

Thank you to all of our coaches for offering more quality training opportunities across the province.


James and Tom in 10 years.

February, the toughest month in the calendar in the Great White North. We're kicking off Feb in style with a Training Day. As always, you can find the entire training day schedule on the right hand menu, or directly through this link.

If you've been to previous PTC Training days (since October 2008), I already have your registration forms, so you simply need to e-mail me with "February Training Day" in the subject line, telling me you'll be there. If you haven't been to a PTC Training Day, you can e-mail me for a registration form.

Four important changes/additions for this training day:

1) First of all, a big thank-you to the parents and athletes of the 10-12 group as I try to figure out the best way to integrate these athletes into the schedule and still deliver a program that meets their needs (rather than just putting them on the same plan as the older athletes). After talking to a few parents at the last training day, we're going to try something a little different this time; we'll have the 10-12 group start the swim at 9am. This group will do 60min of technical swim work, followed by a run, and a bike after lunch. We'll still have this group work with their peers and a dedicated coach, but this change will bring them in line with the schedule of the other athletes. These athletes are welcome to arrive at the normal time and sign-in, but we won't start their training until 9am. This group will end the day at 2:00-2:15pm, approximately 15 mins earlier than the older groups.

2) Any of the older athletes who need technical swim work will spend the first ~45mins working with Alan Fairweather in the warm pool, before finishing the swim session in the gold pool. I feel we've sometimes gotten away from delivering a good technical swim option for this group in the past few sessions, so we'll have a mix of drill session, followed by a workout. If I haven't said it in a while, now is a good time: I want to see all athletes choosing to work on drills and technique in their weakest event when they come to the training days. If that means an athlete needs technical work on the swim, they should be choosing to join Alan's group for the first 45mins. Long term success in this sport will be built upon a good technical foundation, especially for youth and junior athletes.

3) We will return to the format of running before lunch, and biking after lunch. Athletes are better at riding on a full stomach than running on a full stomach. This will apply to all groups. Please note that we will be running OUTSIDE, so bring appropriate clothing.

4) Last but certainly not least, we are pleased to have Steve Fleck joining us to talk about everything and anything to do with wetsuits. Steve is an expert in this area (and others), and this will be an important session for athletes and parents. We'll either schedule this talk immediately after the swim, or during lunch, depending on Steve's schedule. I'll have final confirmation prior to the training day.

Some Additional Notes:

- Parking is free on the weekends at UofG
- Directions to Guelph and to the Athletic Centre at the UofG are linked on the right hand menu, under "DIRECTIONS TO PTC"
- We have a limited number of bike trainers - athletes can reserve these at no additional cost, when they register

Train smart, hosers.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Two quick congrats this morning.

First, congrats to Patrick Kelly's squad in Australia. The junior boys won the bronze medal in the team relay, and the girls finished a strong sixth. More details here.

Congrats also to Andrew Woegerer and Connor Hammond. Both guys achieved a "World" swim time yesterday in Toronto. I know there have been many athletes on the same track this winter. In the coming month or two, I'll set up a tracking sheet of our junior and U23 athletes so they'll have an idea of where they stand in terms of Quest for Gold scoring.

Enjoy the weekend. Train smart, and stay warm

Friday, January 16, 2009


Ed Reese, Head Coach of the University of Texas Longhorns swim team. In less than 3 minutes, Coach Reese delivers more wisdom, knowledge and experience than I've seen at some week-long coaching conferences. There are junior athletes in this province every bit as talented as the kids from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, France and Germany who are currently dominating international competitions. If you want to truly compete at that level, and find out far you can go, watch the video again. What's your 'tipping point'? Are you doing the things you need to be doing to reach your potential? Can you go all out, even when you're gettin' beat?

"I love that; that's what I'm recruiting, the guys that love to compete."


Coach Patrick Kelly and his team are representing Canada at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival. The team has completed the draft-legal sprint triathlon, and they'll compete in a relay event today.

In the Men's race, the Canadian team of Matt Sharpe, Aaron Thomas and Cole Stewart led the swim pack, and kept the pace high as the lead bike pack of 11 stayed at away from the rest of the field. Onto the run, Great Britain's Jonathan Brownlee (younger brother to Alistair Brownlee) took the win, with Matt 9th, Cole 10th, Aaron 12th.

In the Women's race, Christine Ridenour made the front pack of 5, which stayed away and entered T2 with a ~0:45" lead. On the the run, Aussie Holly Aitken took the win, which Christine holding on to 5th, and Kyla and Alex Coates finishing 7th and 8th.

Congrats to coach PK and the athletes, and best of luck in the relay.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Last post for today.

OAT is looking for coaches for summer camps. Further info here. Working as the Head Coach or Assistant coach at an OAT Summer Camp is a great experience; I highly recommend that NCCP Certified coaches seriously consider this opportunity. Application deadline is February 27th, 2009.

OAT is taking orders for new OAT clothing. Follow this link for more info. Samples below.

Stay warm out there.


Coaches!  If you run a triathlon club which focuses primarily on athletes aged 18 & under, this is for you.

General Motors Canada and the Coaching Association of Canada have once again teamed up for the GM Making Dreams Possible program. There are 50 grants of $2000 available to clubs for coaching development. The deadline for application is February 15th, 2009.

The specific page for club coaches is here.

This is not a program that OAT can apply to, but I can help with ideas, planning, scheduling and/or networking with other clubs and coaches if anyone is considering applying. For example, multiple clubs may wish to submit an application together, in order to support the development of a larger group of coaches. Or one club might be interested in hosting a seminar or series of seminars, open to all coaches for a small fee (ie. swim technique clinic, cycling skills clinic, guest speakers on youth development, nutrition/hydration, developing physical literacy, etc). E-Mail me if I can help with your grant application.


[L-R: Lauren, Kerry, Rachel on top of the podium]

I've got time for a few posts today. First on the agenda are some overdue congratulations:

Matt Vierula - OAT's Junior Male Triathlete of the Year (ByTown Storm Triathlon Team)

Greg Kealey - OAT Coach of the Year (ByTown Storm Triathlon Team)

Lauren Groves, Kerry Spearing and Rachel McBride - Team GOLD at the Brazil Fast Triathlon

Friday, January 9, 2009


Ok, a mixed bag for the first post of 2009. Lots of odd & ends - hopefully there's something for everyone. You might need to refresh your coffee, or get a snack, to make it through this long post.

We kicked off the year with a great training day on Sunday - lots of energy, and a great group. I was actually feeling a little tired after a busy holiday season, but I left the training day feeling energized and ready to go. Thanks to coaches Alan Fairweather, Lorri Zagar and Lynda Magor for their leadership and guidance.

I found a pair of women's running shoes (size 8.5, I think) left in the activity room (aka 'the biking room') after the training day. If they belong to you, e-mail me to claim them. If I don't hear from anyone, I'll turn them over to the UofG lost and found.

The next training day is Sunday February 1st.

If you've received the latest edition of the Triathlon Magazine Canada, you already know that James Loaring was recognized by OAT as "Mr Triathlon" in recognition of his many contributions to the sport. Congrats James! Dorelle Hinton was also recognized as OAT's Junior Female Triathlete of the Year. Congrats Dorelle! Since I coach both Dorelle and James, I wasn't involved with the selection committee for these two categories, so it was a nice surprise. I would however like to make note of two corrections, since I believe in giving credit where credit is due:

1) The OAT announcement of award winners notes that Dorelle was the first Ontario finisher at Junior Nationals in Kelowna. In fact, Lindsay Anderson (Ottawa, ON), was the first Ontario athlete across the line, finishing 6th. Dorelle finished 8th overall (7th Canadian), 11 seconds behind Lindsay. Dorelle was the Ontario Provincial Champion for 2008, in addition to finishing 4th at the Canada Summer Games Test Event in Summerside, PEI.

2) Lindsay Anderson was recognized at OAT's Junior Female Duathlete of the year. It should be noted that Lindsay was the 2008 Duathlon Jr National Champ, defending her 2007 National Duathlon title.

Congrats to both Lindsay and Dorelle on their achievements.

The rest of the content for today's post relates in one way or another to coaching......

Triathlon Canada released an update outlining the current NCCP coaching pathways for triathlon.

An article for those who do the hardest job in the world in addition to coaching.

Some of you know that I'm a big fan of swim coach Richard Quick. Coach Neil Harvey was one of my mentor coaches during my time at the National Triathlon Centre in Victoria, and he introduced me to Richard Quick's Championship Winning Freestyle. This video forms the foundation of the technical swim work we do at the PTC, and aligns perfectly with the concept of "Core --> Co-ordination --> Components" which serves as the foundation for technical assessment and correction in the NCCP Comp Intro coaching certification. Coach Quick has an incredible resume, and presents a simple and straightforward way to approach freestyle. He has a great way of humbly presenting his ideas and opinions, encouraging coaches to weigh the ideas/evidence and come to their own conclusions. I highly recommend the video, but be prepared to reconsider drills like catch-up, finger drag, underwater recovery, and a bunch of other standard freestyle drills.

Here's a short video of coach Quick in action - athletes who have trained at the PTC or the NTC in Victoria will likely recognize some of the cues. (AQ & DH - where have we heard 'breathe every 3' before?)

Unfortunately, David Clinkard passed along the sad news that coach Quick is quite ill. You can send him a get well message here.

Not to end on a sad note, here are some other coaching resources that might be useful.

Here is Russell Mark, National Team Performance Support Director for USA Swimming, discussing breathing during freestyle. Similar to Richard Quick, Mark shares his knowledge freely, and starts with "In my opinion" - I have a lot of time for coaches who share their ideas and knowledge while allowing for differing opinions.

A high quality clip of Michael Phelps swimming from various angles.

Listen to the coach right at the beginning of the clip for the program philosophy, and the role of core/strength training. In my opinion, coach Robert Chapman gets it exactly right. If you visit the page with the clip, you will find that someone has written the entire workout in the comments section.

Happy New Year.