catching up

Its been a while since I managed to get a post up, let’s just call it a very busy summer.

I had a significant shift in my personal sporting goals after the Moloka’i solo surfski race back in May. I had put in so much effort over the winter that paddling was not as attractive as usual.

Combined with what looked like some success in my battle with seasonal allergies, I decided to shift gears away from the water and back over to triathlons. Prior to taking up competitive paddling in 95, triathlon had been my thing.

A few years ago, I started up a triathlon club here in Vancouver with my triathlon racing nemesis Andrew Tuovinen.

Every race against Andrew followed a similar script; I smoked Andrew in the swim then held my own on the bike. Depending on the length of the swim, technical difficulty on the bike and length of the run, Andrew would either catch me on the run or come very, very close. Not that I was a slouch on the run, Andrew was super fast with a 10 k PB in the 32 min range and a one mile PB in the low 4 min range.

Andrew and I have very compatible coaching styles with complementary strengths and weaknesses. The club is almost at 50 members and we’re very proud to say showing some excellent long term athlete development.

This year we had 15 athletes compete at Ironman Canada, and of those all 15 finished the race and 11 of them were taking on an Ironman for the first time. We had emphasized the run as being the key element in the race and all our guys and gals ran super strong marathons to finish their races. We even had a few negative splits on the run! Not bad after 3.8 km of swimming and 180 km of cycling!

At the triathlon club Andrew and I each have a number of athletes working with us one on one. They range from elite level athletes to rookies. One things these athletes all have in common is that they are goal oriented and willing to ask for guidance.

It is a very rewarding environment to coach in. We’re super happy with the club we’ve built and proud of the sportsmanship demonstrated every practice by the club members.

For me, I even managed to complete a few triathlons. My paddling left me with super upper body fitness and my swim was as good as ever (51 min for 4 km), but my aerobic fitness was shockingly poor for weight bearing exercise. I’m working on that now.

My immediate coaching challenges involve two triathletes who want to make the podium at the 2008 ITU Age Group World Championships.

As I am in the planning phases now, my first task is retooling training program templates to deliver all the information we needs to perform at our best.

I’ve got some good ideas on how to improve sport specific fitness, especially when I consider the bike-run interaction.

When will I get back to paddling? I think I’ll wait for the spring or summer of 08…


Alan Carlsson
Engineered Athlete Services


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