GranFondo program update

Monday March 28, 11

After a fair bit of work my GranFondo Whistler plan is 95% complete.

They should be ready for launch Tuesday PM or Wednesday at the latest!

The plan(s) will be available through Training Peaks or as a PDF on the EAS linked program page

Click the image above to link over to the plans… when they are ready!



You can learn more from failure than success…

Monday August 23, 10

You can learn more from failure than success. In failure you’re forced to find out what part did not work. But in success you can believe everything you did was great, when in fact some parts may not have worked at all. Failure forces you to face reality.

Fred Brooks

I was reading an article on about designing and Fred Brooks Monday.  It struck me that design theory for technology industry is true in sport as well.

I’ll be debriefing a number of athletes after this past weekend’s triathlon National Championships. As a coach, I need to acknowledge the failures in order to help athletes improve.  At the same time, I need to recognize and reward success.  Its a delicate balance.

The toughest part in sport is contextual interpretation of results.  Was a poor performance really a poor performance? Or did everyone do poorly that day?  Was it wind, rain, temperature, course changes, etc.?  Similarly, was an excellent truly excellent? Or was everyone faster?

Separating facts from fiction and evidence from distractions is critical in the debrief.

I especially like the following  thoughts;

  • The critical thing about the design process is to identify your scarcest resource.
  • start with a vision not a list of features
  • You build a quick prototype and get it in front of users to see what they do with it.
  • constant incremental iterations

As I plan 2011, I’ll keep these ideas in mind- especially the first two.


cut me!

Friday April 11, 08

Working with elite athletes is similar to a gem cutter sitting down with an uncut stone…

Training, skill, experience, standards, a few preliminary measurements and long term vision are probably just some of the factors used by a master gem cutter in their trade.


Just like we use peak VO2, peak power, economy of motion, distance per stroke, psychological measures, LTAD…

Sometimes the biggest and most incredible rough stone can be riddled with unseen flaws that only show up after initial preparation or later on in the final stages, whereas a smaller, less assuming stone can become the most beautiful and amazing creation.

One notable difference between gem cutting and coaching is that the stone doesn’t decide what it wants to be. Diamonds remain diamonds, emeralds remain emeralds and chunks of glass remain chunks of glass.

One sad similarity is that a stone of great potential can be destroyed by an unskilled cutter; just as it is easier to ruin at gifted athlete than make them an Olympian or World Champion.


LTAD and periodization

Friday January 25, 08

This past week I was at a Sport Canada workshop on Long Term Athlete Development.

One of the important periods being targeted in athlete development is that surrounding the primary growth phase as identified through peak height velocity (PHV). Well design training in this important period in a young athlete’s life can open up windows of training opportunities that optimize training adaptations in; the steady growth before PHV, during the rapid acceleration in growth, the rapid deceleration in growth and the post growth phases.

Given some of the interesting discussions in the triathlon coaching world on training periodization. Old school training plans, new age plans, reverse periodization, etc. One central concept to all is the impact of the competitive schedule on the program design.

With PHV considerations in mind, training program designs is driven by the developmental needs of the athlete first and the demands of competition second.

This is a radical shift for the majority of club coaches, as in large groups it is the norm that the athletes must fit the plan. It is just easier that way 9-10 year olds together, 11-12’s, 13-14’s, etc. However, some progressive clubs have decided that easier is not always the best route and have chosen to embrace LTAD around PHV. In in so doing are are already showing huge gains in athlete development However, the shift in thinking around PHV requires

Ironically, what these top clubs are doing is very similar to what elite coaches do with their high performance athletes; the training programs are made to fit the athlete.

So what form should periodization take?

  • Reverse
  • Forward
  • Old school
  • New School

Sure, whatever you call it.

Regardless, most importantly periodization must be reactionary to the needs of the athlete’s development; chronological, technical, physiological, tactical, psychological and sociological.

Alan Carlsson