Triathlon Canada: Regional Training Centre | Vancouver

Sunday June 5, 11

The planning for the Triathlon Canada regional training centre has begun!  Right now I am collecting data from the various stakeholders such as Triathlon Canada, Triathlon BC and the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific.  I have also held some informal meetings with community stockholder, junior and youth coaches and Vancouver based high performance triathletes.

There are a number of topics that are common to each group and intertwined themes viewed from different perspectives.

Managing these into a viable project will be the main challenge!

If our Regional Training Centre is of interest to you, please feel free to drop me a line and share your thoughts.



to the faithful

Thursday May 5, 11

“Training is a religion: you have to believe in the outcome.”

Dr. Tim Noakes

Rough Day At Work? You Won’t Feel Like Exercising

Friday September 25, 09

The experience of wise coaches and behaviour of World Class athletes supports the importance of controlling your environment to ensure peak performance. Around major games and important events, the need to minimize distractions is often a priority.

So what are the implications of this in daily sport or an active healthy lifestyle?  It can be as simple as when we schedule hard workouts, when we do skills work, the importance of managing distractions, minimizing stress before important events, etc.

The possibilities are endless…

ScienceDaily (Sep. 25, 2009) — Have you ever sat down to work on a crossword puzzle only to find that afterwards you haven’t the energy to exercise? Or have you come home from a rough day at the office with no energy to go for a run?

“Cognitive tasks, as well as emotional tasks such as regulating your emotions, can deplete your self-regulatory capacity to exercise,” says Kathleen Martin Ginis, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, and lead author of the study.

Martin Ginis and her colleague Steven Bray used a Stroop test to deplete the self-regulatory capacity of volunteers in the study. (A Stroop test consists of words associated with colours but printed in a different colour. For example, “red” is printed in blue ink.) Subjects were asked to say the colour on the screen, trying to resist the temptation to blurt out the printed word instead of the colour itself.

“After we used this cognitive task to deplete participants’ self-regulatory capacity, they didn’t exercise as hard as participants who had not performed the task. The more people “dogged it” after the cognitive task, the more likely they were to skip their exercise sessions over the next 8 weeks. “You only have so much willpower.”

Still, she doesn’t see that as an excuse to let people loaf on the sofa.

“There are strategies to help people rejuvenate after their self-regulation is depleted,” she says. “Listening to music can help; and we also found that if you make specific plans to exercise—in other words, making a commitment to go for a walk at 7 p.m. every evening—then that had a high rate of success.”

She says that by constantly challenging yourself to resist a piece of chocolate cake, or to force yourself to study an extra half-hour each night, then you can actually increase your self-regulatory capacity.

“Willpower is like a muscle: it needs to be challenged to build itself,” she says.

The study was made possible through funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Principles of Training

Thursday November 10, 05

Fundamental Principles of Training

    1. Progressive overload
    2. Super-compensation
    3. Recovery
    4. Specificity
    5. Frequency
    6. Periodization
    7. Maintenance
    8. Fatigue

Progressive overload

The principle of progressive overload states that, for athletes to improve they must slowly and methodologically encounter workloads and stresses (physical and mental) that exceed their current abilities. This overload does not necessarily occur on a daily basis, but should span successive days, months and years. Overload will result in fatigue (principle 8), which in turn will trigger fitness super-compensations (principle 2). If an athlete’s abilities (physical, technical, and
psychological) are not overloaded, they soon and more improvements occur.


The principle of super-compensation is based on the fact that an athlete will adapt to training stress. In order to experience super-compensation, an athlete will pass through a period of fatigue
(principle [8]), then a period of enhanced fitness once recovery (principle 3) is allowed.


The principle of recovery states that for fitness to improve and even be maintained, a period of reduced effort is necessary. The need for recovery is inherent at all levels of training;

    within workouts,
    between workouts,
    between days of training, etc.

By allowing differing amounts of recovery, a program can direct an athlete’s preparation towards a specific goal; be it psychological, aerobic, anaerobic or technical.


Specificity is an expression of how close your training is to your competitive requirements.

Paddling is part of a unique group of sports (including swimming, rock climbing, and cross-country skiing) that require unique and unnatural movements. Consequently, only a limited amount of non-specific training will enhance performance and as athletes become more experienced, the benefits of non-specific training are greatly diminished. Thus, the specificity of fitness training increases in importance for the moreexperienced and elite athletes.

In other words, to become a better paddler you need to paddle.


The frequency with which an athlete trains is always important. Frequency needs addressing both within and between workouts. Within a workout, frequency is defined by the duration of work and rest intervals. The frequency of workouts in a given day, week, or month will be important in more advanced athletes, not so much with novice paddlers unless fatigue (principle 8) plays a role.


One of the most important aspects of training is the systematic assembly of training into a cohesive unit. Periodization is the process by which a season or year is broken down into a number of phases that address specific training needs or goals.


The ability to maintain fitness and performance between training bouts is essential for top athletic performance. Modified and reduced workouts administered at the appropriate time will allow an athlete to maintain performance levels with minimal training.


While not a principle of training in itself, fatigue is a consequence of all training programs. However, chronic fatigue or overtraining is more often attributed to poorly designed or poorly
monitored programs.

Overtraining is defined as a chronic and long term decrease in both performance and fitness that requires a long time to overcome. The causes and symptoms of overtraining are often interwoven so tightly that identifying causalrelationships is nearly impossible.

Alan Carlsson
Engineered Athlete Services