Jan 30, 2011


Just returned from a fun day of coaching at UofG, where Lorri Zagar and the Fun2Tri club hosted a training day. We had 26 athletes out for the day. Lots of great energy from the athletes and parents, with the added bonus of Frank Garai and the Barrie Youth Triathlon Club attending, too. There's a whole new crop of juniors coming up from the youth ranks over the next few years, and they're looking pretty fast.

A few more bikes that we usually have up in the stands....
...probably a new record, but we can easily fit 30+ next time.

The RTC boys were relegated to the corner for their bike ride.

Other highlights included the RTC squad working with the athletes on some drafting in the pool, before the youth/juniors smoked the RTC'ers in a 200IM relay by more than 6 seconds.

Thanks to everyone who made it out for the day. Keep up the great work with your training. The next training day is Sunday March 6th.


Trimes digs Andrew McCartney

It is our pleasure to introduce Andrew McCartney in our « Trimes digs » column.
Before we get to the serious stuff, let starts with something completely unrelated but … I’d like you to know that Andrew is probably the best triathlete/cook combo in Canada !
Sugar Flower by Andrew
Thankfully, when he is not cooking some delicious looking recipes, Andrew is training with the Senior National Team in Victoria.
Five-spice pumpkin-Ginger Cake (by Andrew)
Like many others, Andrew made it his goal to represent Canada at the next Olympics.  Either he admits to it or not, one if his talent is definitely the swim.
If you have been following Andrew’s racing season, you might have noticed that he is always (or very often) in the top 5 coming out of the water. Andrew could be one of the greatest team mate in a Quest for Gold.
Over the years Andrew has definitely accumulated some great results :
• Under-23 and Junior National Champion
• Finished 15th at 2009 Under-23 World Triathlon Championships in Gold Coast, Australia
• 2009 Hy-Vee Des Moines World Cup Swim Prime Winner
2009 – PATCO-Under-23 Championships: 3
2009 – ITU Continental Cup, San Francisco, U.S.A.: 2
2009 – National Championships, Kelowna, B.C.: 5
2009 – World Triathlon Championships, Gold Coast, Aus.: 15
And you can find all his 2010 results here
Andrew is also and avid blogger with an extensive work done right here 
This is what Andrew had to tell us

Jan 29, 2011


Coming to a University library near you, this month:

Ford, P., De Ste Croix, M., Lloyd, R., Meyers, R., Moosavi, M., Oliver, J., Till, K., & Williams., C. (2011). The Long-Term Athlete Development model: Physiological evidence and application. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29(4), 389-402.

The Long-Term Athlete Development model: Physiological evidence and application 

Authors: Paul Forda; Mark De Ste Croixb; Rhodri Lloydc; Rob Meyersc; Marjan Moosavi; Jon Oliverc; Kevin Tilld; Craig Williamse


Within the UK, the “Long Term Athlete Development” (LTAD) model has been proposed by a variety of national governing bodies to offer a first step to considering the approach to talent development. The model, which is primarily a physiological perspective, presents an advancement of understanding of developing athletic potential alongside biological growth. It focuses on training to optimize performance longitudinally, and considers sensitive developmental periods known as “windows of opportunity”. However, it appears that there are a number of problems with this theoretical model that are not necessarily transparent to coaches. Principally, the model is only one-dimensional, there is a lack of empirical evidence upon which the model is based, and interpretations of the model are restricted because the data on which it is based rely on questionable assumptions and erroneous methodologies. Fundamentally, this is a generic model rather than an individualized plan for athletes. It is crucial that the LTAD model is seen as a “work in progress” and the challenge, particularly for paediatric exercise scientists, is to question, test, and revise the model. It is unlikely that this can be accomplished using classical experimental research methodology but this should not deter practitioners from acquiring valid and reliable evidence.

Jan 28, 2011


Just covering the bases to make sure the message gets communicated. CT.

From: Frank Christie, Program Co-ordinator, Triathlon Canada
Date:  Fri. Jan 28, 2011

Dear Athletes,

If you wish to participate in an ITU Continental Cup race and you are eligible to do so under Triathlon Canada's International Competition Card Criteria, please email me expressing your intention to race 30 days prior to the date of the event. If you request to race within 30 days of the event you run the risk of being left off the start list if the event is full. 

Please note that in order to compete in an ITU Continental Cup Race you must have a valid, 2011 International Competition Card. The applications for an International Competition Card can be found here on our website http://triathloncanada.com/en/page.ch2?uid=IntlCompetitionCard

The schedule for Continental Cup Events can be found at:

- Athletes that have already requested to be entered in a Continental Cup event have been entered and do not have to send another request for those events 
- Please check the ITU's website leading up to the event to see the official start lists in order to confirm your entry into the event.
- The ITU's Entry Criteria has been attached for your reading (note: not attached in this blog post)

Good luck at the races and with your training. 

Kind Regards,

Frank Christie
Program Coordinator
Triathlon Canada
#106 - 3 Concorde Gate
Toronto, ON  M3C 3N7
Telephone: 416-426-7430
FAX: 416-426-7294
Email: raceentries (at) triathloncanada.com


I've been intending to write a post about the "10 Year / 10,000 Hour Rule" for a while now, but it's languished on my 'to do' list, with no progress. Thankfully, most of the work has been done for me. Wayne Goldsmith sums it up nicely (thanks to James for the link) with this gem, which is definitely worth the read:

"10000 hours to make a champion??? What rubbish!"

I will however take the liberty to add an 11th point to Goldsmith's list:

11. The empirical evidence that 10,000 hours is required for expert sport performance is at best weak, and at worst non-existant.

But don't take my word for it.  Canada, and Ontario in particular, is home to several academics who study things like expert performance in sport, including Dr. Jean Cote (Queens), Dr. Joseph Baker (York) and Dr. J Starkes (McMaster). Here's what Dr. Cote (1) recently wrote on the subject:
Although there is some sport research that supports a positive relationship between deliberate practice training and elite performance (e.g., Helsen et al., 1998; Hodge & Deakin, 1998; Hodges & Starkes, 1996; Starkes et al., 1996), few studies have shown that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is indeed a prerequisite for expert performance in sport. On the contrary, expert performance in sports where peak performance is reached after maturation has been achieved with 3,000 to 4,000 hours of sport specific training." (emphasis added)

And here's what Dr. Baker presented to Canoe/Kayak in November 2010:

You can find Dr. Baker's full presentation here.

It's disappointing to note that you won't find one of these experts on expertise referenced in the Sport Canada CS4L/LTAD.

The CS4L/LTAD document says "Scientific research has concluded that it takes a minimum of 10 years and 10,000 hours of training for a talented athlete to reach elite levels" (Link). That statement has gotten a lot of mileage, although it has been edited from earlier versions to include the term 'talented'.  Contrary to the LTAD/CS4L however, I'd suggest that the science is far from conclusive, and furthermore that the emerging evidence doesn't seem to support the 10yr/10k minimum.

If you've been following these occasional blog posts about the LTAD model (the others are here and here), you'll likely note a consistent theme; namely that certain concepts presented as established scientific fact are not as 'established' as the reader is led to believe.  More troubling however are those examples where the available evidence and research is clearly counter to the concept being presented as fact.  But as I've said before, don't take my word for it, do your own research, weigh the evidence, and draw your own conclusions.

Does it take a lot of work - hard, patient, intentional, consistent, deliberate work - to become an elite athlete?  Absolutely!  Is there such a thing as talent? Yes, and it goes beyond physiology - it could be neural, tactile, mental, or any of a million other things, expressed in a variety of ways.  And talent means nothing without hard work and determination.  But I simply don't agree with the 'fact' that would-be elite athletes must spend a minimum of 10 years and 10,000 hours to be elite.  And the research, at least as I read it, would seem to agree.

For a nice lit review on youth sports research, see Youth Sports Implementing Findings and Moving Forward with Research.

See also K.A. Ericsson et al's "The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance", which is the basis for the 10,000 hour rule, and the primary resource for this "Factor" in the LTAD.


1. Cote, J., Lidor., R., & D. Hackfort (2009). "ISSP Position Stand: To Sample or to Specialize? Seven Postulates about Youth Sport Activities that Lead to Continued Participation and Elite Performance", IJSEP, 9, p7-17. Link.

Jan 22, 2011


Just back in the door from OAT Board meetings and a coaches meeting in Toronto, today. It was definitely inspiring and exciting to see the energy around the table, dedicated to growing and guiding the sport of triathlon in Ontario over the coming years. More than a few people had made a long trip to be there, including at least three who had flown into TO from far flung locales just yesterday.

One of the discussions today had to do with coach development; strategies and opportunities to develop coaches, and the importance of a strong coaching community of practice in setting the foundation for future athlete success.

On the trip home I had a bit of time to reflect on the meetings, and some of the many development opportunities I've had over the years. One that always stands out for me was back in 2004 when then National Coach Lance Watson e-mailed me a copy of Brent McMahon's 2004 annual plan, as an example of the work that was being done by an athlete who ultimately raced in the Olympic Games that year. For someone with very limited experience at the top levels of the sport, it was a great learning tool for me. The only thing Lance asked in return was that I didn't distribute the plan. I never did. It's still in my files, and I go back and give it a read from time to time.

So in the spirit of fostering coach development & collaboration, I'll make a similar offer to any Canadian triathlon coach who's interested: drop me a line and I'll give you access to our weekly RTC-Guelph Schedule, annual plan, and associated documents.

Maybe you'll get some ideas, maybe it will inspire you, or maybe it will make you think we're completely off our rocker.  Maybe you'll find that we program more hours than you do....or maybe we do less.  But my guess is that you'll probably find it isn't that special or exotic - the only secret is that there are no secrets in endurance sport.

Disclaimer: Like any plan, it's just one way of doing things, and it's written to address the specific context we work in (draft-legal, full academic course loads, winter bike training, etc). It's provided in the hopes that it furthers the education/development of coaches, not to be cut and pasted blindly into programs. It shouldn't surprise you to know that not everyone in the squad is on the exact schedule, and that sometimes we modify on the fly, based on athlete feedback and response to training. That's coaching.

There are only two rules:

1) Not for distribution or publication
2) Coaches only -  this is not for athletes looking for a free program

Here's a sample of our schedule for Nov 8-14, 2010:

Jan 20, 2011


It's great to see a variety of Training Day options this year, in various locations. Check out OAT's Training Day page for a comprehensive list; some of them are targeted to specific age groups (ie. youth, junior), and some of them *look* like they include adults (not sure, but contact the coaches to check). Lots of selection this year, so you should be able to find something close by, at least for the GTA crowd.

Closer to home, we're OAT-sanctioned and good-to-go for the training days here at UofG, hosted by the fun-2-tri club. The first one is coming up fast, on Sunday Jan 30th.

These training days are for youth and junior athletes (age 12-19), and we've got room for you. If you're just a bit younger or older than that age range, drop us an e-mail to see if we can accommodate you.

Registration: You can register online here or here (either one is fine).

Fee: $20 per training day, payable on site, the morning of the Training Day. Cash preferable, cheques accepted. Minimum registration: 12 athletes.

Coaches: Lorri Zagar & Craig Taylor

Tentative Schedule:

8:30-8:50AM              Arrival, sign in, bikes and gear to pool viewing stands
9:00-10:30AM            SWIM
10:30-10:50AM          Break
11:00-12:00PM           BIKE
12:00-12:45PM           Lunch (bring your own, or buy on campus)
12:45-1:30PM             RUN

Additional Info:

We'll send out a confirmation e-mail on the Thursday prior to the Training Day (Jan 27, 2011)

Map to help you get to the University of Guelph.

Map to help you find the Athletic Centre, at University of Guelph.

Jan 17, 2011


Trimes digs Joanna Brown

And voila ! After Kyla CoatesAndrew Yorke and Tenille Hoogland, we will turn our attention on yet another member of the National Development Team nominated by Triathlon Canada. Please welcome Joanna Brown [blOg].
Joanna at ITU Coteau
This Carp (tiny little town near Ottawa) native Junior athlete has been working very hard for a few years under the talented yet underrated coach Greg Kealey. She is part of a Ottawa source of young elites called the Bytown Storm Triathlon club.
Joanna is about to jump into the Olympic distance world and racing U23 in 2012, meanwhile she has already accumulated multiple impressive results like
- 2010 National Junior Champion (Kelowna)
- 2010 Bronze medal @ ITU World Champion Junior (Budapest)
Full article.

Jan 16, 2011


Love the attitude, vision and leadership from Swim Canada's CEO Pierre Lafontaine... and the results.

Canada: Becoming tough to beat
January, 11, 2011

EDITORIAL - This past weekend, our Youth & Junior squad competed in Great Britain at a Tri-meet against Britain’s top talent team and selected swimmers from North-England. The team showed great character, fighting until the end and finishing with a victory on the second day. This is the character we are starting to see within the Canadian swimming community.

Our coaches and support staff were there to set an environment for our swimmers to excel, and have to be commended for their efforts.

We have seen similar performances this past summer at the Pan Pacific Championships where our swimmers won 1 medal on the 1st day, 2 medals on the 2nd day, 3 on the 3rd and 4 medals on the 4th and final day.

The same story was repeated at the Commonwealth Games where our best day was on the final day of the meet. Our National “B” team also fought to the victory against the Australian team to win the “B” meet by 11 points.

This is how we need to be known around the world! The team that never gives up, that is tough to beat anytime, anywhere, under any condition. This has to be the Canadian way!

It is important to remember that our best juniors are performing well at that level, not only because they have trained hard but because they are technically superior.

Our sport is a technical sport where great fitness is added on to, not the other way around. Swimmers must become fixated with the details of their techniques, and their coaches must become artists by developing a great technical eye. Coaches must be looking at, finding new way to improve day in day out and create a learning environment so that swimmers become the best at all 4 strokes, at underwater fly kick, body position, starts and turns, etc.

As a measure of celebration to the hard work and progression, each club in the country should acknowledge the daily challenges (training records) and improvements that can be measured. Add this to the club records, personal records, personal training records, pool records. Any way to celebrate progression outside of a swim meet will keep Canadian swimmers motivated to keep moving in the right direction!

As we look towards all the up coming international events this summer, the need to prepare your athletes to take on the world is as important as them getting ready to qualify for the team itself. They need to be resilient, excited to race for Canada and to make their marks, training to race by learning to win the “close ones”.

Swimmers need to make their presence felt on every pool deck they walk on. Show the World that we have prepared relentlessly better than anyone, that we have used all of our tools to be the best technically, and that we have used all of our racing opportunities to tweak our ultimate performances.

Go Canada go!

A great read…

Leadership – by Rudolph W Guiliani, Miramax Books 2002.

Here are the title of each of the chapters:

1 September 11, 2001
2 First thing First
3 Prepare Relentlessly
4 Everyone’s Accountable, All of the Time
5 Surround Yourself with Great People
6 Reflect, Then Decide
7 “Underpromise” and “Overdeliver”
8 Develop and Communicate Strong Beliefs
9 Be You Own Man
10 Loyalty: The Vital Virtue
11 Weddings Discretionary, Funerals Mandatory
12 Stand Up to Bullies
13 Study. Read. Learn Independently
14 Organize Around a Purpose
15 Bribe Only Those Who Will Stay Bribed
16 Recovery

I have just finished reading this good book and thought that was very appropriate for the work you do. Enjoy!

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” – William Pollard

Pierre Lafontaine

Jan 10, 2011


Trimes Digs Tenille Hoogland

Tenille Hoogland
Tenille Hoogland
In early 2010, Ottawa-based up and coming triathlete Tenille Hoogland sold all her furniture, quit her permanent job with the federal government, moved to Austin, Texas, got her elite card, overcame a longterm injury and dutifully proceeded to kick butt all season!
2010 was a break through year for Tenille, finishing on the highest step of the podium in very competitive drafting short course events by scoring a win at the ITU Pan-American Cup San Francisco and at the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz.  She also scored a second place at the Oceanside, CA Super Sprint Grand Prix, a fourth place at Calgary 70.3 before closing off the season with a 14th place finish at the ITU Pan-American Championships in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  Pretty solid for a first year on the international stage!

Jan 9, 2011


A great article about Sheila O'Kelly, Managing Director of ITU World Cups, who left her post with the ITU at the end of 2010. Sheila, originally from Ireland, but a longtime Edmonton resident, has left an indelible mark on the sport. I can't say enough good things about Sheila, or about the help she's given me over the years, or the countless things she's done behind the scenes to simply make things work for coaches and athletes. She's left a remarkable legacy; starting out as a somewhat reluctant volunteer KOS race director and eventually helping guide the ITU through its formative years to the present. Thanks Sheila, you'll definitely be missed. CT

Special Thanks to Sheila O’Kelly

08/01/11 at 12:45 am - Texto en español
Sheila O’Kelly, Managing Director of ITU World Cups, has long played a crucial role in the development of our sport and chose to leave ITU at the end of 2010 to pursue new ventures.  ITU Secretary General Loreen Barnett contributed her memories of Sheila to honour her tireless work within triathlon.
My last thoughts of 2010 go to Sheila…..
2010 has been such a successful year for ITU, thanks to the committed efforts of an amazing staff under the wise guidance of the Executive Board.
Together we achieved:
  • a highly successful launch of the Sprint and Team events within the Olympic Family at the Youth Olympic Games;
  • another great World Championship Series and expansion of our partnership with Upsolut (we have become a really good team); 
  • Paratriathlon’s acceptance on the programme of the Paralympics 2016;
  • new milestones with Continental Confederations engagement within Sport Development and a clear future for the World Cup events within that structure; 
  • the introduction of the Athlete Biological Passport;
  • many more benchmarks for our sport.

Full article.

Jan 5, 2011


From Kristine Chambers:

Hello everyone,

A quick reminder that registration is now open for the 3rd annual “Bridging the Gap” Coaching Conference in Victoria, February 12-13.
This conference is run “by coaches for coaches” and specifically targets those working with athletes “BRIDGING” up from KOS to Junior levels.  

The conference is discussion based with opportunities to share ideas, plans, programs, and future directions in the sport.  We also spend time observing NTC and PTC practices.  This is a chance to bring together a group of coaches that work with a growing area in our sport – and one that has few ‘road maps’ associated with development.  We are starting to create some of those maps through experiences like this.

If you are a BC Coach, there may be travel subsidies available (contact Triathlon BC for more details).  If you are an out-of-province coach, please, check with your PGB about support for attending the conference.  Pass this message on to coaches you think may be interested in this experience.  

Best wishes for a very successful 2011 season!

Kristine on behalf of BC Coaches and Triathlon BC


Trimes digs Andrew Yorke

This week, we are happy to introduce to you yet another athlete from the Canadian National development team, Andrew Yorke.
Andrew from Caledon, ON along with many other elites from Ontario (C3 Cross Training) is coached by former national coach Barrie Shepley.
He suffered from a few long terms injuries but was finally able to make a wonderful come-back in 2010.
Winning the ITU in Soulanges and the Ontario Long Course provincial in Ottawa helped to make him earn a slot in the national development team.
Andrew accepted to answer our silly questions …

Full article.

Jan 2, 2011


Trimes digs Kyla Coates

To celebrate the beginning of our new year, we are happy to introduce a new tradition at Trimes.org
Victory Coteau 2009
Victory Coteau 2009
In the shadow of the big names in triathlon that people-on-the-street may know about, there are some athletes in Canada who deserve to be heard and need some exposure. We created this topic for them. Therefore, on regular basis, we will introduce an athlete from the next generation in our columns.
To inaugurate our series about the « next gen », please welcome Kyla Coates !
Kyla has collected many many podium in Canada as a junior and just moved from the junior category last year. See her most noticeable results on ITU races here.
Her racing at high level was really promising in 2010 but a broken collarbone injury delayed Kyla a bit … We can’t wait for 2011 !

Full article here.

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