Dec 30, 2012


We're kicking off the new year in a style with a Training Day on Sunday, January 6th, at UofGuelph.

Swim starts at 8:30AM, so plan to arrive at 8AM for set up and to finalize registration.

Training day open to athletes age 12-25.

Coaches for the day will be Lorri Zagar and Craig Taylor.

 Fee is $25.

Tentative Training Schedule:
8:30-10:00AM SWIM
10:00-10:30AM Break
10:30-12:00PM RUN (outdoor)
12:00-1:00PM Lunch
1:00-2:30PM BIKE (indoor)

Contact Lorri Zagar to reserve your spot. We have a limited number of trainers and rollers available for use.

Dec 18, 2012


Food for thought:

Below is a simple framework for assessing and addressing technique. Coaches who have done their NCCP Comp Intro certification will recognize it from the Comp Intro manual, authored by coach Kristine Chambers (Vancouver, BC). And beyond the Comp Intro sphere, I've certainly worked with many coaches who knowingly or unknowingly employ this model as well.

Simply, you start at the bottom when assessing or correcting technique/skill, and work your way up.

"Core" refers to the entire axial skeleton, from head to tailbone. In this context, the position/posture/balance of the "core" is the key point, not to be confused with 'core strength' or 'core exercises'.  When assessing and correcting technique, begin with the positioning and movement of the axial skeleton (the core). In practical terms, this may be body position in the water, or posture when running.

If you have determined that the core is positioned and moving properly, you can then address the co-ordination of limbs and/or limb segments (timing, rhythm, rate,).

Finally, when core and co-ordination are addressed, work on adjusting the 'components': hands, feet, contact points, etc. 

There are times when the right answer is to alter rhythm/timing (co-ordination), or change the position of a limb (component).  But most often I've found that lasting corrections follow from addressing the core first, and building from there. Conversely, less experienced coaches seem to make adjustments to components without addressing the underlying core issues - usually to temporary effect.

Note that this model can work for coaches with differing views on what constitutes good form and appropriate intervention.  Whether you like catch-up and finger drag, or prefer band-only swimming, you can still assess and correct with this model in mind.

Dec 11, 2012


A fun video from the Guelph Marlins Aquatic Club. They bring great energy to the pool deck, and to the dryland workouts from the looks of things.

Dec 4, 2012


Triathlon Ontario 2012 award winners are now posted. Special congrats to the Zagar family, with Lorri Zagar being recognized as both Volunteer of the Year and Coach of the Year, and Myles Zagar taking home Junior Male honours. Lorri was the driving force behind the organization of the 2012 Ontario Summer Games Triathlon, in addition to leading the Fun2Tri team to their best year ever.

Lorri and Myles Zagar

Congrats to all on your efforts this season, and a big thanks to our coaches, volunteers, board members and officials who help make training and racing possible.

Nov 29, 2012


EDIT: PATCO is scheduled for June 29/30. I had written the incorrect dates in initial post. Now corrected.

Attention Coaches & Athletes:

The 2013 PATCO (Pan American Triathlon Confederation) schedule has been released. This is a list of Continental Cups and Continental Championships for the PATCO Region (North, Central and South America), including Canada. Note that the ITU has previously released the WTS and World Cup Schedules, including those races that fall in the PATCO region (ie. WTS San Diego, Edmonton World Cup, etc.).

Why is this PATCO schedule important? For Juniors, it confirms the dates and locations of the North American Junior Champs (June 1st, Dallas, USA) and the PATCO Junior Championships (June 29/30, Vila Velha, BRA). Likewise for U23/Elite, it confirms the date/location of the PATCO Champs (June 29/30, Vila Velha, BRA), in addition to the Continental Cups available in the PATCO region.

You can review the entire ITU schedule anytime by going to and clicking EVENTS on the header menu.

A few important notes:

TriCan has not yet set the criteria for Junior selection to NA Champs, PATCO and Worlds; we have to wait until we know where/when the events will be hosted. Watch this space for updates now that we have a schedule. The easiest options are to use a company to process your visa, or go to the Brazilian consulates personally (Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver).

For those athletes/coaches who travel to Brazil, a travel Visa is required. There's nothing to do until the tickets are booked, but be prepared for some extra travel admin for this race.

This is a GREAT time to get your Passport renewed if it expires in 2013. Save yourself the hassle and stress before travel/racing and take care of it now.

I would strongly urge interested coaches and athletes to join ITU's mailing list to receive these updates directly.

Questions? Leave them in the comments section so everyone can see the Q&A.

Nov 26, 2012


The training sessions are already sold out, but there's still space available to hear Simon Whitfield and Barrie Shepley speak next weekend (Dec 1st) at McMaster University in Hamilton. Don't miss this great opportunity to hear from two triathlon legends, hosted by the good people at

More info here.

Nov 8, 2012


Alright triathletes, and future triathletes, UofGuelph is the place to be on Sunday November 25th. We're hosting a Triathlon Training Day here at UofG, along with Triathlon Canada's "Tri This" Talent ID program. Come for training, or come to test yourself in swimming and running time trials. Either way, make sure you in Guelph on the 25th to be part of the action.

Registration details and information below.

More info on the Tri This program.

Training Day registration.

Let's get rolling Ontario!

Oct 20, 2012


Posting this after the fact, due to the slow internet the last few days, but rest assured Jason saw this before he raced.

Oct 18, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, U23 Team Member Alexander Hinton:

Oct 16, 2012


Video #2:  Joanna Brown, U23.


Continuing with our tradition of videos for World Champs team members, we start the 2012 series with Domi Jamnicky:

Sep 4, 2012


Great news:


TORONTO—Weeks removed from the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, Triathlon Canada has made a critical move towards securing its return to the international podium with the hiring of Libby Burrell as its new high-performance director.

With rich experience deeply rooted in the sport – from coaching to sport science - Burrell joins Triathlon Canada in a role she is very familiar with; the South African successfully filled the same role for Triathlon South Africa and United States Triathlon before joining the International Triathlon Union as director, sport development in 2006.

More info here.

Jul 4, 2012


A few exciting things in the works for Triathlon in Ontario. We'll soon have a new part-time Provincial Development Coach, a position which has been vacant since we changed from the PTC to the RTC here in Guelph.

We're also going to bring back the junior provincial team. It will be a fairly simple process this year; new race suits for the podium finishers at Junior Provincials in Ottawa (ie. the top 3 male and female Ontario athletes). We'll work hard to have the suits sized and screened before Junior Nats in Kelowna, and screening will include club logos to ensure clubs/coaches are recognized.

Jun 12, 2012


Congrats to Simon, Kyle, Brent, Kathy and Paula, and also to those who chased the dream and did not make the team for this cycle; you can't achieve great things if you don't chase big goals. Onwards to London, let's go Canada!

Canadian Triathletes Nominated to 2012 Olympic Team Keep Sharp Eye on Ultimate Prize

June 12, 2012

Canadian Triathletes Nominated to 2012 Olympic Team Keep Sharp Eye on Ultimate Prize
—Triathlon Canada’s fab five combine veterans and youth poised to shock the world in London—
TORONTO—A group of five Canadian athletes are determined to deliver a knockout punch when they step into the Olympic triathlon ring for the 2012 Games in London, July 27-August 12.
Led by wily two-time Olympic medallist Simon Whitfield, Triathlon Canada selected five athletes that blend a potent mix of veteran leadership with youthful enthusiasm to the Canadian Olympic Team on Tuesday.

Three men and two women, including three athletes with Olympic experience and two making their Games debut, will wear the Canadian flag when they step into London’s Hyde Park for the triathlon events, August 4 (women) and August 7 (men).
“We have selected a unique group of experienced athletes who have demonstrated over the last Olympic quadrennial that Canada has the ability to contend with the world’s best athletes in the sport of triathlon,” said Alan Trivett, executive director, Triathlon Canada. “This group has endured significant highs and lows in their journey to qualify for London, but have not lost sight of our collective goal of seeing the Canadian flag raised above the triathlon podium.”

Full press release here.

May 23, 2012


Edit: Link to full job posting updated, it should be working now. Originally communicated May 14th; apologies for the delay in posting. Application deadline is May 28.

Full job posting here.

Apr 20, 2012


Passing along some information for interested triathletes:

Swim Clinic for Triathletes

When: Sunday May 6th 2012. 9 to noon.

Where: 350 Brant St., Brantford. W.R. MacDonald School pool.

How: Contact to reserve a spot with deposit

Goal: To give the committed triathlete a better technical understanding of how to swim more efficiently leading to an improvement in their swim time. The Swim Clinic will be led by Mike Finch, WRMS head coach who had four members attending the 2012 Olympic swim trials. The clinic will cover breathing/breath control, free style stroke technique, kicking, drills, open water techniques, how to train, and instruction other aspects of efficient swimming for multisport events. Included will be a video of your training.

Coaching ratio with assistants 4:1.

Limit: 20.

Requirement: Age 16 up and experience swimming in open water; Triathlon Ontario 2012 membership.

More information by Email. Sanctioned by Triathlon Ontario to the Hamilton Hammerheads.

Mar 30, 2012

Mar 28, 2012


In general terms, coaches/athletes have three options when it comes to training prescription:

A) Train to current fitness
B) Train to goal fitness
C) Mix of A & B

We make these decisions on a daily basis, although my observations lead me to believe that few people do it consciously, and fewer articulate these distinctions when talking about their approach to training.

The concepts are very simple, and relate first and foremost to the intensity of training. Without a doubt, training volume and the resulting training load (the product of volume and intensity) are also implicated, but I find that intensity (ie. pace, power, etc) is usually the primary variable being modified in this framework.

To "train to current fitness" simply means that training prescription is based on current fitness. The simplest example is an athlete who trains using RPE (rating of perceived exertion); a 60 min run done at a RPE of 7/10 will be done at a different pace in the winter than the summer, but will feel the same to the athlete. A more structured approach would use the data obtained from a recent time trial, race or test set to establish training intensity zones. There are several examples of this approach: Jon Urbanchek's color system in swimming, Dr. A. Coggan's power zones* in cycling, and Jack Daniels or Greg McMillan in running.

To "train to goal fitness" is to establish a goal pace (or power) for an event, and systemically train for longer durations (and/or with shorter rest) at that pace, as explained here by UK running coach Frank Horwill. I've seen several programs, across a broad spectrum of endurance sports, which follow this basic philosophy.

Both approaches have merits and weaknesses. In our program we employ both approaches (Option C) depending on the athlete and the time of year.

The point of this post however is not to argue for one approach over another, but rather to encourage athletes and coaches to identify for themselves what they are doing. Do you train to current fitness, or goal fitness? It's a simple question, but fundamental to the development and execution of a training plan.

*Dr. Coggan has clearly stated that the power zones are to be used descriptively, not prescriptively, but in my experience they are employed by coaches to both describe training and prescribe training.

Mar 11, 2012


Chrissie Wellington on developing mental toughness:
“But I think the key is that you have to practice this in training. You know, 30k into the marathon in an Ironman is too late to realize you don’t have the mental strength to continue the race.”
Interview starts at 45:00 here (click "listen now" to launch player).

It's not rocket science, folks. The focus, habits and tendencies you bring to training will be the same you bring to racing. No one flips a switch on race day and becomes something they aren't in training. Equally applicable to athletes & coaches.

Mar 6, 2012


In case you missed it, there's a great opportunity tonight in Guelph, free to any/all:

Science and the Running Machine: The Dog Days Are Over!

Presented by the Speed River T&F Club

Renowned sports science author and blogger Dr. Alex Hutchinson and National Team Physiotherapist Brenda Scott-Thomas, will make presentations on the latest sport sciences and applied methods on biomechanics, minimalist training, proper running form and injury prevention. This fun filled and informative evening is free of charge.

More info here

Mar 2, 2012


A little late to the party on posting this, but it's definitely worth watching a few more times. What an incredible sport. Further inspiration to get into those blue carpet races.

Feb 29, 2012


More on the 10,000 Hour Rule from Dr. Ross Tucker, who is the primary author of the Science of Sport blog, and sport physiologist from South Africa. Dr. Tucker recently took part in a BBC interview/debate with Dr. Anders Ericsson; co-author of The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance, which spawned the concept of the 10,000 hour rule. After the interview Dr. Tucker posted this note:
Just been involved in what was supposed to pass as debate on genes, talent, training & 10,000 hours with Anders Ericsson. Astonishingly, Ericsson, a psychologist, makes the claim that physiologists have never once found that physiological limitations exist in response to training, or that certain individuals have higher physiological ceilings than others. In other words, the psychologist is telling physiology that anybody can become an elite athlete (in any sport) if they just train. Unfortunately, the BBC didn't allow me to correct his little mistruth, so especially for Ericsson and the BBC, the links below sum up just a small percentage of the evidence that disputes the training theory, and shows that genes matter.
The full thread is worth a read, and can be found here.

Hopefully Dr. Tucker will post a link to the interview so we can hear it first hand. If Dr. Ericsson truly did make those claims, it would demonstrate a profound lack of knowledge regarding exercise physiology. However, it would be consistent with Ericsson's longstanding argument that talent doesn't exist, and that achieving expertise in any domain simply requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice.

Dr. Tucker is far more nuanced in his assessment of what makes an expert, saying it's a mix of talent and hard work. I think he's right, and Dr. Tucker has the research, and common sense, on his side. You can find his excellent two part series on the subject here: Part 1 and Part 2.

Feb 21, 2012


An exciting new development for Triathlon:

Attention: Assignment/News/Sports/Health/City/Photo Editors

WHAT:           Olympic Gold medallist, Simon Whitfield, and representatives from Triathlon Canada and Sports Focused Consulting, will be on hand to unveil details of this summer’s inaugural Toronto Triathlon Festival.
                        The Toronto Triathlon Festival, staged jointly by Triathlon Canada, the International Triathlon Union, Olympic Champion, Simon Whitfield, and Sports Focused Consulting, will create an unparalleled urban experience by offering  triathletes the first ever opportunity to compete in Toronto’s downtown core.

WHO :            Simon Whitfield, Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist, Triathlon
                        Alan Trivett, Executive Director, Triathlon Canada
Jeff Chong, President, Sports Focused Consulting
                  Interview and Photo opportunities available

WHEN:           Wednesday, February 22
10:00 a.m.
WHERE:          Dockside 6 Room
                        The Westin Harbour Castle
                        1 Harbour Square,
                        Toronto, Ontario

Media Contact:        Joyce Chiang, 416.426.7089,

Feb 15, 2012


A little less than two years ago, Jason Wilson (BAR) joined our squad. He's brought a lot of energy and leadership to our program, and has made good progress in his development as an elite triathlete. And in addition to Jason, we've developed close ties with the Barbados Federation of Island Triathletes (BFIT). It's a very small organization, but very passionate, agile and focussed. Barbados has two very promising young triathletes right now: Jason Wilson and Mathew Wright. And with the support and collaboration of PATCO, TriCan (via our RTC program), ITU Development, and other partners, these guys have a chance of making it on the world stage. We've learned a lot from each other in a short time, and had a lot of fun.

Last weekend, BFIT hosted their first ever ITU Bridgetown Continental Cup. From all accounts, it was a huge success, and while it may not have been as big as the ITU Geelong event on the same weekend, it attracted an international field with some solid credentials (4 Olympians, a former world champion, a PanAm Games medallist, etc). For many athletes in North America and Europe, it was a simple and direct flight to Barbados, and the island boasts every amenity you could want. Training and racing venues are safe & clean, and the people are among the friendliest you could hope to meet. Who could ask for more?

So hats off to BFIT, and special thanks to Peter Gibbs and Derek & Cathy Wilson (and Jason) for making this race a reality. It takes a lot of work to host a race, and I think we (the triathlon community) rarely give enough credit to race directors, who in my opinion have the hardest job in our sport. I'm hopeful that this race becomes a permanent fixture on the circuit, and I look forward to seeing the race in person, next year.

Feb 9, 2012


The selection criteria for the 2012 FISU (World University) Championships are now posted.

 Eligibility info here.

 Full info here.

 Application deadline Feb 29th, 2012.

Feb 8, 2012


We did it. Raised a million dollars in less than two weeks. Secured a lasting legacy for the future. By next fall, UofG will have new indoor and outdoor tracks. But most importantly, the endurance community is fired up, and we've taken another big step towards creating a stronger and deeper endurance culture here in Guelph.

John Marsden, chair of the Canadian Centre for Running Excellence in Guelph, sums it up perfectly:

“It’s just astounding,” (John) said Tuesday afternoon. “We had no idea we would make it happen. We told everyone we would, but we really had no idea.

“But the response from the community has been exhilarating and humbling. This is a running city, a generous city. It is a privilege to live here.”

A couple of articles here, and here.

A special thanks to the triathlon community here and abroad who came together and raised $50,000+ towards this project. Simply stunning. We raised enough to be a lane sponsor, which means the new track will have a lane emblazoned with "Guelph Triathlon" when it's built. How many tracks in the world have that sort of triathlon connection? I'm not sure - probably very few - but I do know that one of them will be right here on campus.

For anyone within driving distance of Guelph, come by the Albion Hotel tonight from 8-10pm for a celebration (2nd floor). If you donated, or even if you just love running, come on down, be part of the community, and enjoy the energy. There will be a souvenir for the first 300 people to arrive.

Feb 1, 2012


From Frank Christie at Triathlon Canada:

(NOTE: attachments not available in this blog post, please contact Frank Christie at the link above)

Dear Athletes and Coaches, Triathlon Canada is pleased to announce that we are currently accepting applications from athletes wishing to compete in the elite division at both the ITU Duathlon and ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championships.

Long Distance Triathlon World Championships - July 29th in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain.

Duathlon World Championships - September 22nd-23rd in Nancy, France.

Due to time constraints, athletes wishing to apply and be included in Triathlon Canada’s reservation block at the World Championships accommodations must fill out the attached application form and race resume and return to by Monday February 13th.

Athletes applying after this date, may not be able to be included in Triathlon Canada’s reservation block. We will still be accepting applications for the team until Sunday April 1st. However you may be responsible for finding your own accommodations at your race destination if our reservation block has been filled.

All athletes must be current members of a Provincial Triathlon Organization before applying. A maximum of 6 athletes per gender can be chosen for the team, however Triathlon Canada is under no obligation to fill all the quota spots. Athletes will be granted a spot on the team based on the strength of their application.

 Athletes will be responsible for all costs associated with the event, but will be eligible for a ‘Bonus Pool’ which rewards athletes based on their result in the World Championships race. Each discipline will have a separate bonus pool:

Bonus Pool:
Eligible athletes include all Canadians entered in the Elite Wave of the ITU World Championships Race

a. The bonus pool is to a maximum of $2,000 per year

b. Eligible athletes must finish within 5% of the World Champions time to qualify and must finish in the top 10 of their respective race.

c. Men and Women competing in the same discipline at the World Championships share the same Bonus Pool based on the closest performance (based on percentage) to the World Champion.
 i. $1,000 for the closest
 ii. $600 for the second closest
 iii. $400 for the third closest

Athletes whose applications are accepted will need to register as a team member on Triathlon Canada’s website. More information will be provided to you if your application is accepted. If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Frank Christie
Program Coordinator
Triathlon Canada
#106 - 3 Concorde Gate
Toronto, ON  M3C 3N7
Telephone: 416-426-7430
FAX: 416-426-7294


Edit: Recruitment poster added to bottom of post. Today's update from Saro: only 3 spots left, looking for "very well trained" cyclists.

A good friend of ours at the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario (CSCO), Saro Farra, is currently conducting his PhD research and looking for male subjects for a cycling study. This study is sponsored by the Faculty of Phys Ed at the University of Toronto, the CSCO, and the Ontario Cycling Association. The title of the study is "Rate of body heat storage vs. absolute temperature as modulators of perceived exertion in cycling performance." Saris is looking for healthy, fit, male cyclists between the ages of 18-40. Subjects will undergo three testing sessions at the CSCO labs (Don Mills & Eglinton, Toronto) over the course of a week, including VO2peak, anthropometry (height, weight, body fat) and two sub maximal tests. Subjects will receive a summary of their testing data, in addition to a small honorarium. For more info contact Saro Farra (saro.farra at

Saro testing Alexander Hinton circa 2008

Jan 27, 2012


A last minute plug for a great little event: The UofT Triathlon Club is hosting their annual Swim, Row & Go Triathlon this Sunday, Jan 29th. There are still a few spots left in the race. You could battle the windchill on your Sunday morning long run, or you could be at UofT, working up a sweat with a great group of triathletes in a warmer environment (and still do your long run later, if you're so inclined). 

This might be the only triathlon you do this year that doesn't require you to bring a bike. Just pack a backpack with swim gear, shoes, t-shirt and shorts, and take the subway to the St George station. Walk south on St George St., turn west on Harbord and you're there. More info available here.

Jan 25, 2012


That's the fundraising pitch for a new outdoor 8-lane track at UofGuelph. Dave Scott-Thomas and the Guelph Gryphons love to tackle big challenges and they've locked horns with a monster this time: to build a new, world-class 8-lane track. As with all things related to the Gryphons and Speed River programs, there is a lot of passion, commitment and hard work being dedicated to this right now. There is also some fantastic leadership driving this project, and a strong sense that this can happen. Great energy all around, and the RTC crew is brainstorming ideas to contribute. This is the same passion, energy and resolve that has resulted in a long record of excellence from Guelph runners; they will get this track built. Take five minutes to learn more about the Guelph Track Project and consider lending your support.

Jan 24, 2012


A great video from featuring the Gryphons/Speed River run program, and the 2011 CIS Cross Country Championships. Enjoy.

Jan 23, 2012


An interview with Brent McMahon and Kyle Jones, two hard working guys, aiming to put three men on the start line at the London Games. It's well worth a look. Watch the intro, and then the full interview at ~18:30. These guys are great role models, offering insight into what it takes to compete at the international level, and inspiring our next generation as they chase Olympic qualification.

Jan 17, 2012



Please see the link for the 2012 PATCO Junior Championships Team Selection criteria. PATCO Championships will once again be held in Edmonton, Alberta, July 7, 2012.


Edit: Links to updated TriCan Selection criteria can be found under "TriCan Selection Criteria" on the right hand side of this blog.

Jan 16, 2012


From Kristine Chambers & TriBC:

Hello all coaches,
Just a reminder that Bridging the Gap triathlon coaching conference is coming up in TWO weeks in Victoria, BC (Jan. 28-29).  This unique weekend is designed specifically for coaches working with youth and junior athletes (i.e. teenagers).  We have brief presentations followed by a lot of discussion and sharing.  The goal is to build our knowledge and experience as a team.

The THEME this year is “Life Balance and “New” Injury Prevention”.  We have some amazing and diverse experts attending to present on topics from motivation / sport psych for youth, holistic coaching, new research in youth sport injury prevention, lessons from neurology and learning…. And of course our coach-lead discussions which will focus around long term methods of increasing volume / intensity through the growth years, integrated training, and variations in periodizing the different sports within triathlon. 

It will be an action packed, fun-filled, “don’t want to miss” weekend – and best of all a chance to network and meet some new folks who you might bump into at those Jr Series races over the next few seasons. 

For more info, please contact  There are discounts available at the Howard Johnson hotel (2 min. walk to conference location at Commonwealth Pool / Place) and possible homestays if people wish. 

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