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, programs@triathloncanada.com

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 raceentries@triathloncanada.com 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 utoronto.ca).

Saro testing Alexander Hinton circa 2008

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