2018 Bear Mountain Canada Cup

I kicked off 2018 by jumping into the elite race at the Bear Mountain Canada Cup on Saturday.  It was a lot of fun for every minute of racing I had.

I was happy to see my old pals from mountain biking out racing at Bear Mountain Canada Cup either in the elite or masters category. Catherine Pendrel absolutely demolished the field so it is great to see her not slowing down one bit.  Kate Button is working her way through the pro xc field after deciding a few weeks ago to really focus on her cycling and put the triathlon on the backburner.  I am stoked to help her in her goal to race World Cups.

All smiles before kicking off the 2018 Canada Cup Elite National mountainbike scene. I decided to use my face as back up brakes (I’m fine) so my day ended a bit early. Buttons had a much better day 👍🏻Fun fact-I watched @cpendrel sign autographs for little kids until seconds before the race call up before beginning a clinic called: “How to crush singletrack like a boss and rip everyone’s legs off”. Lots of inspiration getting sprinkled around with that kind of awesomeness. Very impressive Catherine🙌🏻 So proud of my #melrad triathlon crew getting out of their comfort zones. Great first mountainbike race ever for @kablewie73! Thanks to the organizers of the @westinbearmountainresort Canada cup and to all the volunteers. Super fun to jump back into the mtb scene today, get 35’ of hard exercising, and get my obligatory crash ( all of us must crash every so often) outta the way😉

A post shared by Melanie MCQUAID (@racergirlmel) on

It was a pleasure working with a large group of the juniors and under 17s from all over Canada while coaching the Cycling Canada junior camp.  Seeing them put it all together to have great races on Saturday is amazing.   The future is bright in this sport.  Thanks to Ian Hughes for some coaching mentorship this week – the experience was invaluable.

Unfortunately, I only finished just under half the laps I was planning to race on Saturday….. Continue reading “2018 Bear Mountain Canada Cup”

Off-road Triathlon Technical Skills

Off-road Triathlon Technical Skills

(Previously published in the print edition of  Triathlon Magazine Canada)

Working on technical skills is important if mixing some off road triathlon in an otherwise paved season is in your race plans  Off road racing technical skills are important as the course is a challenge in itself.  Once you have the technical skills in place you can then plan your strategy to best the competition.

mountain bike penticton three blind mice trails
The trails were technical and fun at ITU Cross Triathlon Worlds.

Continue reading “Off-road Triathlon Technical Skills”

2017 ITU Long Course World Championship

ITU Long Course World Championship

With the excitement of winning the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship fueling my excitement to hit a start line again, I was pretty oblivious to some signs from my body leading up to (and in the days following) ITU Multisport Long Course World Championship.  I managed to completely ignore that I had shingles.  Cue the geriatric jokes right now that will go nicely with all of my talk about racing after 40.  LOL.  Sigh.

swim leg itu multisport world Championship
Photo credit Kevin Mackinnon

Continue reading “2017 ITU Long Course World Championship”

Plyometrics for triathlon training

Plyometrics for triathlon training

Whether you race cross triathlon or Ironman, you should be using plyometrics for triathlon training.  A beginner to advanced triathlon training program should include some plyometrics to improve form, economy, and durability, and a functional strength program.

Plyometrics for triathlon training benefits include:

  • Greater durability/injury resistance
  • Eccentric overloading helps with downhill running and agility
  • Improves speed without training sprint work
  • Improves running form and economy (decreases ground contact time)

How plyometrics are beneficial

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How To Use Swim Cords To Get More Out Of Your Swim Training

I made the following video describing how to incorporate stretch cords into your swim routine.  Many professional triathletes use swim cords as part of their warm up on race day.  This is only one of three ways the cords are beneficial and I outline in the video below how to use swim cords for triathlon training.

use swim cords for triathlon training
Swim cords (or stretch cords) are an effective way to get a good dryland swim specific warmup, improve technique, and build power/strength.

How to use swim cords in your triathlon training:

Continue reading “How To Use Swim Cords To Get More Out Of Your Swim Training”

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin

I did a lot of lap swimming in Austin before the Ironman event in October 2016.  After visiting a variety of pools in the city I’ve written a tourist guide for other swimmers and triathletes who find themselves in Austin wanting to know where to swim at the best lap swimming pools in Austin. This is not an exhaustive list but does include some of the highest rated options.

The following list of pools to go lap swim in Austin includes my thoughts on the pros and cons as well as the workout I did when I was there. Continue reading “Best Lap Swimming Pools in Austin”

How to choose a triathlon coach

Choosing a triathlon coach

Choosing a triathlon coach is a process similar to a job interview. Finding the right triathlon coach is an important first step in working toward your goals.  If an athlete and a coach are well matched, it is certain that athlete can go on to reach potential.  However, even the greatest athletes and coaches can be mismatched and find their results together aren’t optimal. Knowing what you should ask potential coaches will help you find the right fit.

my mentor houshang amiri
I have learned a lot about coaching and training from Houshang Amiri, a brilliant cycling coach based in Victoria, BC and owner of Pacific Cycling Center.

Questions to ask when looking for a triathlon coach

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The 12 Weeks Broken Ankle Recovery Video Update

The 12 Week Broken Ankle Recovery Update

It has been 12 weeks to the day since I had my bike accident and broke my ankle.  In this 12 week video update, I share a bit about the people that have helped me get back to speed so quickly and kept my attitude in check.  Staying positive and engaged in the process of recovery has been the key to getting back in shape quickly.

don't give up
Simple.

This injury has helped redefine and motivate my desire to race.  I feel like I am among a new generation of athletes who continue to race into their 40s and remain competitive as elites.  This isn’t “normal” and there is certainly some resistance to this notion.  Although I am more of an outlier at the moment, I don’t think this will always be the case.

I am thankful to have great sponsors and supporters who believe that fast after 40 means REALLY FAST.  I love the idea of helping to define what that is and work hard to set the bar as high as possible.  I look to my contemporaries, athletes like Jo Pavey and Gunn-Rita Dahle, who are competing as top level elites in their sports (running and mountain biking) to help me decide what level I plan to compete at.  The top level.

I am still looking at Kona in 2017.

Looking forward to setting some new benchmarks this season.

Thanks for following along.

xoxo  Melanie ???

 

 

Comparing Road Triathlon to Off Road Triathlon Gear

Triathlon Gear List: Off Road vs On Road

What gear do I need to race off road triathlon?

 

In this article I compare road triathlon to off-road triathlon gear.  Athletes trying off-road triathlon (or ‘cross triathlon’ as the discipline is now defined) for the first time often find they need some new gear to start competing.

This is the typical pre-race gear organization photo for an Ironman event:

Here I am with my stuff before the World Champs in Maui:

Melanie McQuaid compares road triathlon with offroad triathlon equipment XTERRA Maui 2014
This is me with all of my pre race gear before XTERRA Maui 2014

You can see that racing an Ironman road event and racing an XTERRA off-road event requires very different gear.  I made this list so athletes coming from any distance of road triathlon can figure out what they need to get to start racing in the dirt.  Continue reading “Comparing Road Triathlon to Off Road Triathlon Gear”

Shoulder Prehabilitation Strength Exercises For Triathlon

 I wrote this article for www.triathlonmagazine.ca

‘Shoulder prehabilitation’ means strengthening the shoulder’s resistance to injury – thus PRE-rehabilitation.  These shoulder strength exercises prepare the shoulder muscles that are the most vulnpool swimming with paddles trainingerable to injury from everyday swimming repetitive movement.  Strengthening these muscles improves your posture and body alignment.  For swimmers, and triathletes by extension, the most common injuries occur in shoulder rotators so these are the muscles we are focused on.
Continue reading “Shoulder Prehabilitation Strength Exercises For Triathlon”