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.

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Swim and Run Camp December 16-17, 2017

On December 16-17th, I am hosting a swim and run camp in Victoria, BC.  You might be thinking: “Why the heck would I want to go train hard RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS?” or “I’m not interested in training before Christmas.”  Those are fair comments and I get that it is hard to do camps when racing is a LONG WAY AWAY but I am going to explain why I think this camp is valuable at this point in the year.

The Schedule

Swim run camp schedule
Schedule for December swim run camp

The Objective

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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:

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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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2016 RBC Granfondo Whistler Recap

RBC Granfondo Whistler event was last weekend.  This was my first experience racing the women’s 122km Giro racing event and it was amazing!

It has been a long time since I have pinned a number to my jersey rather than a race belt.
It has been a long time since I have pinned a number to my jersey rather than a race belt.

The RBC Whistler Granfondo is a 122 km ride from Stanley Park in Vancouver to Whistler Village.  The event started as a community ride and has evolved to include more than 4000 riders and include a sanctioned race with a cool $15,000 going to the men’s and women’s winners.  It is the race to do in September if you are a roadie.   I think it is also beneficial to do if you are a triathlete which is why I was there – lots of fitness to be gained from long road races!

The race winner was Alison Jackson, a member of Canada’s National Cycling Team headed to the World Championships in Qatar later this year. I ended up 11th after a 20 minute time trial effort to get away failed as I am not much of a sprinter.  That is 11th out of 15 in the front pack…LOL.  I even went into the penultimate corner in 3rd so I know where to be I just can’t do the sprinting.  It really isn’t useful in Ironman so I’m very rusty.

Thank you to TOIT Events, Inc. Neil McKinnon for the invite, St. Regis Hotel Vancouver for the amazing stay, and to RBC for sponsoring this amazing community event. Congratulations to Alison Jackson on the win! Thank you to the women’s field for making it a fun and challenging race… great to see Olympians in the field like Jasmin Glaesser and Katka Nash out there adding to a strong field! Thanks to my sponsors – I am almost ready to hit the start line for IRONMAN Augusta

Enjoy the show.


Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle

A Broken Ankle Doesn’t Have To Prevent Triathlon Improvements

My triathlon cross training the first three weeks after surgery.

Using hand cycling to crosstrain with a broken ankleCross training for triathlon with a broken ankle still includes plenty of options if swimming, biking and running are off limits.  I discovered there were ways to not only maintain fitness, but also improve, despite my current limitations in a “not weight-bearing” state.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment so, injured or healthy, you focus on doing everything that you can THAT DAY.

Training injured, in the strictest sense, is NO DIFFERENT than training while healthy.  A great training program focuses on all you can do at that moment to get better.

When I am healthy, if my legs are super tired from running, I might take a break and ride or swim.  If my shoulders are maxed out from a lot of swimming, I might run a bit more and focus strength work on lower body.  The key is to focus on what you CAN IMPROVE while your body is in repair mode or fatigued.  Even while in the critical stages after ORIF surgery, there were ways for me to train and allow my body to heal.

So what did I do when I got injured and was told not swim/bike/run AT ALL (even swimming *sigh) for the first three and a half weeks?   I focused on three areas where I could actively make improvement. Continue reading “Triathlon Cross Training With a Broken Ankle”

Shoulder Prehabilitation Strength Exercises For Triathlon

 I wrote this article for

‘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.
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Indoor Triathlon Sessions To Practice Raceday Nutrition

Practicing Hydration and Nutrition During Indoor sessions – an article which was featured at

Practicing race nutrition during indoor training sessions

Indoor training sessions designed to practice race-day triathlon nutrition are a great way to help athletes prepare to execute their plan in races – but in easier, more controlled conditions.  The objective of these sessions is to get training benefit from appropriate pacing and to nail your race day hydration and fueling strategy.  Although indoor training is missing some of the elements (literally) encountered in outdoor training, there is a lot of valuable information to be gained indoors where the variables are easier to control.

Lab-monitored “sweat tests” are available that can help you determine how much sweat you lose at effort and what the composition of your sweat is.  A lab test is the most scientific version of the generalized effort I am going to outline.  Knowing the exact composition of your sweat under the lab conditions may be useful but nothing is as valuable as practicing with numerous sessions under a variety of conditions to help gain knowledge on what works best for you.  These tips will be a good starting point to gather information on your own body.

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A Core Activation Exercise Series for Before Training

A Video To Demonstrate a Pre Training Core Activation Routine

This video will show you the exercises that I use to activate and prepare my core muscles for training. Without adequate warmup and activation of the core, your biomechanics will not be optimized in training.

This routine does not take a lot of time so it is very easy for me to do it frequently. This is the first thing I do every morning. I implemented this routine when I was suffering from a hip injury and since then I have had not issues with my hip or low back. However, if I don’t do the routine I am aware that my range of motion through the hips for swimming and running is not as good.

This short, simple set of exercises is EFFECTIVE.

You can do this routine in less than five minutes on the pool deck before swimming so try it at your next training session. You may find that even these simple exercises are somewhat difficult which would indicate your neuromuscular recruitment needs work. Over time you will feel stronger and you will experience better results from training – particularly early morning training. Let me know what you think!