Serena – 12th Overall, 4th Female Overall & 4th in F19-
Mark – 3rd Overall & 2nd in M19- Age Category

Lionel Sanders shared in a recent video interview pre-Tremblant 70.3 that he has raced on the course so many times that he feels an advantage as a result. With Triathlon Provincials to be held in Welland, this weekend of Multisport triathlon events in the Rose City offered athletes the opportunity to gain their own advantage:

  • Minimizing the number of “new” experiences on race day is important to reducing the number of variables that an athlete has to manage when race day comes around. These experiences can range from sighting challenges in the swim, to obstacles (e.g. train tracks) or road conditions on the bike course, to knowing the run course for proper pacing and the final kick.
  • A trial run is like a dress rehearsal: the opportunity to run through all aspects of performance to ensure that when required they can produce on demand. If Broadway productions have dress rehearsal after dress rehearsal to ensure that opening night is a smash success, there is no reason why athletes should not approach racing at specific venues in a similar manner. A prepared athlete has to exert less energy to execute their race day strategy, thus leaving capacity within themselves to compete at a higher level.
  • There are always “new” variables on race day that no one plans on. By creating ‘slack’ in your system by minimizing new experiences on race day the athlete is freer – physically, mentally, and emotionally – to deal with race day surprises. Pre-race surprises of weather delays or mechanical issues or those that occur during the race (e.g. drafting or dismount penalty) can be more easily dealt with when there is a overall sense of confidence as a result of already running through specific scenarios and problem solving them ahead of time.
  • A trial run – well ahead of an ‘A’ race – provides the athlete, and their coach sufficient time to identify and train out weaknesses.  As a result of capturing video of both performances, we were able to identify key issues both kids can work on to improve. For example, Serena identified that she sighted far too often in the initial leg of the swim realizing that it fatigued her; Mark learned a valuable lesson as to where you need to dismount your bike so as not to be serve a time penalty (you can see his lesson in his video). Learning these lesson ahead of time sets athletes to win when performance is desired.
  • A trial run also provides an opportunity to identify strengths to build the athletes confidence. Reviewing split times, execution of sport specific technique, and transition technique can reveal aspects of an athletes performance which have improved, ingraining further into the athlete that consistent training does indeed produce results.

If you seek to deliver your potential, then your training needs to focus on your ability to execute sport specific skills on demand.  Swimming, biking, and running at specific speeds is great, but these are byproducts of athletes having trained the fundamental skills of each sport over and over and over, for years. Start right in your training and you will end up right where you want to be. Starting at the end with speed work, power sessions, and HiiT, and then trying to work backwards in your training to the basics… that doesn’t lead to any sort of consistent progress, it only yields injury, illness, frustration and disappointment.

Think about it… kids do not have the hormones, the muscle mass, the aggression that adults have, yet they can outperform adults. How? Kids focus on moving easily, quickly, with agility, with balance, with well coordinated movement (i.e. the ABCs), and as a result of simply repeating basic biomechanical principles, they out-swim, out-bike, and out-run adults who are decked out in full aero-carbon fiber TT gear.

Just ask Serena: after the race, Serena shared that out on the bike course an adult with all the aerodynamic paraphernalia possible (i.e. aero bars & bike frame, rims, and helmet) got angry that he was unable to overtake her… a little girl without aero bars, no aero rims, no aero helmet! Way to go Serena.. school those adults!

Best of all, Serena came out of T2 to start on the run exclaiming: “I can’t stop smiling!

What higher level of self expression could you ask for, from an athlete, especially from a child?  Smiling, having fun in the midst of competing, not feeling any pressure to be anything other than herself! What a demonstration of joy and peace! Serena had fun because she competed only against herself, respected the work she put in, respected that there is more work to be put in, and respected the work everyone else has done. Let a kid be a kid and they will amaze you with what they achieve.

Adults can take a lesson from kids: be a bit more kid-like, a little less serious and stuck up like an adult and life eases up to the point that it becomes fun.

The weekend continued to get better and better: TOEST athlete Andres took on not one, but two challenges: he led off his family relay team in the Welland Super Sprint triathlon on Saturday swimming 400m, and then on Sunday at the EOMAC (Etobicoke Masters) 2017 Worlds Long Course Warm Up swim meet he swam the 50FR both in the individual event and as the lead off leg in the TOEST 200 (4×50 FR) mixed relay.

And to think… Andres didn’t even want to learn to swim, let alone compete. Thanks to his wife Patricia, he gave swimming a go (starting just this past season) and look at the outcome! Amazing things happen when a family unites, spouses support one another, encourage one another, train together and compete together… as relay team members or as individuals.

Congratulations Andres

BTW… cannot forget to recognize Patricia who rode the bike portion of the Welland Super Sprint triathlon which is an outstanding achievement on its own, as biking is as new to Patricia as swimming is to Andres.  Congratulations Patricia and to your entire family for a superb performance!

Although we do not have any pictures of Rob, TOEST swimmer Rob Loney also competed this weekend in Welland in just his second triathlon, and his first Sprint distance triathlon. Rob comes from a running background having run Around the Bay on several occasions along with numerous other road races, but to conquer the challenge of a triathlon he had to learn how to swim. To go from Learn2Swim to not just open water swimming, but open water swimming in a triathlon in less than a year is quite the achievement.

Awesome work Rob!

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With our kids – Mark & Serena – competing individually in the Super Sprint Triathlon later in the morning, us parents had to figure out how to occupy ourselves.  We figured… why not try something new!  TOEST & TOETT athletes hear it all the time from me, and what would it say if coach didn’t walk his own talk?

A relay would offer us a new way to compete, and since neither of us have ever done a triathlon relay… why not.  Aimee biked, I swam and ran.

At the time, it just was a fun idea, but racing a triathlon in a relay team offered insights into training and racing I never expected.  The result, not only did we have a great time, but racing was interactive with our kids as one of us was always around in transition. Racing in a relay also offers options that wouldn’t necessarily be considered otherwise: with a break after the swim… all of a sudden I was able to focus on the swim as a standalone open water event. For Aimee having only the bike portion, she was able to test herself without fear of having to pay the piper out on the run. Warmed up with a swim, I was able to head back into competition out on the run course and it was a blast! And what a different experience to feel fresh so deep into a race, what a completely different perspective on the run portion of a triathlon.

Long story short, if you haven’t tried racing a triathlon in a relay, either as a 2 person or in a team of 3, I cannot encourage it enough. Any TOEST or TOETT athlete interested in a relay and in need of teammates? No worries, Aimee or I would be happy to be your teammates.  Contact us and we will work it out.