Thursday, 31 January 2013

Base Training Indoors - it doesn't need to be junk!!

Before coming to Canada I was fairly adamant I was going to remain a hardy Scot (albeit an English interloper) and train outside as much as possible through the winter. For all the Canadians reading this - all the guys from the Scottish division of Athelite still ride outside virtually every Saturday come hell or high water, blizzards, driving rain, sheet ice, gale force winds and even the occasional day when the sun comes out and everyone burns.

Here in Canada though everyone knuckles down on their trainers in their basements or groups together in huge sweaty spin classes. We quickly realized that there is often no choice but to go down this route - whilst it hardly ever rains here last week was down near -20 all week and there is no way anyone is going on the bike in that.

This year we are training in 3 week blocks (2 weeks hard, 1 week easy). Last week I had quite a big mix of volume & intensity but this week is more of an endurance week. If, like us, you are training for an Ironman this year then you are probably in your base period right now and that means endurance. This week we have to spend a lot of time on the turbo trainers indoors. This can be mind numbing but just because your schedule says Zone 2, in doesn't mean you have to just trudge away in the small chain ring watching the Coronation Street Omnibus.

As an example here is the 2 hour Endurance set that we did yesterday;

3 x 40 minutes as;

10 mins warm up
9 mins Single leg drill (1 min left, 1 min right, 1 min spin) x 3
4 mins 90 cadence
1 min spin
3 mins 100 cadence (choose gear to keep you in zone 2)
1 min spin
2 mins 110 cadence (as above)
4 mins spin
6 mins Alternate 1 min standing (big gear, low cadence) 1 min spin x 3

Repeat 2 times.

If you choose the right gearing you can do all of this at a sensible heart rate, the session has structure and time will fly by.

I am generally a big advocate of intensity training but if you do it properly & honestly then you simply cannot do it every time. especially if you have to add in Swimming, Running, Gym & Core into the mix and then go to work & deal with the rest of your life.

Happy Base Training everyone!!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Personal Stress Test

Here is a little test for you. The following statements determine your happiness level, how you handle stress and if you have negative thinking. See which statements apply to you and total up the bracketed points. See below for what this might mean.

I am worried about paying my bills this month (2)
I look at myself in the mirror & think negative thoughts (3)
I am not content with my body (3)
I am lonely (3)
I dislike my job (3)
I like my job but have too much work to do (2)
I like my job but my boss is too demanding (2)
I am always trying to please everyone (3)
I am exhausted but keep going (3)
Sometimes my stomach feels like it has butterflies(1)
I shop to make myself feel better (1)
I have feelings of guilt or anger (2)
I have feelings of inadequacy (3)
I am afraid of failure (2)
I have feelings of anxiety or low moods (2)
I feel trapped & can't cope sometimes (3)
I crave sugar (1)
I am a single mother (2)
I am a university student (1)
I am in an unhappy marriage (3)
I live with an alcoholic or drug user (2)
I work shift work (1)
I work too much & don't have enough play time (2)
I get angry with myself (2)
I hold resentment towards my partner (3)
I do not eat regularly (more than 4 or 5 hours between meals) (3)
I am sick more than 3 times a year (3)
I lack sexual drive (2)
I smoke (3)
I drink alcohol more than twice a week (3)
I drink too much caffeine (2)
My friends & family are not supportive of me (2)
I am tired all the time (3)
I have friends who take but never give (3)

If you scored 15 or less then you are handling the stress in your life but need to continue to work on managing the balance in your life.

If you scored 16 - 30 you know you have to make some changes, and fast. You are at risk of adrenal fatigue or exhaustion. 

If you scored over 30 you are over the top & need to adopt strategies to reduce your risk of stress related problems immediately.

I have completed this test for how I felt a year ago and how I feel now. We have made A LOT of big changes over this period and will continue to do so. Last year I was off  the scale, now I score 15. That is a significant life changing difference. 

Think about what you can do to change things. Ditch the negative thinking, restrict your alcohol/caffeine intake, plan time for fun, filter out the people who drain you and focus on the ones that you care about. If you hate your job/boss then look for a new one, watch less TV & go to bed earlier.
Make one change a week however small. You only get one go at this life so there is nothing to lose here!!
  *Original Stress Test by Lorna R. Vanderhaeghe, MS & Alvin Pettle, MD

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Retul Bike Fitting, Aurora - Special Offer

There are still a few days left of our Special Offer on Retul 3D Motion Capture Bike Fitting. All our Retul Fits are currently 15% OFF if booked & paid for by the end of January. You can book the fit in February, as long as you buy in January.

Whether you are an Elite athlete or a recreational cyclist, a proper bike fit is essential for injury prevention and maximised efficiency. An optimal position on the bike will allow for greater comfort and enjoyment while riding. All bodies are different and your position on the bike should reflect your bio-mechanics, which is why we carry out a bio-mechanical assessment prior to any fit.

A proper bike fit will not only provide a rider with the most economic means of expending energy, but will also prevent pain that is common in the knee, hip, and lower back, particularly with riders who are trying to adapt their bodies to the bike they already have purchased.

The best way to analyse a rider's efficiency is to observe and measure the rider while he or she is pedalling the bike. Attempts to analyze the rider in a static position, or only in two dimensions, will not provide data at the same level of accuracy as 3D motion capture. 
Retül technology is designed to provide qualified bike fitters highly accurate and comprehensive bike fit data. Incorporating 3D measurement, immediate report capability, and a millimetre-specific digitising tool to provide the most accurate dynamic fitting solution in the industry.

If you are interested is booking a fit please either email us at  or buy online at

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Athelite Mid Week Spinning Classes, Aurora

Tired of slogging away by yourself through the week in your basement or garage?

Bored of the same old sessions week in week out?

Feel the need to have two energetic Scottish women shouting at you?

We have the solution!! Mid week Spin Classes; 90 minutes of progressive fun & excitement twice a week from February until you can bare to ride outdoors. Led by very Experienced & Qualified Athletes & Coaches

We genuinely welcome ANYONE of ANY ABILITY, even if you have never done it before – we tell you what to do but you work at your own level.

What do you need?
1. Your own bike & trainer. 
2. A towel or mat to catch the drips. 
3. Fluids to replace the drips. 
4. Heart Rate Monitor if you have one, not essential.

Go on – GIVE IT A TRY!!!!

 Tuesdays and Thursdays 

6.45pm – 8.15pm 

Starts - Tuesday 5th Feb for 8 weeks  
Venue - Bayview Physiotherapy Clinic  244 Wellington St. East

Paolina Allan (Professional Triathlete) & 
Genevieve Freeman (Certified Trainer/Coach Level 3) 
Come along with your bike and trainer. All abilities welcome
$25 per class or 
$175 for 8 (1 class a week) or 
$350 for 16 (2 classes a week)                 905-392-7763

Friday, 18 January 2013

D'Ornellas Bike Shop Toronto - Ladies Night.

Calling all Lady Cyclists & Triathletes in the GTA!!

D'Ornellas Bike Shop in Toronto are holding a Ladies Night on Feb 11th. Special Prices & Guest Speakers including a certain Genevieve Freeman from Athelite.

There will be short presentations on the Benefits of being Active & Healthy, Work/Life Balance and Nutrition & Strength Training. You will also get to meet the guys from Specialized Bikes, Athelite Coaching & even refine your tire changing skills. All that plus you get to go shopping & get fed & watered!!

Hopefully see you there.


More info available HERE

Run Forrest, Run!!

We started this morning by going to the pool for Paolinas Birthday Swim (43 x 100's!!). Fortunately my strapped up wrist prevented me from taking part in this crazy session but well done to the crowd who completed it. I did manage the cup cakes and coffee afterwards without too much problem though so all was not lost. We met some new fun folk too so a good morning.

From Starbucks we then ran for an hour all the way home. A beautiful day today - sun shining, clear blue skies and a scattering of new snow but boy is it cold out there today!! About minus 10 degrees but add in the chill of a head wind and I felt like I had my head in a freezer. Eventually we changed direction though and it warmed up and we could start shedding a few layers.

Today was one of those runs where we both felt great - running at a good pace, light on the feet, heart rate in the right place. I am always amazed how you can go out running one day and feel tight, heavy legged & sluggish, then go out the next day and feel light on your feet and effortless without having knowingly done anything different in preparation. I can never predict how I am going to feel until I leave the front door but, as Forrest Gump so wisely said - life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Staying focused

Today started with a tough cadence & gearing session on the bike. I was on the rollers and all was going well until 55 minutes into the set when my mind drifted elsewhere onto other matters & I lost focus. 

The great thing about riding the rollers is that you have to really concentrate & this makes the session go faster. The down side is that if you forget to concentrate then things can go wrong, and they did. One minute I was pedaling hard & the next I was crashing off the side of the rollers into Genevieve & onto the floor. Fortunately she was locked into the turbo trainer otherwise we would both have gone down. 

Result; Bruised ankle, bruised hip & left wrist is now strapped up & there will be no swimming or gym work for the next few days. The good thing about Triathlon training is that there are plenty of other things that I can do. 

Not the end of the world by any means, but the message here is... 

Keep your mind on what is important and don't worry about everything else!!

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

12 Weird Ingredients You Didn't Know Were In Your Food

I was reading some Facebook comments from the UK this morning about some Supermarket Burgers being taken off the shelves due to the high HORSE MEAT content!! Pretty gross.

One of the articles took me to the link below about 12 other Gross Ingredients in Food.
It makes for scary reading - I think we personally knew about many of them but some of the others are a little concerning.

As the article says; ''From an amino acid found in human hair in bread to wax from sheep's wool in chewing gum, the selection below might be enough to turn your stomach. You've been warned''

It is a good reminder to eat as close to the source and  as cleanly as possible.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Work, Rest & Play.

A crazy few days for us here - some of it work related & some good training hours too.

No time for training over the weekend - we were busy on Saturday with Retul Bike Fits & on Sunday we were running our Swim Clinics all day. The Sunday morning session is a 1 hour Stroke Correction Clinic and the Sunday afternoon session is a Video Swim Analysis Clinic. Both very effective and hugely valuable sessions. Contact us at or go to if you are interested in these sessions, either for this weekend or in the future.

On a personal level we are now well into our training for our 2013 events, the main one being Ironman Mont Tremblant in August. This is the final week of our Preparation phase. This morning we knocked out a tough high cadence & tabata spin session first thing. After that we rode to the pool for a 45 minute technique focused swim, rode to Tim Hortons for coffee, rode to the Gym for a 1 hour weights session then rode to work where I promptly had to lay down for 20 minutes to pull myself back together!

I am loving the structure of being on a training plan again. No long sessions yet but I am really noticing the difference already of just training consistently again. I'm also remembering how I can clear out a fridge full of food in 2 days if I'm not careful!!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Swim Clinics on this Sunday 13th January

We are running our first Freestyle Swim Stroke Correction Clinic this Sunday 13th at 11.00am and a Video Swim Analysis Clinic on Sunday afternoon at 1.00pm. 

All welcome - let us know if you are interested in joining in.

On tour in Aurora

We have been doing a tour of Auroras finest training venues in the last few days. Saturday saw us riding our legs off for 2 hours at the 8.00am spin class in an unassuming church hall in Kettleby. A great session with nearly 30 riders and highly recommended. We followed up with a caffeine refueling session and chat at Second Cup with a few guys afterwards. Nice to meet a few more new faces. The post session reminded me of when we had our Triathlon Store in Scotland. We always regrouped for coffee & biscuits after the rides and it got to a point where people would turn up for the refreshments even if they hadn't done the session! (You know who you are!!)

With slightly tired legs we then headed out at 7.45am the next morning for a long Sunday run with the group who head out from Edward Street. A great turn out again and nice to run out in the country on the relatively traffic free roads in the snow. We ran about 16km at a pretty good pace and finished off with coffee and a catch up. Again.

Monday saw us swimming up at the Stronach Pool before some bike roller action in the garage then after Tuesdays swim we ventured out for a Strength and Conditioning Session with Paolina at the Aurora Gym. I can safely say I have never completed so many exercises in an hour and a half and we were all pretty whacked afterwards but a great workout and surprisingly we are not in too much pain today and still managed a bike (outdoors!!) and short tempo run.

All good fun but on my recovery week I think I'll need a caffeine detox too!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Stay out of the 'Gray Zone'....

.... and I don't mean the Bingo Hall.

I am seeing many posts from Facebook friends at the moment who are starting out on their 2013 Ironman journeys. Many of them are struggling with the pace of their longer training runs and wondering if it is right that they are to complete these at such a low pace/heart rate.

One of the biggest problems that we see with many Triathletes is that they are lingering around the 'Gray Zone', otherwise known as Zone 3, way too much.

I was reading a good article recently about the magic of training in Zone 2 (of the mostly commonly used five-zone heart rate training system). Zone 2 is the extensive endurance aerobic training zone and sits below the Zone 3 'Gray Zone'. Zone 3 training is too low to improve speed, or work on your anaerobic system and too high to have any effective impact on training your aerobic system.

Obviously the key to using a heart rate monitor is determining your training zones. Doing this by using the formula 220 minus your age is about as good as making it up. Completing a realistic Maximum Heart Rate Test is unachievable for most people so the best way of working out your zones is by finding your lactate threshold heart rate. Carry out initial & regular threshold tests to zone in on this number and you can then work out your other zones from there.

Most athletes complete their hard sessions too easy, and their easy sessions too hard, resulting in all their sessions overlapping into Zone 3. 

Stay in the right training zones. Stay out of the Gray Zone and string a few good weeks together & you will see the improvements.

Friday, 4 January 2013

January Promotion on Retul Bike Fitting, Aurora.

We are currently offering a massive 15% DISCOUNT all Retul Bike Fits booked in January.

Email us for an appointment on or have a look at the website HERE for more details.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Video Swim Analysis Clinics – January 2013

Happy New Year Everyone!!!  I hope you all had a great party night, though I wish I would learn that I do not have the same capacity as I did when I was 20!!

Now that 2013 is upon us it is time to step it up a bit. Personally we have had a good break over the holiday period to recharge the batteries and we now move into a new training phase. 
This is however still the time to be working on the technical aspects of your training and following on from the success of our Swim Video Analysis Clinics in December the new January ones are almost upon us.

Sessions last for 2 hours and we only take small groups of people to keep it personal. The sessions include Video Capture from above and below the water, in depth pool side review, a stroke correction drills session back in the pool. You will also receive a copy of your video footage plus a follow up email containing all the recommended drills for your particular needs.

We have 3 dates in January (13th, 20th & 27th – all Sunday afternoons). Please either email us at or sign up on the website at 

You will also see on the website that we are offering  a series of ‘Stroke Correction Clinics’ every Sunday morning. These 1 hour clinics are small squad sessions and are open to anybody.
They are a Coached Pool based Practical Drill and Swim Session focusing on Stroke Efficiency, Propulsion and Body Position. Great sessions on their own or for best results use in conjunction with our Video Swim Analysis Clinic. Please book or email us as above.

We have received nothing but great feedback from our previous Video Analysis Clinics, some of which you can read below;

‘Thanks for the feedback.  I enjoyed the session and will definitely recommend it to others’

‘The video was a real eye opener’

‘Awesome session - Thanks so much for all of the feedback and pointers.  Certainly valuable and informative!’

‘It was great and I got a lot out of it and was much happier with the result than I thought I would be.’

‘The video footage and playback was incredible. Colin really knows his stuff and spotted flaws in my stroke that no one else has picked upon, even after years of swimming. The follow up information is also very useful as there is so much information to take in on the day’