Thursday, 28 February 2013

Morning Warnings

If you are training for an important event or are trying to stick rigidly to a training plan then it is often far too easy to keep stubbornly trudging along even if you are worn out and tired. Sometimes it is necessary to train slightly fatigued especially if you are coming to the end of a training block and approaching a recovery week. 
This is just part of the overloading process that leads to the adaptation phase after which your base level of fitness should hopefully have  gone up a notch.
What you do need to do though is listen to your body and keep an eye out for signs of over-training. This is best done in the morning. As Joe Friel puts it in his Cyclists Training Bible - you have to listen to your 'Morning Warnings'. ''Every morning on waking your body 'whispers' what it can handle that day. The problem is, most of us refuse to listen''.

Keep a pad by the bed and in the morning think about your;

1. Sleep Quality
2. Fatigue
3. Stress Level
4. Muscle Soreness
5. Heart Rate

For the first 4 rate yourself  honestly from 1 to 7 with 7 being the worst. Also record your resting heart rate whilst still lying quietly in bed. Compare this to your known normal resting heart rate (your average morning heart rate taken during your recovery week)

If you score 5, 6 or 7 for the first 4 indicators or your heart rate is +/- 5 beats from your normal resting heart rate then consider it a warning that something is wrong.

A couple of 5's might simply mean you need to reduce the intensity or distance today but a couple of 6's probably means that you need a complete day of rest.  

You are best not ignoring these warnings as eventually your body will become fed up with you not listening and give you a cold or an injury instead, which is going to result in a lot more than 1 day off in the long term!

If you have training diary then enter these morning tests on it. You might find that you have a pattern forming that you can preempt in advance or discuss with your coach.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Significant results in the water!!

Yesterday saw the last session of our current 6 week block of Swim Stroke Correction Clinics. We are so impressed by the changes to all of the athletes who attended this course. Throughout our Coached structured weekly drills and swim sets we have seen our  swimmers undergo some serious transformations.

Whatever their starting point, everyone developed their Breathing, Rotation, Hand Entry, Catch & Pull Through, Body Position, Push Phase, Recovery Phase and Kick and therefore their propulsion & efficiency.

We had swimmers who managed to get their time per hundred meters down from 1.40 to 1.22.

We worked on everyone's Stroke Rate with the biggest change being an adjustment over the 6 weeks from 45 strokes per minute to 71. This is a dramatic change and one that has very positively affected their propulsion, efficiency & swim speed.

We have been working on another clients CSS (Critical Swim Speed, or Threshold Pace) over the last 4 weeks with fantastic results. Everyone should know their CSS pace and complete one CSS set a week. After 4 weeks of focusing on this important and usually neglected training zone this swimmer got a Personal Best in both time trial tests on the last day of the course. They subsequently moved their CSS pace from 1.37 to 1.33 in 1 month. This is a Great result.

So next week we move onto our ALL NEW ATHELITE SQUAD SWIM SESSIONS. 

See the previous Blog posting about this and to see more details and to book on go to .....

Thursday, 21 February 2013

NEW Athelite Sunday Squad Swims, Aurora, Canada

This Sunday 24th February is the last of our 6 week block of Swim Stroke Correction Clinics. We have seen some fantastic improvements in everyone on the clinic as we have focused on a different aspect each week. The focus areas included;

Hand entry
Catch & Pull through
Push and Recovery Phases
Stroke Rate and Rhythm
CSS (Critical Swim Speed)

We are now excited to announce a BRAND NEW SESSION that we will be running from the start of March;


This Squad Session will now be a regular fixture (as long as the College Pool is open).

The structure of the session will be Warm up, Drills, Pre Set, Main Set and Warm down.

As with the Stroke Correction Clinics there will always be 2 Coaches Pool Side so everyone will still receive corrective feedback & guidance throughout the session.

Where; St Andrews College, 15800 Yonge St, Aurora ON L4G 3H7

When; 1st session is March 3rd then 3/24, 4/7, 4/14, 5/5, 5/12, 5/26. onwards

Why not every Sunday? Pool is subject to closure during College holidays.

Session times; Each session is 90 minutes. 10.30am - 12.00pm.

Distance; 2 - 4km depending on ability.

Cost; Pre book online at for individual sessions or blocks of 6 at $20 per session.

This is a rolling program so the Block booking is just for your convenience. If you can't make a session, don't worry, when you have attended 6 sessions then just pay again.

Drop in $23 per session.


Where do I book? session

Suitability; Suitable for all Triathletes & regular Freestyle fitness Swimmers as long as you can swim 400 m freestyle continuously.

Swim at your own pace & ability - don't worry about being too slow, we can adjust the sessions accordingly for all abilities.


Get all the benefits of attending a Squad Session with the added bonus of Stroke Correction Guidance throughout. You will not get this in a big Masters session.
  • Work harder and have much more fun that you would training on your own
  • Learn & work on new areas such as modern drills, stroke rate, pace management etc
  • Receive continual observation & stroke correction guidance
  • Regular testing over various distances/paces
  • Develop your Technique as well as your speed & endurance.
... and much much more!!!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Athelite Spin Classes, Aurora. IT IS FUN!!!

After having swam and run yesterday we had to finish off the day with one of our Athelite Mid-Week Spin Classes. Last night was great fun!! You can make these as easy or as hard as you like so obviously I chose to make it TOUGH.

Tuesday nights are a speed work night so after 15 mins warm up we did some high cadence work followed by the main set of intervals ranging from sub threshold up to super threshold & V02 Max efforts. I laid it all out there only to find there was a second set of the same so that hurt!! We finished off as always with some rapid fire tabata work and single leg drills. An awesome session with some great motivational 'direction' from Genevieve and Paolina up the front.

I was totally done in afterwards and almost fell asleep in my dinner but after a night in compression tights I was relieved to find that my legs had recovered well and we ran to the pool and back again.

It was SO cold out there today - minus 8, but who knows what it was with the wind chill. I have never run with 2 thermal hats on before and still had an Ice Cream Brain Freeze Headache!!

Thursday nights spin sessions are more gearing & strength focused and this Thursday will include a Lactate Threshold Test. Come along and give it a try!!

Click on the 'Clinics' tab on the website for more info

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ahhhhh.... Cold Toes!!!!

Decidedly Scottish weather today in our part of Canada. The temperature temporarily peeked it's head above freezing and there is a lot of snow melt & ice. Quite a soggy day all round. We ran to the pool this morning and the roads & sidewalks are just rivers of slush & ice cold water. It's important to keep an eye on your running form in these conditions to avoid any injuries. My toes were so cold I had to keep checking they were still there, especially on the run home into the wind, despite drying my wool socks in the swimsuit spinner & giving them a blow under the hand drier. Ironically looking at pictures of Scotland it seems like they are all out playing in the sunshine this week.

Still, we didn't see anyone else out running today, so in my head we were toughing it out and getting an advantage.

This week is a BIG training week, it's only Tuesday but we are on it so far!!

Happy training everyone.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Turn your week Green

Hi folks - hope you all had a good weekend.

We managed to finish off an excellent training week with 2.5 hours on the trainer yesterday. Not my favorite session but when it is -16 outside there is no option but to train indoors.

We use the Training Peaks website for Coaching - it is a great tool for writing & constructing training sessions and short and long term plans. It is also a very effective method of sending these plans to clients and reviewing performance.

One of the simplest functions on Training Peaks is that you can color code the sessions according to compliance. If you upload a completed session it turns Green (in my head this means I am a Superstar), if you skip a session if turns red (I am riddled with guilt) and if you come up short on a session it turns yellow (I am a failure). This is great for me as I always have this in the back of my head when I am training and it always forces me to see a session through to the end & not pull up short.

Last week was a completely Green week & that is a nice feeling.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Swollen Paw.

I mentioned about a month ago that I had dramatically tumbled off my bike rollers in a moment of distraction, resulting in a lot of rather painful soft tissue & ligament damage to my wrist. Whilst this inconveniently meant that I had to wear a wrist brace & couldn't wash up, I could fortunately still ride my bike and run without too much discomfort. Over the last 2 weeks though my wrist and hand started to swell up rather alarmingly looking like Eddie Murpheys hand in the Nutty Professor. So I finally succumbed to visiting the Doctor on Tuesday.

This was my first visit to a Doctor in Canada and it was actually quite a pleasant experience. In Scotland we had to make sure we were poised by the phone at 8.29am to start ringing the Doctor relentlessly for 10 minutes to try & get an appointment, as did the rest of the population at the exact same minute. If you were 'lucky' you eventually through to a very aggressive female who begrudgingly gave you an appointment the same day. You then headed to the clinic to sit in an unventilated box for hours and were eventually taken at no where near the time you were told to come in for. When you finally left it was normally with the instruction to take Ibuprofen.

On Tuesday here I merely strolled into a Walk-in Clinic and was out 5 minutes later with the instruction to go for an Xray. I then headed to the Walk-in Xray Clinic and left, once again, 5 minutes later!!

I found out 2 hours later from the Doctor that I do not have any breaks or fractures and just need to take ... Ibuprofen for the next few days. Same result but a lot less stressful and it didn't take an entire day to find out!!

Canada 1. Scotland 0.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

D'Ornellas Ladies Night

We had a fantastic night at the Ladies Night at D'Ornellas Bike Shop on Monday night. Well done to Lori-Ann for organizing such an excellent event with such a good turn out.

Genevieve and I were up last with our presentation about Athelite & our Video Swim Analysis Clinics so we had to try & lay off the wine for as long as possible but managed to make up for it afterwards! We had loads of interest and it was great to see so many motivated people at the end of the night.

D'Ornellas are organizing another Ladies Night in April so keep you eyes peeled for that.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Snowing, Swimming & Spinning

Well that was a busy week - it seemed to be over in a flash!!

From a training perspective it was supposed to be a recovery week and I did what I so often do - get so busy doing other things that I forget to maintain my stretching and foam roller work & completed ceased up. So I am back on it this morning and determined to get back into my routine which I know works.

Last week was a bit of an eye-opener for us as we got to experience some serious Canadian snowfall. I have never seen so much snow fall overnight and we had to dig ourselves out of our apartment even to get to the road. Good fun though. The snow here is so dry, light & fluffy, compared to Scottish Snow which is so wet & frozen you have to clear it with a pneumatic drill.

Last week saw the first of our Tuesday & Thursday mid-week spin classes in our Studio on Wellington St East. Great quality sessions so come along & try them you will definitely be firing on all cylinders by the time you get out onto the road. See the clinic page on the website for more details - you can drop in & pay on the night if that is easier. 

We also had some more great swim clinics running on Sunday. The focus on the Sunday morning Stroke Correction Clinic was Stroke Rate. We carried out some Stroke Rate Ramp Tests and saw some immediate improvements. These are real quality focused sessions so if you bored of plodding up & down the lane every morning never getting any better, or blowing yourself to pieces hanging on for dear life in a Masters swim class - then give these a go. Next week is the final session of the current 6 week block & then we'll go again so keep an eye out here for new dates.

Today is the start of a new training block for us and we have already kicked it off with an early Monday morning 2 hr 45 turbo session. Need to get the training out of the way early today as this evening we are head down to D'Ornellas Bike Shop in Toronto for their Ladies Night. Genevieve & I will be doing a presentation on our Video Swim Analysis Clinics so if you are local it would be great to see you there. There is wine!!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Athelite Spin Classes - Excellent for rapid weight loss!!

You too could look like this after 90 minutes of fun!!

Athelite Indoor Spin Classes are now on every Tuesday & Thursday evenings at our Studio on Wellington Street East in Aurora.

More details on the website;

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

New dates for Video Swim Analysis Clinics, Aurora

We are pleased to announce the release of more Video Swim Analysis Clinics for March and April.

A Video Swim Analysis session is the best way to see and instantly understand what aspects of your stroke need to be corrected or developed. Being able to view yourself swimming from a range of different angles is an amazingly effective process. Paired with instant feedback & stoke correction guidance from knowledgeable Coaches is second to none.

By attending one of our Clinics you are taking an important step in analyzing what you need to do to improve and learn the techniques you specifically need to develop your stroke.

Our Video Swim Analysis Clinics are suitable for anyone who can swim 400m freestyle continuously.

Venue; St Andrews College, 15800 Yonge St  Aurora, ON L4G 3H7

Time;  Sundays 1.00pm - 3.00pm

  •     Small Personal Group (maximum 4/5)
  •     In depth Video Analysis of current swim technique from above & below the water
  •     Review (poolside) and Feedback
  •     Stroke correction session (in pool)
  •     Take home copy of Video Analysis
  •     Instant visual feedback
  •     Enhanced efficiency through the water
  •     Better propulsion for less effort
  •     Reduced injury risk
  •     New drills, hints & tips to enhance your swim training
  •     Less fatigue - exit the swim leg feeling fresh & ready for the bike

To book please click on the following link. At checkout click on Paypal first then proceed to pay by Paypal or Credit Card.

Any questions let us know

Monday, 4 February 2013

Athelite Indoor Trainer Classes, Aurora

Don't forget that our Indoor Trainer Spin Classes start this week on Tuesday & Thursday evenings. All classes are led by experienced athletes & coaches; Paolina Allan & Genevieve Freeman.

For more information see the previous Blog posting at the following link;


You can turn up and pay on the night or book online at the link below. Discounts are available for block booking.

To pay by card click on Paypal first then follow the instructions for card payments.

Hopefully see you there!!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Running Form Clinic, Aurora. 9th March 2013

We all work on our swimming and biking technique but rarely on our running so we are pleased to announce the first of our Running Form Clinics this March. This Clinic is open to ANYONE of ANY ABILITY. Any questions then please email us at or book online at

Most people can run.  However some runners look smoother, more efficient and more powerful than others. Good running form is not always a natural product of being able to run.
By spending a small amount of your training time on drills you can improve your form while also decreasing your risk of injury.
Running with an efficient, effective and balanced form is a skill, one that can be learnt and developed.
Muscle strength, co-ordination, and proprioception can be developed and improved  using a range of exercises that focus on co-ordination and balance, strength, and reaction time. The benefit is it will make you more efficient, improve leg turn over, increase speed, decrease the onset of fatigue, and reduce injuries. 

The goals of the workshop are:
  • Educate you on the value of good running form and how to improve it
  • Give feedback on your own running form
  • Teach you how to do running drills and strength work
  • Explain how to incorporate form work into your training programs
  • Improve Running Efficiency
  • Enhance Running Performance
  • Develop Running Speed
  • Reduce Impact Loading & Soft Tissue Stress
  • Reduce Risk of Running Injury
  • Tips to improve posture and breathing for easier running
  • Advise on footwear choice

With the correct analysis and coaching, you can optimize your running technique.

This is a practical session including running and drill sets.  This workshop will take place outside so wear suitable running clothing and footwear.

Date: 9th March 2013

Duration: 9.00am – 11.00am. Coffee will be available afterwards in the Studio.
Location: Athelite @ Bayview Physiotherapy Clinic, Suite 200, 244 Wellington Street East, Aurora. L4G 1J5

This Clinic is suitable for new and experienced runners. No matter what your ability you will get something out of this informative workshop.