Should I be pacing myself or going all out when I’m training?

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Great article from Alex Hutchinson, from The concept applies to much more than running …

Developing a feel for your speed is key to efficient running, Canadian athletes learn

Alex Hutchinson
From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

The question

Should I be pacing myself or going all out when I’m training?

The answer

Last winter, gold medalist Simon Whitfield led a squad of triathletes from the Canadian national team on a trip to Nike headquarters in Portland, Ore., for a 10-day training camp. Their goal: to elevate their running game by learning from the elite crew of distance runners and highly sought after coaches based there.

One of the key lessons they picked up was the importance of finding the right pace – that, at least in training, going faster isn’t always better. It may sound obvious, but sports psychologists believe that learning to monitor and adjust to feedback during training is a powerful tool for developing expertise – even in apparently simple activities such as running and biking.

The group Mr. Whitfield trained with in Portland included Simon Bairu of Regina, who earlier this month smashed the Canadian record for 10,000 metres by 13 seconds at a race in Palo Alto, Calif., running 27:23.63. Chris Solinsky, another member of the group, broke the U.S. record in the same race, and a third member of the Portland group also dipped below the old U.S. record.

“They’re so precise about their pacing,” Mr. Whitfield says. “We came home with the message that when a tempo run is supposed to be, let’s say, 3:05 [per kilometre] pace, then 3:03 pace is not a success. That’s a fail.”

Such precision may be daunting, but it’s a hallmark of “deliberate practice,” a concept advanced by Florida State University cognitive psychologist Anders Ericsson and popularized in recent books like Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers: The Story of Success. The best way to master an activity is not simply to repeat it mindlessly over and over again, Dr. Ericsson argues, but to set specific goals and monitor how well you meet them.

The theory is most commonly applied to highly technical activities such as tennis or violin; for simpler activities such as running, “practice” usually involves simply heading out the door and doing it. But in a study of the training practices of elite runners by University of Ottawa researchers Bradley Young and John Salmela, what separated the highest-performing group from their less accomplished peers was how much they incorporated elements such as interval training, tempo runs and time trials, all of which require ongoing attention to pace and other feedback.

Read more.

Kamloops’ Reed captures 800m silver

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Great way to close out the season! Reed was also third in the last Golden League event of the season a week ago in Brussels.

gary reed face on

SEPTEMBER 12, 2009

British Columbian Gary Reed’s silver-medal finish in the 800-metre race led Canadians at the IAAF World Athletics Final meet in Thessaloniki, Greece Saturday.

Racing before a crowd of 27500, Reed was lying in seventh place with 200 metres to go when he put in his final kick that pushed him past South African Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, the world champion at that distance.

Reed finished in second behind Kenya’s David Lekuta, who claimed gold with a 1:44.85 time.

Read entire article here.

Steve Nash to receive honourary doctorate from UVic

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Nash has full plate leading up to NBA season

JULY 30, 2009

Steve Nash of Victoria will be making more dockings in his home province in the next few months than a B.C. ferry.

There is the Showdown in Downtown charity soccer game at David Lam Park in Vancouver on Sept. 19 and a National Basketball Association preseason game between his Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trail Blazers at GM Place on Oct. 22. But the most personally satisfying occasion will be when Nash receives an honorary doctorate of laws degree from the University of Victoria in a special convocation ceremony Sept. 18 at the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. The ceremony will be webcast.

“I don’t want to sound like a jerk or anything, but I’ve been offered a lot of honourary degrees, and this is the only one I’ve accepted,” said Nash, in a teleconference interview yesterday with B.C. media.

“How could I say no to UVic? It was a big part of my basketball upbringing. UVic has a special place in my heart. I grew up in McKinnon Gym. It was such a central part of our [Gordon Head] community and I lived in that gym.”

Read the entire article here.

Culture Matters – Don’t Torch The Arts!

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Let’s see a huge turnout tomorrow at the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver and the BC Arts Council offices in Victoria.

btw, the big grey square below isn’t a missing graphic. It’s a metaphor for a world without culture.

grey square graphic

Media Release: Sept 8, 2009
From the Direct Action Committee of the Alliance for Arts and Culture.


We call on all those who believe in the value of arts and culture in our communities to join a rally at noon on Wednesday, September 9th in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery to bring public attention to the recently announced, brutal cuts to our sector by the BC government.

Funding to the arts and culture sector has NOT been restored; the provincial government is planning to cut over 80% of what has consisted of only 1/20th of 1% of the provincial budget. No other provinces in Canada have reduced support for a sector that, according to government statistics, produces significant returns on investment. This is a sector that creates both social and economic capital. ART WORKS!

We ask you to consider the ways that arts and culture touch your daily lives at home, in the streets, your children in schools, community centres, on TV, your music, on the internet, in videogames and in theatres, museums and galleries. We ask you to think about culture as part of our individual and community identities, a way to connect with our diverse origins…with who we are today and with what we care about. Arts and culture are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. The arts are NOT A FRILL!

Our symbol is a grey and empty rectangle, a metaphor for a world without art and culture.

Please join us.


Media Contacts:
Brenda Leadlay: or 778-990-2690
Judith Marcuse: or 604-319-8436

Segger reaches Mile 0 in Victoria in four days

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This is a phenomenal achievement, especially if you consider the route she took down Vancouver Island.

segger salomonYesterday, for example, Segger ran the West Coast trail in a single day!! This is a hike that seasoned hikers consider a grueling week-long trek. Congratulations Jen!! Just amazing.

From Jen Seggers’s twitter account …


is so thankful for everyone’s support! Now….off to bed and shower. Its been a long 4 days, time for some zzzzz’s
about 2 hours ago from web

DONE!!!! The Vancouver Island Quest is finished as of 5:48am this morning!
about 2 hours ago from web

Cochrane glides to 1500m silver

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Ryan Cochrane of Victoria, B.C., earned his second medal of the world swimming championships on Sunday with a second-place finish in the men’s 1,500-metre freestyle event.

Cochrane was in and out of the lead during his 14 minute, 41.38 second swim before finally finishing second behind Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia, who finished in 14:37.28.

China’s Sun Yang took the bronze.

“It was unexpected by how, well, frankly how easy it was in the first half. That always feels good,” said Cochrane, who won bronze in the 1,500 at the Beijing Olympics.

“In Beijing last year it was a pretty hard final to make, so I knew it was going to hurt going into the finals and it did,” Cochrane said.

The pain was worth it as Cochrane, who also won bronze in the 800 on Wednesday, secured a third swimming medal for the national team and the country’s ninth medal overall at the event.

Vancouver’s Annamay Pierse earned silver in the women’s 200-metre breaststroke on Friday. Canada also won three diving medals, two in synchronized swimming and a silver in women’s water polo.

National Rowing HQ at Elk Lake, BC

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I’ll be working on location with the rowers from the Canadian National Rowing team over the next couple of days in Elk Lake, BC.Dock

This year, we’ll be doing stories on the new Canadian Men’s Eight (last year’s won GOLD at the Shunyi Basin, Beijing 2008), and the Men’s and Women’s Lightweight Doubles.

All three crews had great results at the prestigious Lucerne (Switzerland) regatta a few weeks ago, and we’re preparing stories to be broadcast for this year’s World Championships in Poznan, Poland.

boathouse, originally uploaded by inklake.

I took the photo above of last year’s Men’s Eight (M8+) taking their boat out for an early morning training session.

Ryder Hesjedal – Stage 15 breakaway leader

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Ryder was a key catalyst stage 15 Prevonloup & Col des Mossesin the breakaway group today, bringing home points toward the polka dot jersey by finishing second on the category 3 Prevonloup climb and finishing right up with the escape leaders on the Col des Mosses category 2. He also got a lot of face time on Versus when they aired a profile on him as he climbed the Col des Mosses.

Solid day all round.

The peleton eventually caught up to the escape group for the final ascent up Verbier, with Ryder ending up 44th for the stage, 4’23” back. Hesjedal now stands in 57th, among notable Tour vets Jens Voigt and Christophe Moreau.

Contador was clearly the story of the day, pulling away with ease from the other leaders to take the stage by 43″ over Andy Schleck, and 1’35” over Lance Armstrong, who finished 9th.

Alberto-Contador-001The Tour has the strong feeling of an anti-climax, partly because Contador has twice attacked Armstrong with no response, and also because there have been no real shake outs since the early Pyrenees stages. Tour organizers have managed to make this a fairly pedestrian tour so far, long on gorgeous French, Spanish, Swiss, and Alsatian landscapes, but very short on dramatic attacks.

Armstrong admitted in a gracious post-stage interview that Contador is clearly the better rider right now. Looks like he’s setting his sights on second place as the notorious Ventoux lies in wait for the Tour leaders.

Hesjedal and Team Garmin-Slipstream move up

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Team Garmin-Slipstream – Tour de France 2009, stage 4, originally uploaded by Garmin Slipstream Pro Cycling Team

Hesjedal gains ground at Tour de France
Published: July 07, 2009 10:00 AM

Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal made a dramatic move in the team time-trial, stage four of the 2009 Tour de France standings on Tuesday.

Hesjedal, a former mountain biker and the only Canadian in this year’s Tour de France, climbed from 49th to 21st in the short, 39 kilometre race around Montpellier. He now sits one minute, 46 seconds back of Swiss leader Fabian Cancellara of team Saxo Bank.

Hesjedal’s team Garmin-Slipstream is fourth overall after 438 kilometres, three minutes and five seconds back of Lance Armstrong’s team Astana.

Wednesday’s stage five sees a return to long distance racing as the tour steers 196.5 km south from Le Cap D’Agde to Perpignan.

Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal makes inroads at Tour de France

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Hesjedal makes inroads at Tour de France
JULY 4, 2009
VICTORIA — Churning past the famous casino of Monaco on Saturday, Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria placed a respectable 44th among the 180 cyclists who began the first leg of the 2009 Tour de France.

“Today was pretty spectacular to say the least. The course was amazing and lined with screaming fans from start to finish,” said the two-time Olympian, when contacted after the first-stage individual time trial.

“Powering by the prestigious landmarks was very motivating and something I will never forget. It was great to start this Tour in an individual test against the clock. I felt great on the bike and think I could have gone a little faster with a few changes. But in the big picture, I’m happy with my performance and definitely feeling good about the rest of the race to come.”

Hesjedal completed the 15.5-kilometre time trial in 20 minutes, 59 seconds, which was a minute and 27 seconds behind stage winner Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and his 19:32 clocking.

American legend Lance Armstrong, whose return to the Tour has created a buzz and is being closely watched, finished 10th and was 40 seconds behind Cancellara.

Hesjedal became the first Canadian in the Tour de France in more than 10 years in 2008, only the fourth Canuck rider in Tour history, and continues to build his position on the Garmin Slipstream team.

Vancouver Sun

Skipping Giro was right call for Hesjedal
By Andrew Hood
Published: Jul. 5, 2009
ryder.TeaserRyder Hesjedal on Sunday.
Photo: Andrew Hood

The road back to his second Tour de France was different for Ryder Hesjedal this year.

While most of his Tour-bound teammates followed the successful blueprint from 2008 and raced the Giro d’Italia in May, Garmin-Slipstream brass put the brakes on the tall Canadian and told him to rest instead of race.

“Not racing the Giro was definitely the right call. I feel like I’ve improved since I took a break and I am coming into the Tour in my best level ever,” Hesjedal told VeloNews. “I came out of the Tour de Suisse in good condition and I am getting better every day. I’m going to be in top shape and be there when the team needs me.”

Velo News