Tremblanc 5150 – Lessons Learnt

So this past weekend I raced my first race of the year which was Tremblant 5150. First of all this is an amazing race with a beautiful swim, fun and hard bike and challenging run. Furthermore it is a beautiful area with a wonderful village, understanding locals and some wonderful training opportunities.

I was going into this race reasonably confident with some really solid run and bike workouts. I have run a half marathon PR while competing for the win as well as holding a power for a 2 hour ride which a few months ago I struggled with for 30 min.

However the swim was concerning me a bit as I have spent the last month focusing on technique. This seems to have resulted in some very good swim improvements with someone commenting that they didnt recognize me in the pool. However it did mean that the fitness to hold pace for 1500m was unknown. What we really changed in the swim was incorporating a more efficient bent arm recovery, pulling straight (deep) down to the bottom of the pool as well as entering the water much wider with my left arm. In the past my left arm has crossed my center line resulting in a ‘snaking motion’. If I really exaggerate the left arm entry it results in a swim which goes in a straight line.


Going in I had a number of goals set out. These were:

SWIM (in Xterra Vendetta full suit)

- keep a long complete stroke

- keep a good turnover

- do not cross over left arm and pull back right away

BIKE (on Felt DA2)

- avg 245-250 NP not going out too hard

- stand on hills shorter then 10s sit for others

- be brave on descents

Run (In Skechers Go Meb Speed 2)

- turnover

- run like I know how


Pre race I felt fairly good after a good taper, I was fresh and getting really antsy to get in a hard effort. I was able to hit all my race efforts relatively easily as well as getting in some rides on the course a couple of days before. Furthermore I did some swim intensity at a pace which before the technique change would have been difficult and it felt relatively relaxed. Here is a screen shot of the taper.



Race morning:

So with an 8:21am start for the pro men I woke up at 425 am, had a bagel with jam and peanut butter and then began to prepare. I taped my legs with rock tape (I find it aids with power and form when fatigued). Then at 5:20am I biked down to transition to get my preferred racking position. I then found a quiet place to sit down and just kept calm until 6:40am when I started my warmup. This consisted of a 10 min bike with 6 by 30s standing efforts, a 6 min run with 4 by 30s at race pace. I then clean up transition and practice  the process 2 times running into transition and 2 times leaving transition. Once this is done transition si cleaned up and I do the 15 min walk from transition to the swim start, Once here I prepare and do a 10 min swim take 1.5 GU Roctane gels and then do a few short efforts and 3 or 4 starts.

Swim: 25:33


It is a fairly simple swim with calm water on this day. Simply swim out turn right and then swim to swim exit (different from start).

Once the race started I just tried to get out and settle into a solid rhythm. However, I miss calculated my effort id not go out hard enough settling into far too slow of a pace. I held this pace to the finish of the swim coming out feeling very comfortable. There is a lot of improvement here with a better calculated effort and 1 month to build swim fitness before saint andrews. Once out of the water it is about a 500m run to transition where the focus is on turnover and making up ground on those ahead of you.


Bike: 1:13:24

This is an extremely technical 2 loop out and back course. Over the course there is 648m of climbing made up of many small climbs. One thing I would recommend though is to practice descending in aerobars as I definitely lost time here.

I started the bike in my Rudy Project Wingspan helmet looking to hold between 240 and 250 NP. I went out at 255 for the first lap really hammering the hills which was a mistake when I came around the second lap my legs didn’t have much juice and I only ended up averaging 239 NP on the bike. This is a simply problem to fix however as all I need to do is go out a bit easier. On the bike I drank 450ml of GU Brew as well as eating 2 GU roctane gels at 20 and 40 min. Ill update the power file if I can however it somehow ended up being 17 hours long so the data is very hard to read.


Run 37:56

The out and back run course is relatively challenging with 3 or 4 long gradual climbs per 5km (400mish) as well as 1 300m ssteeper climb at 1 and 9km.

This run was a very big learning experience. I didn’t realize how negatively doing the first half of the bike too hard could affect the run. But for the first 5km of the run I struggled with heavy legs and with a more compressed stride then normal. Finally at 5km I was able to get that stride length going. This did teach me to really focuse on the stride lenght when my legs are too fatigued at the start of a run. Also, make sure your laces are tight enough or you will get some blood stains on your shoes.


Final race grade C+: All in all this was an ok start to the season. Although there was a few mistakes made they are all very easy to fix and will be corrected for my next race (possibly guelph lake 1).

Post race: To help recover I went rock climbing. This was really good fun and nice for getting that mobility going.


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Northern Training and an Easy Breakfast

Training Update
So thus far this winter training has been going really well. I have been training between 18 and 22 hours a week but have utilized a much different training philosophy from previous seasons. In the past I have done a lot of long easy training and short fast work which has given me decent speed on a short distance but not enough base strenght to maintain this speed.

However, what I have been doing thus far this year is using a mix of longer intervals with half iron race pace work thrown in and shorter Olympic distance intervals. This longer work is building aerobic strenght, while incorporating the half iron race pace intervals is teaching my body to create power while fatigued. For example my Saturday bike ride this week was 3 hours Z2 with 2 by 30 min Z3 intervals at 1 and 2 hour marks and my run Sunday was 1:40 with 5km at the end at half iron run pace. Furthermore, it is allowing me to gain the physical and mental strenght to close out the ends of my races. This is an area I have struggled in the past. For example at the Sudbury Rocks Half Marathon last May I went out in 17 mid and closed in 19. Besides a lack of tactics, this also showed a lack of strenght.

As the season develops these workouts will progress into much more race specific work with the duration and intensities based on if I have either an Olympic or half iron distance race coming up.

These longer efforts are also giving me the opportunity to test out nutrition: both during workouts and after. In the past I have been very casual about this, eating when I am hungry, drinking water once in a while and this I feel has been one of the big factors in post workout fatigue and hunger binges. I have been trying to take in 200-300 calories per hour and 500-750ml of water on the bike. On my long runs in my Sketcher Go Run Ride/Run I have never previously taken in nutrition. Thus I have been building slowly in terms of how much I take in. I began a month ago with a 1.5 hour run drinking 300ml of liquid. Meanwhile on my 1:40 run this Sunday I took in 500ml of liquid and 1.5 gels.

I have also been making sure to take in a post workout recovery drink after every workout that is longer then 1 hour in length.

This is where my new sponsor, GU Nutrition comes into play. For somebody like me, who struggles with taking in nutrition using a proper gel, electrolyte powder and recovery drink that tastes good is key. This will encourage me to take in enough calories on the bike due to the good taste while also drinking my recovery drink. I will be posting a report on my new product when it comes in in a couple of weeks.

My New Favourite Breakfast

This is my new favourite breakfast after a hard workout. It gets me in carbs, protein, electrolytes and tastes amazing! It incorporates 2 parts, a smoothie and protein pancakes


- 1 tablespoon flax seed powder (can use any ground seed)

- 1 cup of milk/almond milk

- 3/4 cup fruit

- you can also add in yogourt or peanut butter but I do not stock these items as I tend to binge eat on them. In terms of the fruit you can adjust the amount you use depending on how thick you want it.

- blend 20s or until all ingredients and mixed in

Banana Protein Pancakes (makes 2 pancakes)

- blend:

- 2 eggs

- 3/4 of a scoop of protein powder (I prefer vanilla)

- 1/2 banana

- once this is all blender put half in a medium to large frying pan for 2 minutes per side ensuring the frying pan is hot enough. If it is not cooked enough once this is done give the pancake 30s more on each side.

- then simply remove the pancake and serve with your favourite topping. I either eat them plain or with a natural, pure fruit jam.

protein pancake

*cook 2 minutes per side (just like regular pancakes)

*only put the batter on when pan is hot enough for water to dance across it)

Barefoot Science Footbed Review

For those of you that do not know from mid july until the end up September I battled strong heel pain that would run up the arch. During this period I tried everything that I could to treat/cure this. Some of the things I tried included, icing, physiotherapy, chiropractor, acupuncture and strengthening as outlined in “Dealing with Arch/Heel Pain From an Athletes Perspective”.

From mid-september to the end of October I continued treatment seeing a chiropractor twice a week and icing regularly and saw improvements but they were gradual and I still had foot pain while running 20 minutes on October 21st. It was at this point that my coach suggested that I try the Barefoot Science Foot Strengthening System

First I will describe the system and then I will give an outline with how it worked for me. I used the 3/4 length active length (as shown in the images below) in my running shoes, as they have non-removable footbeds and then the full length active in my walking and biking shoes. I would recommend having 2 pairs though as it helps you adapt quicker to them.

This system includes 2 footbeds (3/4 or full length depending on if you have a removable footbed) along with 6 different arch inserts per foot. These inserts gradually increase the height and stiffness of the arch increasing strenght, adjusting posture and aiding with proprioception (these are the benefits I saw). The user manual says that about every 7-10 days you should upgrade to the next level of insert. This is incredibly simple as all you have to do is pop 1 out and place the new one in. However what I found is that unless you are no longer noticing them you should not move up to the next level or your feet will cramp up and blister may occur due to more of your arch being in contact with the shoe then normal. Furthermore if I have a hard run I will move to a lower level of insert so that the arch does not get aggravated by the increased stress on it.

I saw benefits from my barefoot science footbeds within 2 weeks of walking and doing easy runs in them I was able to run pain free and within a month I was once again able to do tempo efforts. This is a process that I believe would have taken me 2 months to achieve without the footbeds. 2 months later I am still doing all my runs in the footbeds and will continue to train in them as I find they give me a better feel of the ground. This is as they are not a rigid orthodic but rather more of a hard cushion under the arch that flexes. This allows the foot to still flex naturally while activating many underused foot muscles.

Happy 2014 to everybody and best of luck in the upcoming season.


Inserts that go in footbeds. Level 6 is the most advanced.


Underside of footbed without insert in it


Underside of footbed with level 5 insert


Top of footbed

2013-2014 Race Schedule

Really excited to move up to the half ironman distance this year.

April 13 – Yonge Street 10km

April 26- Sudbury Night Run

May 11 – Sudbury Rocks Half Marathon

June 1 – Espanola Duathlon

June 8 – Tremblanc 5150

June 16 – 2013 – Barrie Half Marathon

July 7 – Challenge Saint Andrews

July 13 –  Timmins Triathlon

July 27 – Bala Falls Triathlon (after go up to welland/niagra and train the course)

August 17 – Golden Trail Festival Half Marathon Timmins (Or Saint Joseph Island Triathlon – Olympic/Sprint)

AUG 11 – 70.3 Steelhead

September 8 – Ramsey Tour Half Marathon (run it at goal race pace)

September 21 – Niagra Half Iron

October 27 2014 – Niagra Falls Half Marathon

Dealing with Heel/Arch Pain From an Athletes Perspective

So for those of you that do not know for the last 3 months I have been dealing with heel pain that runs into the arch.

It started at the end of July right before the Multisport Canada Belwood Triathlon. However at this point it was more of a minor pain and I decided to ignore it thinking it was a simple muscle pain or strain. However this small pain got worse and worse as more speed work was added into my training. This was a huge mistake as something that could have been fixed quickly and not affected my preparation for U23 Duathlon World Championships or the Age Group Amateur World Championships ended up causing some minor disruptions and over  a month to properly recover.

So now I will discuss the treatment options that have been presented to me by a chiropractor, physiotherapist as well as through my own research. From my experience, my recommendation would be the second that you feel your heel hurting, go see a professional. However there are things that can help prevent injury of the foot as well as treat it.


#1: Fill up a normal plastic 500ml water bottle and place it in your freezer. Then every day roll up and down each foot slowly concentrating on rolling back and forth gently on any trouble spots. This will help release tension on the foot as well as reducing inflammation.

#2: Get a box of marbles. Then empty these marbles on the floor and pick them up placing them back in the bucket. This will help strengthen the muscles in the arch.

#3: Balance on 1 leg then do 2 sets of 10 calf raises trying to get as tall as possible. Do these nice and slowly so as to not risk damaging any muscles.

#4: After this do some gentle stretches for the feet. One of the ones I find works really well is to stretch one foot straight out in front of your body when sitting on the floor and then put a strap over the ball of the foot. You then pull on the strap until you feel a gentle stretch in the foot. Another stretch that works is to stand on the edge of a staircase on one foot and then let your foot gently drop. This will stretch out both the foot and the calves. If your calves get too tight it will pull on the muscles in the foot which can cause pain.


#1: Roll your foot out gently with the frozen water bottle. Try not to keep too much pressure on it but do each foot for 10 minutes. Do both feet at least once but try to roll the injured foot multiple times.

#2: At night wear something on the injured foot called the Strassburg Sock. This will keep your foot at tension during the night and has really helped me. The key though is to keep your foot out from under the blankets.

#3: Use a foam roller on your calves focusing on the injured one. Then follow this by stretching the calves.

#4: Complement this with treatment from a physiotherapist or chiropractor. My chiropractor used ART as well as acupuncture which I found worked really well. However as long as a professional within the local community is seen who is well respected in the running community is seen they should be able to treat it.

#5: Once your foot is feeling better begin the prevention exercises shown above beginning gently and easing into the exercises being careful to not overstretch the bottoms of your feet.

#6: Under the guidance of your coach gradually ease into running beginning on a soft grass surface in a well cushioned show such as the Sketchers Go Run Ride

I really found that the steps above have helped me handle my foot injury and if I had followed my own advice and listened to my body this injury could have been avoided.

Thank for reading

Devin Wittig