Offseason Training, Changes and 2015 race schedule


For those that don’t know at the end of August I made the decision that if I want to see where triathlon can take me I need a change and I moved to Edmonton to work with Kevin Clark and the Edmonton Triathlon Academy. I had met Kevin at one of the C3 training camps in Tucson and had huge respect for both his knowledge and how he treated his athletes.  This is an organization that has a vision statement of:

A winning environment – opportunity to succeed “
After training here for 2 months this statement has shown to be rock solid. The training environment every day is positive, motivated and focused and all I ask for is an opportunity. Furthermore, the facilities we train in such as the Kinsmen athletic complex for swimming are absolutely incredible with 2 50m pools as well as an indoor track, regular fitness centre and functional training centre.
Kinsmen Athletic Complex Main Pool

Kinsmen Athletic Complex Main Pool

In terms of my own training there have been a few changes that have been a challenge but on a whole everything is definitely going in a positive direction.

The biggest change has been a big increase in running mileage, swimming mileage and an increase in fast vo2 max workouts. I feel that these fast hard workouts are allowing me to push through my ceiling while also allowing me to move through a much greater range of motion. Furthermore, working vow max along with longer endurance efforts produces more beneficial adaptations to your heart such as increased stroke volume. I have attached a quote from a Joe Friel blog entitled Physiological Fitness – Aerobic Capacity which discusses this.

“Aerobic capacity is literally at the heart of success in endurance sport. Improvements in aerobic capacity have largely to do with how much blood (which contains oxygen) the heart pumps out to the working muscles with every beat. This is called “stroke volume” and has a lot to do with how much aerobic capacity you have. A purpose of training is to improve your stroke volume. There are basically two ways to do this. The first is to focus on the volume of your training. The heart responds to lots of time spent at higher-than-resting intensity (above about 50 percent of VO2 max) by becoming more efficient and effective which ultimately means pumping more blood per beat.

The other way to improve aerobic capacity is by doing high-intensity intervals, especially those done at about the power or pace associated with your VO2 max. At that intensity your heart rate is approaching maximum, so these are very hard efforts. This method will produce a higher stroke volume sooner than by relying only on volume. Most experienced athletes employ both strategies”

On the run I was told that I am arching my back (which is emphasized when I am fatigued) which I think is a factor in why I put so much stress on my quads especially when tired as my centre of gravity moves back. To counteract this I have been working on engaging my core more as I run. Also, when running my hips have been collapsing out which is a factor in why I injured my foot last year so I am working at correcting this in the gym.

On the indoor track at a recent aquathon

On the indoor track at a recent aquathon

In the swim which is the major concern of mine it has been a story of 2 steps forward 1 step back. I am definitely seeing changes in catching the water higher, body position and in my times during aerobic threshold workouts. However, I just need to remember to be patient.

Another thing that has changed is that we have introduced a trx strength training session (at the bottom of the blog) 2 to 3 times a week which takes an hour and works on strengthening the posterior of my upper body, my hips, my leg power as well as my mobility. This is not the only factor but I am confident that this is part of the reason why I have not gotten injured so far. Furthermore, it is an incredibly fun workout and allows me to work in different planes of motion then what I experience during regular training.

Finally, we have also put together a fairly firm schedule for the upcoming season which will be filled in by local races and running races. It seems like a really fun schedule and Im really looking forwards to it!

Apr 19 – 70.3 new orleans
May 24 – shawnigan lake 5150
June 14 – 70.3 eagleman
June 28 – saskatoon 5150
july 5 – great white north half
july 26- 70.3 calgary
Aug 30 – half challenge pentincton
Sept 05- 5150 banff
Oct 4 – 70.3 silverman
TRX – Progression 1
30s on 20s off for 3 sets of each exercise with 1 min rest between sets superset each 2 exercises
Burpees if feeling good

5 min row warmup
2 by 10 single leg squat a side
2 by 10 plank shoulder shrugs to activate upper back
– max trx squat jump
– trx triceps dip
1a TRX pushup (progress to spiderman and atomic)
1b TRx sprinter start
2a power pull
– reach back + power up
2b lunger with knee drive
(foot in cradle)
3a plank + knees to opposite elbow center then other elbow
3b backwards bridge (progrèss to backward mountain climber)
4a 3 way row
– 5 with hands up, facing and down
4b pike
5a Alligator
-stand straight, 1 arm up + 1 down and rotate into up arm
5b mountain climber try positioning legs to side
6a Y fly
6b lateral lunge with feet in cradle
7a Hamstring curl (progress to 1 legg)
7b TRX Golfswing
– state feet wide hands to side then rotate 1 up and 1 down
Bent leg calf raise 3 by 12 10lbs
Straight leg calf raise 3 by 10 and 35 lbs

IM 70.3 Steelhead

So this past Sunday was IM 70.3 Steelhead. I went in feeling confident in my swim and was hoping to get some descent feet and swim a bit faster then Saint Andrews so right around 30. On the bike the plan was to settle down and then average 225 watts. Onto the run my plan was to go out at 6 min miles for 7 miles and then push the pace from there.

Nutrition Plan:

Pre race:

- 3 hours before race start: bagel with jam and peanut butter + caffeine free tea

- pre race in few hours before drink full bottle of Blueberry Gu Brew

- 15 min before start sip of Brew along with 1 Gu Roctane Gel
– 1 Roctane Gel every 30 min + 1 gel right away
– 2 bottles of 600 ml 100cal Gu Brew
– drink at every aid station + gel at 6 miles

On paper I thought that this nutrition strategy should work fine however this was not the case as shall be seen below. However what I will say is I should have taken in a third bottle on the bike.

Race Morning Transition

Race Morning Transition

Swim: This was a point to point swim from south to north and with offshore 3 foot rolling waves coming in at an angle. I knew that with a run start I was at a disadvantage. Ive always struggled with these and need to practice mentally rehearsing them to gain confidence. However, not being entirely confident in my start I ran into the water in my Xterra Vendetta Suit and quickly ended up at the back of the group. Seeing this, and knowing that with my propensity to get off course on the swim I decided to find some feet that were swimming straight. Unfortunately these were not strong enough feet and I swam 2 minutes slower then Challenge Saint Andrews.
Swim: 32:42

Swim Start. Looks less wavy here...

Swim Start. Looks less wavy here…

Bike: Once onto the bike I told myself to forget my swim, get the head up and get to work. Knowing that this was a relatively flat course I went out at 230NP on my Felt DA2 and in my new Rudy Project Wing 57 and tried to hold steady around here. However, for the first 40km of the bike my legs felt completely shot and worrying about this I didn’t drink enough maybe getting in 200ml of liquid and 1 gel. Around 40km the legs came around and I remembered to focus on nutrition but I still only got in about 1l of liquid and 4 gels. This was a MAJOR mistake on my part and a huge learning experience for next year. Coming off the bike with your body as close to homeotasis for the run is huge. The bike was a huge positive though as I averaged 226NP with a variable index of only 1.01. The bike ended up having 1118 ft of climbing so it was a fast one with amazing volunteers.

One thing I noticed looking at this file was that my cadence is too slow. Avg 82. I did get a new saddle, the specialized Sitero (which should help with saddle sores) and a fit adjustment bring my knee angle from 19 to 23 degrees making it far easier to hold a faster, more efficient cadence.
Bike: 2:19:28

Bike power data. Kept it relatively steady all day.

Bike power data. Kept it relatively steady all day.


Out onto the run in my Sketchers Go Run Speed I felt amazing for 6 miles running right around 6 min mile pace which was the plan. However at that point the screw up on the bike caught up with me and I died. I began to overheat and had to walk a couple of aid stations to get in fluid and fill my suit with ice. My legs also felt like rocks and I was reduced to a shuffle. I think this is mostly due to not handling my temperature well enough as well as not taking in enough fluids on the bike leaving me in a depleted state when I left on the run. 

About 1.5 miles from the finish. You can see the pain in my posture

About 1.5 miles from the finish. You can see the pain in my posture

my blow up

my blow up

Final thoughts: This race was a great learning experience for next year. It definitely gives me a lot to work on but there are some positives to take away such as the bike. It also showed me better then any article or book the importance of fuelling on the bike to set up the run. Id also like to congratulate Lionel on winning, amazing!

So even though a lot did not go right I need to give myself a B for this race as it was still 10 minutes faster then Saint Andrews with a lot of time to come off without changing fitness.

Now onwards to Worlds where I will be doing the sprint olympic double!

Happy Races ->Big Changes

So recently I have raced a number of events including my first half iron race at Challenge Saint Andrews, the Timmins Heart of Gold Triathlon and the Multisport Canada Bala Triathlon. I have also made a big life decision resulting in a cross country move.

Challenge Saint Andrews was my first half distance race and I went into it confident in being able to execute the bike but slightly tentative about the run and swim. The plan was to swim strong and hopefully grab a solid pair of feet, then bike at 225W NP followed by a run where I was going out at 1:20 pace and tried to hold it. On the swim I executed well and held on to a group of 3 pro men through 900m. At that point a bad habit ive been working on shone through and I got lost but still had my best swim of the year swimming 30:34 in my Xterra Vendetta wetsuit. Then after a long 500m uphill run to transition I jumped on the bike and got to work. This run up was actually a struggle for me as my feet were numb from the cold water and I sort of waddled up the carpet. On the bike I went out at 233 watts and ended up fading a the end to an average normalized power of 223 watts. I think a big factor in this was that I pushed too low of a cadence with an average of 82. Furthermore although the bike was not that hilly some winds left over from the tropical storm that came through the day before definitely made me hang on for dear life a couple of times. I ended up biking a 229:45 on my incredibly comfortable Felt DA2. I have (will) attached a screen shot of the data below. Onto the run I had decided to wear socks and I forgot to loosen the elastic laces from when I run a 10km barefoot.  This worked out for the first 10.5km where I went through on 1:18 pace. However, on the second lap as my feet swelled I began to get intense hot patches under my feet and sharp pains. This reduced me to a shuffle between 15 and 19km where I stopped, took off my socks and hammered home. Coming into the finish up a 500m hill I saw the 5th place pro up the road and hammered to try to catch him. Unfortunately he beat me by 4 seconds but I gave it everything I had being forced into the medical tent and given an IV to recover. I ended up running a 1:22. I 100% loved the distance though and am going to do everything I can to get back next year.

Nutrition:Waking up 4 hours before the start I had a bagel with jam and peanut butter and tea. I then sipped a bottle of Gu brew until the start finishing it off. I took 2 gels at 30 and 15min before the start. Onto the bike I had 2 200 calories bottles of Gu brew which I drank as well as 5 orange vanilla Roctane gels. In hindsight I would have liked to drink 1 more bottle but thats a lesson. Then onto the run I only took 1 Roctane gel at 6km and sports drink at most aid stations. For next race ill stuff 2 in my race suit and take them at 6 and 14km.

Saint Andrews Bike Power Data

Saint Andrews Bike Power Data

Exiting the water at Challenge Saint Andrews

Exiting the water at Challenge Saint Andrews

coming in on the bike at Challenge Saint Andrews

coming in on the bike at Challenge Saint Andrews

First post race IV! Done, satisfied but hungry for more...

First post race IV! Done, satisfied but hungry for more…

1 week after Saint Andrews I raced the Timmins Heart of Gold Triathlon. This being a home town race I was able to stay at home which was a really nice change of pace. I managed a win with a really solid bike with a normalized power of 260 watts. I definitely felt that on the run I still had accumulated fatigue from Saint Andrews but all in all in went well and it was really nice to see some faces I havnt seen in a while.

Then 2 weeks after that I raced one of my favourite Ontario courses at the Multisport Canada Bala Falls triathlon. This was an interesting test being 2 weeks out from 70.3 steelhead and being in the midst of a big training week. Thus I approached it as simply a hard training day to see what my body could handle with some accumulated fatigue. However it ended up going very well. The plan was to go out strong on the swim, average 255 watts NP on the bike and then play the run by feel. What ended up happening is I swam a poor tactical swim but still swam a pb, rode my first race in my Rudy Project Wing 57 helmet and biked over 40kph and 259 watts on a hilly 30km then tempoed a solid, fun 7.5km in my Skechers go run speed. This ended up getting me third place overall behind 2 amazing athletes. This definitely gave me good confidence going into 70.3 Steelhead where I’m going with almost a full taper.

Starting the bike in Bala with my Rudy Project wing 57

Starting the bike in Bala with my Rudy Project wing 57

Bala Falls podium, thats me in orange

Bala Falls podium, thats me in orange

Next up is

70.3 Steelhead on August 10th

Sprint Non- Draft World on August 29th

Olympic Non-Draft World on September 1st

Now that I’ve updated my recently completed races I’m going to announce a really big change for me. Ive decided to move to Edmonton for the upcoming season. This is for a number of reasons.

1) Triathlon: To have a training environment with other athletes around and a coach in town I believe will be a change which will correlate with improvements.

2) Schooling: I have heard really good things about the University of Alberta schooling. I ended up transferring to a slightly different program which will allow me to specialize in coaching.

3) My family is moving to yellowknife so I will be closer to them.

4) I just need a change in training environment as I have been doing a lot of my training here alone for 2 years.

I am really excited about this and I think it will allow me to optimize my training and make a step to the next level.

I really appreciate all the help I’ve gotten in Sudbury from Buddy Green of Northern Ontario Triathlon Squad who coached me for my first year here and still gives me some great advice, Phil Parker of Laurentian swimming who gave a lot of time to me over the fall and winter this year on my swim. James Holden who spent 2 months working on my swim technique 1 on 1, all the Laurentian University Staff and coaches, Allison Godwin who gave me the privilege of racing for Laurentian Varsity Nordic Team, Eric Leishman for giving me a great running partner and everyone else I missed.

I also wanted to thank my great and supportive local supporters who I will be leaving including Carman Construction, Duoro Roofing and Klohn Crippen Berger. Without your support I wouldn’t be here or be able to dream and plan to get up there.

Thanks for reading Devin Wittig

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.


15% Off All GU Energy


For those that do not know for the last 2 months I have been utilizing GU nutrition products for my training and recovery. I have been able to go harder in workouts and recover quicker with them. I have used Gu Electrolyte and RecoveryBrew as well as the classic and roctane gels. The Roctane gels I use more for race simulations and racing as they have slightly more caffeine as well as amino acids and slightly more electrolytes. Furthermore, the normal gels have an amazing consistency and taste with the peanut butter and lemon lime flavours being my favourite.

If you go to

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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