PT 2 of 2XU Camp: Training like an Elite Athlete

Day 2 began with a review of our functional movement screening and then a foam rolling session. Many of us runners already foam roll, but the techniques we were shown were great for getting a full body release, beyond just the lower body which I normally focus on. We were given these awesome backpacks which our Olympic Team was also given!

My favourite feature is the separate compartment for shoes or sweaty post-workout gear. The bag was given to us as a “recovery pack” and was full of of even more goodies. 

The next session was our pre-workout dynamic warm-up. I haven’t done one since I was leading the SC Robson training club runs, and it was great to get back into doing a warm-up that isn’t just running! The session that followed was probably my favourite part of the entire camp. Yes, a running drill! 

Inside the training facility there was a short straight-away track on the floor, it connects to the main track if the door is open. A perfect feature of the facility for our running drills. We did the regular A,B,C’s and then it got more challenging. They set out pylons and it would be A skips to the pylon right into a sprint or bounding to the pylon then a sprint. We also did a few where we start lying on our stomach and then pop up and go straight into a sprint. There was also a drill to practice the slight lean involved in the ideal running form. The coach would hold our shoulders and we would get into position and start running as they remained in front of us holding our shoulders and then they would step away and we would go right into a sprint. It was  a challenging workout and a lot of fun, I would definitely enjoy encorporating more drills like that into my training!

Next up was lunch, CSIO has a training kitchen where they teach their athletes how to cook (pretty cool!) and while we didn’t do a session on that, we did have our lunch in there. Lunch was prepared by the in house chef and was a variety of sandwich and wrap fillings to make your own meal and a couple different salads (all really good!). Through lunch I was staring at the clock waiting for 1pm when Seawheeze registration was to begin, turned out 1pm was only the start of my registration battle and happened during our 2XU product knowledge (PK) session. After some 45 minutes of anxiety I was able to register! We also had a brief lesson on choosing proper footwear, definitely important, but I know a fair share about that already. 

Then it was time for workout number 2: a weight training circuit. We were split into pairs and given personalized plans, some exercises used machines, some used TRX, many were body weight exercises, but it was great. Our afternoon burner (final part of the workout) was a battle rope session. This was my first time trying battle ropes and it was no joke! It takes a lot of effort to get those things to move! We did a couple variations on them, targeting different upper body muscles and were rewarded for our hard work with a Booster Juice protein shake and debrief. Then it was time for everyone to go back to the hotel and for me to complete my bonus workout: a run in the beach!

Day 3 began with foam rolling and a warm-up and I have never been happier to foam roll. I guess 3 workouts in 1 day necessitates it! We were split into pairs again and given another customized workout plan, this one focused a lot on using resistance bands and body weight exercises, but there were a few machines used for upper body work and weights used for lunges. We will also be sent personalized workout plans to use at home!

Our burner was a guys vs. girls relay race featuring a weighted sled pull, followed by a sprint and then 20 medicine ball slams. It was a really fun way to end the workout and quite challenging also! 

Lunch was a similar menu to the previous day, only this time the venue was a classroom because during our lunch we had a presentation by one of the CSIO’s sports dietitians! I thought it was a great session to include. I believe many athletes underestimate the importance and impact of diet with regard to training and performance. The key points I took away were to eat more often, 2-3 healthy snacks throughout the day and to try and make dinner smaller. Having snacks is important to regulate blood sugar and keep energy levels consistent. Many of us make a massive dinner because we’re starving and it’s 8pm and we haven’t eaten since lunch at noon, but this can lead to eating more than we need. 

The next session was functional range  conditioning, very deep stretching held for long periods of time. Painful! During this session, we were called out one at a time to do our DEXA scan. This was to learn our body fat percentage and a variety of other information including the weight of each part of the body: head, torso, each arm and leg etc. You can only wear shorts and a sports bra and they take your height and weight and then you lie on this table while the machine slowly scans each part of your body starting from your head and working its way down to your toes. You have to be as still as possible during the scan and it takes about 8 minutes to complete. While maybe not the most fun, it was interesting to experience and gain insight into another side of what athletes experience. 

Once we had all completed the scan and the functional range conditioning it was time for a booster juice recovery smoothie (get those snacks in) and a debrief before camp ended! Overall, I thought it was a great experience. I learned a lot about my body and got to try a lot of new activities I likely wouldn’t have done otherwise. The coaches were super knowledgeable and great to work with. 

I would highly recommend entering this contest next year because there is talk of holding camp annually. It was really great to be a part of it this year, and I imagine next year will be amazing too!

Day 1 at 2XU Camp and Training Recap November 14-20

In my mind I am an Olympian, in reality, I am a regular person who has a serious case of the running bug. As a winner of the 2XU Camp contest, I got to experience life as a professional athlete for a few days. The experience began with a phone call from Nikki and Natasha from 2XU calling me to book flights to Toronto, no expense was spared as they booked me direct flights with advance seat selection. They also offered to pick me up from the airport. A few days later, a large box arrived containing several small boxes of 2XU products, so I would be able to show up to camp dressed in my gear once in Toronto. I felt like a pro already and I hadn’t even done anything yet!

The other participants stayed at the Delta and had a driver to bring them to the training facility, The Canadian Sport Institue of Ontario each day. I opted to stay at home since all my family lives in Toronto, so I could get my running in on The Beach. Thanks to my dad who took on the role of my personal driver, running partner and chef this week (though we did have an actual chef making us lunch during training too).

I’ll tell you day by day what the training camp consisted of, and I will also include my running schedule from last week.

Day 1: Tuesday

Those from out of town flew in on Tuesday, mid-afternoon. We met at CSIO at 5pm to start the camp. First there were intros from the coaches, Kris John Vargas of Basketball Canada and Chris Joyner of The Blue Jays, and then a tour from John, the director of business development at CSIO. The facility is absolutely amazing, hands down the most amazing training centre I have ever seen, and then been able to use! Many of our Canadian Olympians train there, especially the swimmers, the pools are stunning. Part of the centre is available for public use including a running track and gym. We were in the portion reserved for carded professional athletes, which was amazing! 

Following the tour, we had our weights taken and did our functional movement screening (FMS). FMS is a tool coaches use to assess their athletes at different points within the season. It is customary to do an initial one when off season ends and spring training starts in the case of The Blue Jays. The FMS involves 7 movements an individual from any country and background naturally learns to do at an early age. However, as we age, it becomes harder to do these movements without practising them. Each movement is scored from 0 to 3 depending on if/ how well you can do it. The purpose is to notice any imbalances in the body between the left and right sides and determine the necessary corrective exercises for each athlete.

The 7 exercises are:

1) Deep Squat: a regular squat, but you hold a bar overhead, so your arms form 90 degree angles.

2) Hurdle Step: you stand behind a hurdle, the height is determined by the measurement of your leg from the ground to your knee. You balance on one leg while lifting the other leg off the ground, bending at the knee to reach over the hurdle without touching or looking at it and tapping your heel on the ground, before reversing the movement and returning to standing position. 

3) In-Line Lunge: you hold the same bar from the deep squat behind you, vertically, between your lower back up to your neck while lunging on a very narrow measuring stick. The distance between your feet is the same measurement to determine the height of the hurdle.

4) Active Straight Leg Raise: you lie on your back and lift your legs one at a time to a 90 degree angle. 

5) Shoulder Mobility Reaching: you start off standing with your arms straight out and form fist with your hands, then you reach one arm over your shoulder towards the ground and the other arm going up your back, you want your fists to get as close together as possible. 

6) Trunk Stability Push-up: similar to a regular push-up, but more challenging because you have to start with your hands in line with your cheeks, rather than under your shoulders. 

7) Rotary Stability: you kneel on the thin measuring stick and lift one arm and the same leg off the ground (if you can), alternatively, you do the opposite arm and leg, also called: bird dog. 

I scored 12/21. I was very even in my scoring between right and left sides of the body, which is good! However, my squats, lunges and push-ups need some work apparently. Some professional athletes score even lower than I did, but can still perform at a high level in spite of their inneficient fundamental movements! 

My running week was as follows:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 60 minutes easy, out to Ashbridges Bay and back.

Wednesday: 60 minutes easy,  out along Dundas to Broadview then down to Eastern ave to get back to The Beach (in Toronto).

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 60 minutes easy, same route as Wednesday. 

Saturday: 90 minutes easy, made it to sugar beach and back (in Toronto). 

Sunday: 45 minutes easy, run home from work. 

Total Weekly Mileage: 54.7 km

Stay tuned for part 2 of my experience at 2XU Camp coming later this week!

Training Recap November 7-13

Last week was pretty physically exhausting, my job is labour intensive and even more so this week. I am sure this week will be intense too, but for a different (much more fun) reason. 2XU Camp is this week, which you can read about here:

Here is what I did this week:

Monday: OFF.

Tuesday: 50 minutes easy, but I miscalculated the distance and it ended up being 60 minutes with a lot of hills. It was good and challenging.

Wednesday: Group workout which incidentally was more hills! We ran a route called the seven sisters, which like the name suggests includes 7 hills. It was great to have the group to do this with. 

Thursday: OFF, I needed this! 

Friday: I only needed to do 45 minutes easy, but a running buddy invited me trail running so we did 80 minutes instead, so worth it! Plus, my Sunday run was done early. This was also super hilly, lots of strength work this week, no wonder my legs are feeling it.

Saturday: Group workout, we did a 20 minute warm-up and then 3 sets of 2.5km at tempo pace and a 30 minute cool-down, it was a bit tough given the previous hill work this week, but a good workout as always. 

Sunday: 45 minutes easy, a commute run from work.

I also did 3 NTC core workouts, and 0 push-ups, my arms are too tired from all the lbs of vegetables I made into juice this week 😂.

Total Weekly Mileage: 51.6km

Tomorrow I am off to Toronto on a 6am flight for 2XU Camp! I will be sharing my experience on Instagram (@sydgo) and writing a recap here afterwards. 

Have a great week!

Sportchek and 2XU Training Camp Contest

In early October, Sport Chek and 2XU launched a contest to post photos or videos of “how you train” for your sport on Instagram. It was open from October 3-17, and I entered every day. As you can imagine, all my photos were running related. I entered for fun and when I enter contests like these I never expect to actually win as they are quite competitive with lots of submissions. 

Last week I got a message from Sport Chek informing me I had won! The prize is an all expenses paid trip to Toronto and a training camp from November 15-18 where we will have an “elite athlete experience” at The Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario. We will be working with 2 amazing coaches: Chris Joyner, the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Blue Jays and Krisjon Vargas, the athletic therapist for basketball Canada! The training camp looks pretty intense, but I am excited! Here is the schedule we were given for one of the big days:

2XU also sent a box full of goodies to wear during the camp, inside was: a pair of recovery compression tights, MCS cross training comp tights, an MCS cross training comp top, an ICE X Crop, an ICE X Top, and 2 pairs of training VECTR socks. They really hooked us up!

I am flying to Toronto on Tuesday at 6am and will be attending the camp until Friday! I will definitely be posting about my experience on Instagram @sydgo during the camp and writing a recap here after it ends.