Swimming, biking and running are activities that most pick up when they’re young, but teenaged Bytown Storm triathletes are getting a next-level look into the science behind their sport thanks to their training at Kanata’s Peak Centre for Human Performance.
Peak’s Senior Sport Scientist/Head Sport Performance Coach Brian Kehoe has run the athletes through a gamut of tests and analyses recently.
It starts with movement screening to see how they control their body and space, and how they work in a gym. An individualized resistance training plan follows, to help improve efficiency and decrease injury risk.
Then Kehoe takes them to the lab and collects a wide range of physiological data to track how their bodies respond to exercise. He tracks key indicators such as heart rate, carbohydrates being used, and expired oxygen/carbon dioxide, employing all kinds of high-tech equipment and gizmos that impress his young subjects.
“That’s allowing us to determine optimal training intensities, and fuelling/refuelling strategies for racing and training – trying to get rid of that guesswork surrounding performance,” Kehoe explains. “We’re profiling the athletes to see where these physiological landmarks occur, and then we’re training to improve them.”
Kehoe completed a sport and exercise science degree in his native Ireland, is now studying towards his masters at the University of Ottawa, and has worked at Peak for 7 years. He loves sharing his knowledge with the young Storm crew, and having that built into their athletic psychology.
“That’s so cool,” underlines Kehoe, noting sometimes older high-performing athletes come to him very fit but possibly very inefficient.
“Typically, they don’t get this support until they are at the top,” Kehoe adds. “For these athletes at the youth level locally, sport science just becomes second nature.
“It makes them more interested in the sport because they’re seeing this exciting background to it, and it also gives them something to work towards, and they perform better, which helps keep them involved.”