(SAINT JOHN, NB) As a coach, Jason Reindl logs a lot of kilometres.
Back and forth to practice, every day. Competitions almost every weekend.
The head coach of the UNB Varsity Reds track and field team is on the road… a lot.
Recently, he’s been on the road more than usual.
Reindl recently returned from a two-week warm weather training camp, at the IMG Academy, in Bradenton, Florida.
He was there with three athletes from the Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic.
Among the three, Victoria LeBlanc and Daniel Brown, both members of the Varsity Reds track and field team.
“We got in 22 workouts in 14 days, so really almost three and a half weeks of work in two weeks,” said Reindl.
While the physical work, in a high-performance training environment, will pay dividends, Reindl feels the fringe benefits will have the biggest impact. Those benefits include working alongside China’s 4 X 100-metre relay team and a Danish hurdler who earned a silver medal at the Summer Olympics, in Rio.
“We’re training beside them, we’re warming up beside them, we’re talking with them and they’re just realizing that the gap between their current level and that international elite level is not a huge divide,” he said. “There are gaps that we need to fill, but they’re realizing that it’s more their focus, their decisions. They control a lot of those gaps, and so those are where the long-term benefits play in.”
“It showed me all the hard work you have to put in to be a serious athlete,” said LeBlanc.
Like the Danish hurdler, LeBlanc specializes in the 400-metre hurdles. The Saint John-native spent a lot of time observing others.
“We were there to train, not for a vacation,” said LeBlanc. “It was awesome because there were many Olympians there, from all over the world. Being able to watch them train was an awesome learning experience.”
LeBlanc and Reindl both say they likely won’t see the physical benefits immediately.
The Varsity Reds will compete at Saturday’s U de M Open, in Moncton.
Those benefits may begin to surface at upcoming meets in Halifax and Montreal.
“I have not noticed any results yet,” said LeBlanc. “This training camp will not affect my performances until the AUS and U Sports championships, which is where I want to peak.”
Reindl is hoping for that same peak for Brown.
“Given this is his fifth year of eligibility, he’s focused on getting back to U Sports championships, and being more than just a qualifier. He wants to make the final, win a medal,” said Reindl.
For Reindl, the trip to Florida followed a ten day stint in Bahrain.
He was tasked by Athletics Canada to go to the Middle Eastern country to teach Bahrainian and Saudi coaches the finer points of performance analysis.
Reindl was chosen for that job, as he’d essentially written the book on analysis for Athletics Canada.
While he’s not travelling half way around the globe any time soon, Reindl is getting ready to spend the next three weekends on road, with the Varsity Reds.
He wouldn’t want it any other way.