Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – June 2021
Well what a month of racing it’s been, I’ve barely had chance to catch my breath!
Huge congrats to all of you that put yourself out there, your racing journey has well and truly started again. There was plenty of great performances on show combined with an equal measure of ‘ring rust’, but when you consider that many of you haven’t actually raced for over 2 years this was to be expected. One thing is for sure is that all of you will have many areas that you can improve as you move from one race to another. The cobwebs have well and truly been blown off.
And that’s the exciting thing about finally kicking off a race season after so long, so much can be improved on moving forwards. Getting that first race out of the way can often be a huge mental release for many because there are so many unknowns attached to that first performance. This in itself is enough to inhibit many athletes performance due to pent up anxiety and tension.
The process of refining your craft has begun and you need to look for the ‘smart moves’ moving forward that will help take you to another level of performance in your next race. Ask yourself where were you strong? Where you weak? Where can you be better next time? Then formulate a plan to tackle these areas; there is always something to work on no matter how successful your race has been.
It’s been a hugely busy month for me analysing athlete’s race performances something that is far more complex than any athlete usually understands. The reason being is athletes just have a very bad habit of looking at their splits and overall time to make a judgement on their performance. It does tell us something but it also tells us very little without context. That context has to consider the broader view of many things such as:
- How training has gone over the past 2 years during a worldwide pandemic wreaked havoc on people’s lives, training and psyche?
- How the training has gone within each discipline over the past 6 months?
- How the training has gone in the weeks leading into the race?
- When was the last time the athlete actually raced?
- How much pool time/ open water time have they have been able to fit in since lockdown and of what quality?
- What injuries/ illnesses has the athlete had in the build up?
- Did race week prep go well?
- Level of racing experience/ability?
- How did the race go, what did the athlete experience (athlete report)?
- What were the conditions on the day?
- Was the course short, long or the exact distances?
- How difficult was the course (flat & fast/ hilly/ rolling/ sea swim or lake)?
- Individual data analysis of swim, bike, run, transitions
- Race data analysis of age group to see how times/positions relatively compare
- Race data analysis of other groups and pro field relative to see how times/positions relatively compare
You see it really isn’t as simple as it may seem, because the bigger picture at play is so important to consider. When you take all of this into account the judgement on any race time can vary hugely.
Without doubt the most important area to consider is the athlete report. You simply cannot make a judgment on a performance until you have heard what the athlete experienced during the race. Frequently what seem like a poor or average performance on paper can quite quickly turn into one of the best races an athlete has produced because they dealt with so many foreseen or unforeseeable issues during it. This is where mental toughness and resilience is forged, through hardship and having to go to deep dark places. As coaches we appreciate someone showing real character to overcome adversity far more than any race position or time. It isn’t always about the numbers.
Ideally this race report should be written a couple of days post race when the emotional dust has had time to settle. This is because race can look very different once the emotion has died down and you can look at the bigger picture far more rationally. Then the performance can be seen in a whole new light. That’s why I always ‘listen’ to my athletes first and collect all relevant data before coming to any conclusions.
As with all of my athletes my message was absolute clear going into these first races…enjoy this first experience because you will probably never have a race like this one after waiting for 2 years. Do it with a big smile, have some fun and take in each and every moment. You’ve waited a long time for this so soak up every moment.
If can say you did your best at the end that’s all you can ever ask for, then you start the process of looking to see where you can be better next time. One thing is for sure the gloves are now off, the tension and anxiety is gone (well almost!) and now the fun and games can really begin as you start to dig that little bit deeper. The rebuilding has well and truly begun.
Team race news
Grafman middle distance
- David Magyar
- Splits: 18:06 swim / 3:01:19 bike/ 1:42:07 run
- Total Time: 5:21:38
- 3rd in 60-64 category
- Next up: Conquer the Chilterns middle distance
What a way to kick off a season with a podium in your first race back. Huge congrats DM on a fine performance that has come off the back of renewed focus on recovery, S & C and listening to your body this year. A new PB over this distance as well, brilliant!
Eastbourne olympic distance (Qualifier)
- Paul Harnett
- Splits: 23:26 swim / 1:07:04 bike/ 40:51 run
- Total Time: 2:15:43
- 2nd in 45-49 category
- Next up: X trail triathlon – Ashdown Forrest
Big up to our swim squad newbie for a magnificent performance at Eastbourne to gain qualification for Team GB.
- David Rueda
- Splits: 26:32 swim / 1:20:02 bike/ 48:36 run
- Total Time: 2:37:57
- 45-49 category
- Next up: Castle to coast 70.3
Think the smile says it all with this one. Our very own Mr Motivator doing what he loves most. A gutsy performance on a tough course and a new PB to boot. Bien hecho Daveeed!
- Jeremy Cole
- Splits: 26:37 swim / 1:21:02 bike/ 51:18 run
- Total Time: 2:40:01
- 5th in 60-64 category
- Next up: ETU Europeans in Valencia
Like a fine red wine, this guy just keep getting better with age. Another tough guy top 5 performance to gain qualification for Team GB. Nice work JC!
Eastbourne Sprint distance (Qualifier)
- Tony Jarvis
- Splits: 13:25 swim / 36:52 bike/ 20:34 run
- Total Time: 1:13:16
- 8th in 45-49 category
- Next up: Dorney Triathlon
The 2nd race of the year for TJ and what a terrific performance it was. Much improved from the first race and his first top 10 racing at this level as he continues to evolve. Well and truly in the mix now.
- Robert Hutchinson
- Splits: 14:19 swim / 42:21 bike/ 26:40 run
- Total Time: 1:26:47
- 60-64 category
- Next up: Mallory Park sprint qualifier
It’s never easy racing on back to back weekends but a really good performance none the less. Just outside the top 10 for this one but will be back pushing the top spots in the next one i’m sure.
- Toby Dean
- Splits: 12:36 swim / 37:27 bike/ 41:44 run
- Total Time: 1:34:13
- Next up: Mallory Park sprint qualifier
After a DNF in his first race due to a calf strain Toby bounced back in this race with a brilliant swim and bike combo before walking most of the run. So much more to come once he gets through this calf niggle. And yes he was that excited to race again he got dressed for the drive to it!
Dorney Lake Olympic distance (Non wetsuit swim)
- Joep Van Meerwijk
- Splits: 27:06 swim / 1:04:03 bike/ 42:19 run
- Total Time: 2:10:39
- 4th in 40-49 category
- Next up: Cowman 70.3
A huge PB for Joep and one of his big targets already smashed for this year with this performance. A tremendous effort. Daddy wasn’t in the mood to have his photo taken so Baby Cleo glad took the opportunity to step in and do the obligatory medal chew.
- Harvey Smyth
- Splits: 38:28 swim / 1:04:03 bike/ 42:19 run
- Total Time: 2:29:15
- 5th in 50-59 category
- Next up: A well earned break from Trainxhale
A tough day at the office with a non-wetsuit swim at Dorney Lake but more than made up for with outstanding bike and run performance for H. The hardwork you have put in and the consistency of it has well and truly paid off, very nice work indeed to go top 5.
Chalmondeley Castle (Middle Distance)
- Ellie Bishop
- Splits: 39:19 swim / 3:06:09 bike/ 1:46:28 run
- Total Time: 5:38:12
- 2nd in 25-29 / 8th female overall
- Next up: Castle Howard middle distance
- Tom Rolls
- Splits: 36:57 swim / 2:59:06 bike/ 1:55:53 run
- Total Time: 5:39:16
- 25-29 category
- Next up: Castle Howard middle distance
Team Bishop-Rolls certainly don’t go for the easy courses out there, in fact they go in search of the meaty tough ones! This race definitely proved to be just that. 2 brilliant performances and 2 new PB’s at this distance. Just to get to the start line for MB was a serious achievement in itself due to an injury but she toughed it out and got the reward. Huge congrats to both after so long away!
- Chris O’Neill
- Splits: 40:47 swim / 3:18:29 bike/ 2:17:08 run
- Total Time: 6:21:34
- 55-59 category
- Next up: to be confirmed….
Again another athlete coming back strongly from a bad run injury and lots of life changes in the build up to this race. So to kick off with such a good solid performance with less a less than ideal race week build up shows the resilience of this guy. Loving your work Chris.
The Outlaw Nottingham (Middle Distance)
- Splits: 34:03 swim / 2:36:37 bike/ 1:41:17 run
- Total Time: 5:01:29
- 45-49 category
- Next up: The Outlaw (Full Ironman)
JJ 2.0 makes his first appearance of the year and what a performance it was. An outstanding new PB and his fastest ever run at this distance. Plenty more to come as this guy as he continues to transform himself as an athlete this year. It’s been fantastic to witness and I take my hat off to you for the places you’ve been prepared to go to.
- Rod Hamilton
- Splits: 35:15 swim / 2:39:41 bike/ 1:48:01 run
- Total Time: 5:16:42
- 6th in 55-59 category
- Next up: Hever Castle middle distance
Another brilliant new PB for Rod at this distance. With a few tweaks another podium would have been within touching distance. Plenty more to come from this one has he continues to get stronger from race to race.
- Connie Tram
- Splits: 52:19 swim / 3:22:01 bike/ 2:14:47 run
- Total Time: 6:44:17
- 35-39 category
- Next up: The London Triathlon
If there was ever a performance that defined someones character it was this one for Connie. From the days leading into the race to race day itself, everything just felt absolutely rubbish and way harder than it needed to be. If you had read her race report you would have been amazed that she didn’t pull out during the swim. BUT she showed her character, never gave up and kept on pushing through when all she wanted to do was throw in the towel. Somehow she found her fastest ever run and came close to an overall PB…can’t ask for much more than that. Imagine what you can do when the stars align for you…
- Jim Butler
- Splits: 42:01 swim / 2:37:42 bike/ 2:01:34 run
- Total Time: 5:38:36
- 50-54 category
- Next up: Box End Olympic Distance
A very tough at the office for our JB. Many lessons learned from this one and plenty of fuel for the fire to comeback much stronger. It’s only a matter of time….
TV series of the month
This new brilliant swim series by Amazon charts the path of 3 of Autralia’s top swimmers as they try to navigate covid and qualification for the Tokyo Olympics. This is a gritty warts and all look at swimming at the highest level of. It also shows what elite athletes are prepared to sacrifice to try and achieve their goals. It’s also brilliantly narrated by Ian Thorpe as he serves as mentor to the Australians team. So good in fact I watched it twice!
There are few people in sport that when they talk everyone should try and listen to them. Dr Stephen Seiler is one of those people. His understanding of endurance sport is unsurpassed and is the reason why all the world’s top coaches hold him in such high regard. This is one not to just listen to once but comeback to it time and time again when you feel your ship has moved off course.
TN Swimmer Q & A
Name: Teresa Walton-Smith
Age: 56 yikes!
Star sign: Gemini
56 – I’ve always loved the water and grew up on the South Coast. During my childhood from May to September each year I would spend my weekends at the beach. The first thing my brother and I would do when we arrived would be to run into the sea. When we were young my Dad was brilliant at encouraging us, and making sure we didn’t drown…
I learnt at an early age to respect the water as the most fun times were when the sea was rough and the currents were strong; we’d almost get thrown on the rocks so we learnt to dive the waves and get out fast! When I look back on this time I can see that it was the perfect training for the start of a triathlon!
I learnt to swim properly when I was about 7, and when I was 9 my parents took my brother and I to a local swimming club. The pool was scruffy, the changing rooms dire and the coach Mr Perry was a lot scarier than Julian! He was very disciplined and made us work so hard that I remember getting out of the pool sweating!
I loved the routine of it all and still haven’t forgiven my brother for wanting to go to scouts which meant that we couldn’t swim with Mr Perry any more (he didn’t even keep scouts up!!) We changed to swim at a club closer to our home which was never as much fun. A couple of the other kids swam at county level and trained with Southampton but my parents wouldn’t entertain the early mornings – they were teachers and thought it would make us too tired for school.
I gave up swimming club age 14 in favour of the local under 16”s disco!! Galas and our main club night were always on a Saturday and the lure of rock n roll too much to resist!
Knowing how to swim has always served me well – I earned money through my student years as a lifeguard and I qualified to teach swimming at that point too.
I’ve never been the best but it has always been something I could turn to when I wanted to get away from it all or get fit and I think it has given me an inner confidence to always know that I could at least do one thing in life reasonably well… Being in the water is definitely my happy place especially when I’m using my snorkel.
I have been swimming with Julian before Team Nagi was even a thing. I discovered our coach in the gym of the Park Club when he was coaching his first 3 athletes (2 were my friends) to do a triathlon – Thames Turbo to be precise!! I began a weekly personal training session in the gym with our coach and even dipped my own toe in the triathlon pond for a while.
It was some time before Julian began to coach us in the pool but it was fun when he did, and it’s been exciting to watch him up his game ever since. I remember Swim Smooth training being a big breakthrough and exciting for all of us involved at the time.
It’s been amazing to watch Team Nagi grow from a small start and develop into such an fantastic community. I’ve watched that young boy from the gym (who was often a bit grumpy and tired from too much Ironman training) turn into an amazing coach who I’m pleased to still swim with today.
I love the structure and routine the squad provides to my week not to mention the amazing friendships I have made within it.
In another life you would have been…
A synchronised swimmer, a ballet dancer or a food stylist!
Who is your athletic alter ego?
Fallon Sherlock – Who became the first woman to beat a man at the PDC World Championships! She was always under the radar but eventually had her winning moment.
Favourite training session:
Plenty of snorkel drills followed by a long and steady main set with a build in pace.
Least favourite training session:
Simone Mitchell because I’ve watched her develop from a novice swimmer to an accomplished professional Triathlete.
Gold in the Water by PH Mullen
It’s a good one for everyone here.
If you haven’t read it Amazon says…
Author P. H. Mullen chronicles the journey of some Californian swimmers to the 2000 Olympic Games and presents one of the most powerful and moving sports books ever written. Boldly sweeping in literary power and pace, this startling book will permanently change how you view the Olympic athlete.
It is a fascinating world of suspense and emotion where human desire for excellence rules over all, and where there are no second chances for glory. But above all, Gold in the Water is a triumph of the human spirit.
Last book you read:
A novel called Hamnet by Maggie O Farrel
Favourite swim venue/location:
Probably the sea around the Greek Islands, I’m hoping to go on a Swimtrek week there in September.
Shepperton Lake for some local open water swimming.
And obviously our team pool for squads.
Favourite event experience:
Dart 10k – loved it…have done it twice and will probably do it again…
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be & why?
Chef – I love good food and I think that Marcus Waring seems like a genuinely nice guy who would be interesting to talk to and would give me tips on my eating goals. A driving force behind working hard in the pool is so that I can eat what I want.
Boxer – My husband Mike has an encyclopaedic knowledge of boxing, so this invite would be to keep him happy… I’d ask Lennox Lewis because he has won titles, had them taken away and fought back to reclaim them – I’d love to know how he got his head around that and would like to hear about his training regime not only when he is building for a fight but also when he is in maintenance zone.
Photographer – Gregory Heisler takes amazing portraits of celebrities, athletes and world leaders. He is funny, interesting and kind. I heard him talk recently and felt envious of the University students he now lectures on his craft.
Training hours per week:
Goals for 2021?
I’ve just had a foot operation so I need to recover from that first. Once that is out the way I aim to build my fitness and reach the potential that my body will allow.
My fitness has had to take a back seat over recent years due to family commitment and building my photography business from the ground up. That all feels more under control now so I’m ready to up my game in the pool – I’m not expecting anything amazing to happen and I think it’s going to take a while…but I’m hoping that one day our Coach might raise an eyebrow in my direction – when he does I’ll take it as a sign that I’ve arrived.
Instagram posts of the month
Team Nagi out & about
That’s what you call leaving it all in the pool…awesome work gents!
Post swim squad life (must have been recovery week)
Lucky slippers for race day
This man will always be inspiring the younger generation…and keeping them on their toes!
A Team Nagi first….a photo with Charlotte actually in it! (must have been riders high) Looking good too exploring the wild Scottish coastline 500.
He’ll do some damage with this bad boy
Mila’s Hawaii training has already started, she just doesn’t know it yet…