Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – March 2018
Despite being well and truly battered by the weather here in the UK this past month I’m pleased to say that many of our athletes are starting to develop some tremendous training consistency. The end of March really is a turning point in the season that marks the transition to slightly warmer weather, which results in a new level of motivation to get out there and train. It’s also the point in the season where the hard work that athletes have done through the previous challenging months really starts to bear fruit.
What’s been most impressive this past month is the way some of my athletes have responded to my previous newsletter (and ongoing brainwashing) about their attitude to sleep and recovery. In this past month I’ve seen most of my athletes hitting high 50+hour sleep weeks with another 4 athletes hitting an amazing 60+ hours of sleep each week. One of my athletes also managed to find ‘the welfare room’ in his office building where he now goes for a 15-20 minute power nap during his lunch break. He also discovered that there is also an ‘all faith room’ for meditation and prayer that he can use if the welfare room is occupied. Both are designed for workers to take a few minutes quiet downtime away from their desks, they also contain a sofa, armchair and black out blinds (I’ve requested they also put a bed in there for him). I love seeing this kind of outside of the box thinking because it shows an all round level of commitment that doesn’t just focus on the training.
It’s no great surprise to me as coach when I see these athletes who have the ability to listen well (a lost art in itself) absolutely crushing their training like never before. They absorb good advice and run with it, even though it might challenge them at first. They also exhibit a level of motivation and excitement about training that is above the norm. The reason for this is because as much as they are training hard, they are also recovering just as hard. When one is in sync with the other, that’s when magic starts to happen.
What this all comes back to is forming good habits that are consistent throughout the training process. It’s also about realising where you are weak and then committing to making this a strength. I am never more proud or rewarded as a coach than when I see an athlete working on an area that we have highlighted as a weakness. The reason being is because it takes great courage to focus on the things you are weakest at.
Forming good habits mean doing the basics right. We all know triathletes are prepared to train hard, but on the flip-side many seem to neglect or fail to be consistent in key areas such as:
- Sleep & recovery
- Strength & conditioning
- Stretching / mobility work
- Quality fuelling / nutrition
- Technical/ skills development
- Taking time for self-reflection & evaluation
- Giving good feedback (coached athletes)
When you add all of this up it forms a huge part of your training that cannot be ignored. You might get away with initially but it will usually come back to bite you. If there’s one trait you see in all-top athletes it’s the ability to be consistent with all of the above, they leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence.
So if you look at the areas listed above and consider yourself weak in any of them, make a conscientious effort to think of how you could improve these areas. Think baby steps first. If you do your training will become much more rounded & holistic. You then set yourself up for continual long-term gain and avoid many of the pitfalls associated with a short-term quick fix approach.
Team Race News
There were some really amazing results for the Team Nagi crew through the month of March. First up was our Aussie girl Emily Loughnan who produced two superb performances to take back-to-back wins on consecutive weekends at the Rottnest Swim-run event and the Karri Valley triathlon.
The Rottnest swim/ run is Western Australia’s premier adventure race and involves teams of two circumnavigating the island. It consists of 10 swim legs (total 4.4kms) and 10 run legs (total 28.kms) with a mix of trail running, beach running and road running. I’m pleased to say that Emily and her Team mate Gary Catounis took the win, they also smashed their own PB win time from the previous year by 20mins to go 3hr 13mins.
Loughers then jumped back into action the following weekend where she stormed to another female overall win on the brutally tough Karri Valley triathlon (1.5km swim / 60m bike / 12km run).
Not a bad start to the season mate.
- Emily Loughnan (30-34) 3:00:04 (21:41 swim/ 1:45:55 bike/ 49min run) 1st Female overall
I also wanted to give a big shout out to Team Nagi athlete David Magyar who faced his cycling demons and took on the mighty challenge of the 6-day cycle to Cannes event. I’m pleased to say that David managed to complete the event and has come out the other side a stronger cyclist for the experience. He is also the focus of the team Q & A below this month where you can read more about his journey. Great work DM!
Q & A with Team Nagi athlete – David Magyar
Name: David Magyar
Star sign: Taurus (I can hear you laughing, Coach! Need you have asked?)
Years in triathlon: 13 years
Architect, for more years than I care to remember. But I should point out that for me, being an architect is not really an occupation, it’s a vocation – I live it. I’m actually very fortunate to be paid for something I’d do for free, but don’t tell my clients!
In another life you would have been a…..?
A surgeon, like my father. To this day people talk to me about him and how grateful they were for what he did for them. If I had my time again, I would like to be able to do something which makes difference like that. Maybe it’s not too late to live another life!
Favourite training session:
Anything to do with running!
Least favourite training session:
Swimming drills involving the snorkel. I hate having things on my face, and the hard plastic against my gums…just doesn’t work for me!
Favourite training track:
Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics/Annie Lennox. Liking this track is not only a generational thing but dreams are what our athletic endeavours are all about and this song captures their importance in our lives.
Favourite training venue/location:
Can I choose two please, because I can’t really decide!? One favourite is the Caerphilly Mountains, which moodily stretch from Cardiff into the Brecon Beacons in Wales. It’s marvelous cycling terrain but also an area that simply lifts the soul! The other location is the hills above St Tropez, South of France – another place where I can escape (a bit warmer than Wales!) and feel how lucky I am to be fit and well.
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be?
One has to be Elizabeth I (I would ask her so many questions about strength, survival and belief she probably wouldn’t come again!), another would be Mies van der Rohe, the great modernist architect (I would want to quiz him about the Barcelona Pavilion and its exquisite detailing and spatial purity), and Vincent van Gogh (he’d add a bit of pep to proceedings and I’m sure his intensity would be captivating).
If any one of them couldn’t come, then Ghandi would be an awesome stand in. He might dominate the dinner table discussion a bit though…
Training hours per week:
10-14 hours when competing and 6 – 8 hours when not.
You’ve taken a bit of time out from triathlon to focus on this huge bike race, can you tell us a bit more about the event, reasons for doing it and what you feel you got out of it ?
For a number of years, I have been eyeing a cycling event which involves riding from central London to Cannes (called the Legal & General MIPIM Cycle to Cannes, if anyone wants to look it up). It is organised by property professionals, has been running for 12/13 years, and was conceived by cycling nuts as a challenge for cycling nuts and to raise money for Coram, a charity that does extraordinary work with children. You cover 1500 km in 6 days, so its pretty hard core – not for the faint hearted. Although its not a race as such, it’s a race against time to keep to a strict schedule to be able to cover the distance in the allocated time, so its no dawdle through the French countryside!
I did the ride because I needed to find an event which would take me well outside of my comfort zone, and help me to improve my cycling. I needed something which would help me focus on making a big step forward, albeit at the expense of some valuable swim and run time. To raise money for a good cause was of course an additional incentive and a bonus (nearly £750K was raised, by the way).
What I gained from all this is difficult to capture in a few words, but here goes:
- Immense satisfaction from following and keeping to a truly revelatory training regime, conceived by Coach JN – it tested me in ways I didn’t know were possible. The poor guy had to endure the agonies and ecstasies I went through, for which he deserves an OBE, knighthood, a new car, etc.
It was revelatory not just because of what I was able to achieve but also because, for the first time (for me), it was the ‘journey’ I enjoyed just as much – if not more – as the event itself.
- A new perspective on what it takes to get better. There really are no silver bullets! Its just hard graft…and more hard graft.
- I learnt that my cycling is better than I had allowed myself to think it was and the realisation that there is more to come has enthused me to try to build on this base.
- A new level of endurance. I always knew that cyclists were a tough breed, but now I know it even more! I wasn’t even close to the strength and endurance displayed by the club and elite riders on the event, but I hung in there and endured harder and longer than I ever had done before!
- To embrace leaping into the unknown. There is a part of me that is perhaps more cautious and reticent than I would like, and it was a liberating feeling to be able to throw those shackles off and love the adventure of it all.
What were your race goals?
To get to Cannes in one piece – I’m not joking! To do that, I felt I needed to be able to find a pacing that would allow me to stay in the heart of the peloton and at the same time leave sufficient energy in the tank to be able to cover the distance I needed to each day. If you fell off the back of the peloton you were put on the bus, so it was important to get it just right!
I was also determined to enjoy the experience and absorb every last detail of the event.
How did it go?
The ride was better than I could ever have imagined but also the hardest event I have taken on to date. It was the sheer relentlessness of the whole thing. Up every day at 4.45 am for a 6 am start, in what was (for 5 days out of the 6) shocking weather, and finishing at between 8 and 10 pm in the night. Little time for rest and recovery.
The low point was when I had a hypothermic ‘crash’ on Day 4. It was raining so heavily for the first stage of the day that within 10 minutes I was soaked through head to foot, despite my kit choice being the right one. Once the cold and wind had done their work, I was reduced to a shivering mess at the end of the stage and the medics whisked me away onto the coach to revive me. Even the event director was worried! But after a couple of hours, I had recovered sufficiently to ride the rest of the day.
The highs outweighed the lows though, not least discovering previously unfathomed energy stores, and resilience to fatigue and tiredness. The camaraderie and pleasure of riding in a peloton was a joy, not least learning from supremely talented riders and working as a team to drag each other through each day.
Needless to say, to end the ride in Cannes on a gloriously sunny day will be one of those to-be-cherished-forever memories. Chris Boardman – an absolute legend, of course – was in Cannes as part of the whole MIPIM jamboree and receiving his praise for the achievement was the icing on the cake!
I’d better be careful here…my wife will be reading this! Apart – need you ask? – from catching up with all the chores I’ve neglected for the last 5 months, and having to retrieve lost brownie points with family and friends who have put up with a middle aged lunatic in Lycra, I’m ready for a spot of triathlon again.
Come back swim, bike, run! All is forgiven.
Team Nagi out & about this month
I frequently get video’s sent in from our man in France – Remi Fackeure. They always bring a smile to my face but more importantly give a great window into where Remi is and what he is doing. I get swim stroke videos and turbo sessions videos which are all super useful so I can check his technique. Just wish he would avoid doing the 360-degree turns when running in the snow!
Alex Tanti looking super aero & strong after his latest bike fit with Richard Melik at Freespeed
Spot the super quick Aussie…..ready to wrestle sharks.
Everyone needs a supportive cuddle from a team mate at the end of a 4k swim set.
Ok Elvira Stromback, we believe you…Sweden does have more snow than the UK