Well I think it’s safe to say that winter has fully kicked in here in the UK. The temperatures have plummeted and illness is spreading like wildfire, if you’re not coughing and spluttering by now I’d say you’ve been one of the lucky ones. Even coach had to take a week off work with serious case of man-flu. We’ve also had to deal with an outdoor swimming pool with a broken heating system (now fixed) forcing many of my swimmers back into their wetsuits. Some swimmers were even spotted in neoprene swimming hats to stop their heads getting too cold.
November is an interesting month with only one Team Nagi athlete racing but easily the busiest month of year for me as a coach. The reason being is that October is a month of reflection and reviewing the past race season with each one of my athletes. November then becomes a month where the new plan is written and implemented for the season ahead. Most of the Team has now been back in training now for at least a few weeks and have been making great gains.
What is always rewarding for me is seeing them implement the new ideas and areas of focus for the season ahead. It really is the little things that matter the most, such as:
1: Getting more sleep & recovery
2: Making sensible training session decisions
3: Getting the intensity right for your current level of fitness
4: Getting the work-life-training balance right
So often you see this getting out of sync for age group triathletes and they end of trying to do too much with dire consequences. This phase of the year is not about volume, it’s about doing quality training that your body can absorb on a consistent basis. It should also target weaknesses that were clearly evident in your post-season review.
One of the areas I’ve stressed with all of my athletes this year is the need to take more rest and recovery periods. The approach will be different depending on the athlete’s training time availability and their work & family life. It’s often the area that most athletes neglect because they see it as a sign of weakness.
It’s simple, the more you train the more you need to sleep and there will be a magic number of hours that works for you each week. When you sleep more you get fitter and recover faster. There’s a reason that some of the best marathon runners sleep 3 times a day and it isn’t because they are lazy. If you are looking for a magic bullet for enhanced performance then this is it.
This time of the year should all be about establishing good training habits that you carry forwards into 2018, rest and recovery being just one of them. You should also be looking to build in a routine of strength and mobility work that will help make your body more bulletproof and resistant to injuries in 2018. This will also enhance your CV fitness giving you the physical strength to maintain your efforts for longer and with more efficiency. Create these good habits now and this will be the driving force behind a successful 2018.
Team Nagi international
As much as I’ve focussed on the colder training environments we are now experiencing here in the UK, I also wanted to show you some great pics of the environments that some of our international athletes are currently training in. Many have sent in some great pics so I thought I’d highlight some of them below.
First up I thought I’d start with one from London, this for me sums up the UK at the moment. This is our man from Italy – Stefano Lolli out for a Sunday morning ride, a photo we can all relate to.
If you thought it was cold here it’s even colder in Copenhagen, Sweden. Check out Elvira Stromback’s hardcore bike shoes!
Andy Rogerson has recently moved to Singapore and now has access to his own private 50m pool in the apartment block he is living in. I’ve told Andy we’ll be joining him for a Team Nagi training camp very soon.
We now have 2 athletes down under with Chris O’Neill joining Emily Loughnan (Perth) albeit on the opposite side of the country in Sydney. Chris is making the most of his time there and seems to be taken his post half-ironman recovery very seriously.
Loughers was in action at the weekend but this time on the other side of the fence. She was a helper at Ironman Western Australia, which unfortunately turned into a bike/run. A 2.5m shark was spotted close to the swimmers before chaos ensued and the swim was cancelled. The weather looked promising though.
Alex Tanti felt the call for some winter sun so headed out to Lanzarote to cycle on the moon, think the smile says it all.
Team Race News
There was only one Team Nagi athlete racing this month and that was Chris O’Neill and the Sydney 70.3. Chris has just moved from London to the UK and it is safe to is loving the triathlon life out there as you will read below. He then backed this up on a brutally hot day to come out with a new PB over the 70.3 distance. Great work Chris!
– Chris O’Neill (50-54) 6:09:02 (Swim 43:35 / Bike 2:53:51/run 2:25:56)
Q & A with Team Nagi athlete down under Chris O’Neill
Years in triathlon:
Director of my own wine company in the wine trade for 28 years.
In another life you would have been a…..?
I would have liked to have been involved in something to do with swimming, this is when I feel happiest and at my most content.
Favourite training session:
Long distance endurance swimming , the longer the better. This is where I can switch off and be in my happy zone.
Least favourite training session:
Running intervals on the treadmill as I like to train as much as possible outdoors.
Favourite training track:
Pacific (Freemasons) & Bedrock (For what you dream of full on Renaissance mix).
Favourite training venue/location:
The Royal National Park, South of Sydney in the Sutherland Shire. This is a 75km ride and once you enter it you feel like you are in another world, the wildlife and the sounds you hear are unbelievable. The beauty of Mother Nature really is outstanding.
You’ve just made the big jump and moved from London to Sydney, how is this working out for you?
So far so good, still have to pinch myself at times that it is actually happening. My friends here have been an enormous help, they are also my racing buddies so I have been able to fit into the big triathlon community really well. This has given me time to achieve some of my ambitions whilst having fun and thinking of the future.
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be?
These 3 people would be great to have to dinner with, just laughing to myself thinking of the conversations: Martin Strel (swimming legend), Robbie Williams and Prince William.
Training hours per week:
12-14 hours per week.
How was your training build up to Sydney 70.3?
I had to be very cautious coming off the back of the UK season and heading into the start of the season here. The climate was also extremely warm so I used a training camp in Adelaide to acclimatize to the heat and wind. I then did the Long Course Weekend in Jervis Bay that helped me feel more comfortable. Then 4 weeks before the race I caught a chest infection that lasted for 2 weeks so my preparation was far from ideal. This cleared up and I just focussed on getting healthy again before the race with some easy training.
What were your race goals?
To have a comfortable non-wetsuit swim for the first time whilst controlling my pace and breathing. This had been affected by the chest infection. Once I had conquered that I wanted to focus on executing a new hydration and nutrition plan to help me cope with the heat. I knew the race would be extremely hot so pace control was all important.
How did it go?
It was extremely hot! Once I crossed the finish line and they got some ice packs on me I realised that I had set a new PB of 6hours 9mins. This was down to some sensible decision-making, a smart plan and believing in myself at all times.
Getting my had together with Coach to put a plan together for my first Ironman at Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand in 2018.