Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – October 2018
The end of October is usually the time that I take a big sigh of relief as our triathlon season comes to a close in the Northern hemisphere. The relief is less because the season has come to an end but more to do with the fact that we’ve had some truly brilliant successes this year. I couldn’t be more proud of some of the performances I’ve seen, with many off the back of some very turbulent times indeed. The roller coaster of training and life never ceases to amaze me in the context of the athletes I work with and the fortitude many have shown this year has been truly inspiring.
A recent example of this was our British girl in Singapore (Vicki Hill) at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Looking back she very nearly had the perfect training year building into this race, her consistency and commitment from January through to October was nothing short of world class. All the boxes that could have been ticked were ticked and I can honestly say she barely missed a session, didn’t get injured at all and never got ill once. Then race week in Hawaii she came down with a cold and a sore throat. Whereas many would have well and truly thrown their toys out of their pram, Vicki to her eternal credit took this in her stride and stayed calm. She listened to her body and took my advice, resulting in her taking 3 days off training – something that is not easily done in a place like Hawaii 5 days out from the race! With 2 days to go she felt a bit better and did some light sessions. Then on race day she was rewarded for this approach with an 11th place finish and a 20min PB on the course against some of the best athletes in the world.
This was just one of many shining examples of our athletes showing the strength of character to find a way through even when it seem like the world was against them. Success rarely ever comes off the back of a perfect training build up and it’s usually the behind the scenes stories that would amaze you the most. To see the character all of our athletes have displayed this year when things haven’t been going so well has been nothing short of inspirational. It certainly keeps fuelling my motivational fire.
As the Northern hemisphere season comes to a close we will now move into a transition phase. October is usually the time that links the end of the current season with the beginning of the new one. For many it’s a month of resting, having fun, doing un-tri related things, losing the rigid training structure and breaking free to do what feels good. You’ve earned it so embrace it. My favourite saying to my athletes is go away and get ‘a little bit’ fat, they also need to take a good break from Coach. I’m more than happy to see photos and texts from them in this period with a cocktail in one hand, a big fat burger in the other whilst showing me their feet up in some sunny location around the world. It really is the best medicine possible.
I also tell them that a good end of season rest period should last about 3-4weeks, in that time they usually go through the following:
- The post race high
- The post race low
- The chill out, get fat & have fun phase
- The itchy feet phase
- Back to training
If you want your triathlon mojo to come back so that you are totally fired up for the season ahead you have to let your body and mind go through the first 3 stages. There is no time limit on this but the sooner you let go of your ‘focus & fitness’ the better, because to build back up again you simply must come back down first. Your body will need it from a physical perspective but just as important your mind will need it too, never underestimate the emotional toll a race season can have on you. That’s why going through stage 3 is the best possible medicine to heal your mind allowing it to bounce back stronger. This is especially important if you want longevity in the sport, because taking well timed breaks are crucial to help you maintain that hunger.
Once you feel the itchy feet start to appear you’ll know that you’re ready to kick start the new season ahead but you need to be cautious. Many jump in too quickly and fail to put the right building blocks in place, especially in the first 4 weeks of training. You will have lost both fitness, mobility and strength so be sure to re-adjust to where you currently are, not where you were before. This focus should consistent of:
- The reintroduction of strength and mobility work
- Aerobic training (low intensity/low volume)
- Good technique & form
- Re-establishing good eating & sleeping habits
- Fitness for fun
- Going by RPE not numbers
- Trying something new like yoga, meditation, Pilates
You need to be cautious with a softly-softly approach but it should also be progressive over a number of weeks. If you push too hard too soon it will come back to bite you, so be kind to your body and let it reward you. ‘Fitness for fun’ is a great mantra to help guide your thoughts and feeling in this phase. Just enjoy the feeling of blowing off the cobwebs; getting a sweat on and waking the body back up again. If you do this you’ll start to feel really good after a couple of weeks and you’ll sense you are ready to push on a bit further. It’s no surprise that the feedback I get from my athletes is overwhelmingly positive in this period if they are patient and get this right.
Team Race News
Ironman Hawaii – World Championships
- Vicki Hill (40-44) 10:19:09 (swim 1:15:40 / bike 5:23:18/ run 3:31:23) 11th in AG
- Everything this girl has demonstrated this year shows she has the potential to be on that podium in Kona one day. We will find that performance soon enough, it’s only a matter of time. A season to be extremely proud of Vicki Hill, you couldn’t have given anymore.
European Duathlon Champs – Ibiza (Standard distance)
- Helen Burton (60-64) 2:24:26 (run 55:38 / bike 1:12:42/ run 31:04) 5th in AG
- Her bike was sent to America, Helen flew to Ibiza. But did this superwoman panic? No she didn’t and she still did it all with a smile finishing in super 5th position. Not bad for a lady that will move into the 65-69 category next year. An amazing finish to a turbulent year, time to enjoy some well earned R&R HB.
Challenge Sardinia Half
- Edoardo Mercadante (50-54) 4:36:34 (swim cancelled / bike 2:24:53 / run 1:52:38)
- After the disappointment of a cancelled swim and his first race in 3 years (due to achilles issues) our man from Italy produced an outstanding performance to place 13th out of 66 athletes in his age group. Huge congrats Edoardo.
- Tony Peach (50-54)12:13:57 (swim 1:25:19 / bike 6:10:19/ run 4:24)
- The man, the myth, the legend came through in true style at IM Barcelona. Not only did he put in a superb performance (despite a tough year at work that took it’s toll on his training) he also managed to look magnificently muscular while doing it. Great work Peachy Cheeks!
- Sandy Wall (55-59)15:30:20 (swim 1:19:39/ bike 7:26:46/ run 6:24:18)
- Huge congrats to tough girl Sandy Wall who completed her 3rd Ironman in a brand new PB time.
Challenge Mallorca Paguera
- Simon North (60-64) 5:45:06 (swim 33:27/ bike 3:09:34/ run 1:50:04) 11th in AG
- This race that proved to be the start and end of Simon’s race season due to a being held back with a run related injury this year. But he hung in there all season and produced his fastest run split ever over this distance. Great work Mr North!
- Annie Emmerson 3:03:50 – 1st in Category / 6th female overall
- Huge congratulations Annie on a gutsy marathon performance that included a new marathon PB. Just another step closer to that sub 3 hour goal, you will get there eventually ;+)
- Harvey Smyth – 3:29:48
- Kate Smyth – 3:31
- ‘Team Smyth’ linked up to take on the mighty challenge of the Amsterdam marathon and what a day it was. Two terrific performances, race goals smashed out of the park. Awesome work.
Q & A with Team Nagi athlete – Francesca Wright
Name: Francesca Wright
Star sign: Gemini
Years in triathlon: 15 on & off
Occupation: Nordic Walking Instructor and Personal Trainer
In another life you would have been a…..? Detective
Favourite training session:
I don’t have a favourite training session. It is the variety that triathlon brings which I like so much. I always look forward to the next session.
Least favourite training session:
Anything over 90% effort on the turbo is not pleasant and makes me feel claustrophobic. Great sense of achievement when I’ve completed it successfully.
Favourite training track:
House and techno for hard intervals and anything from the 80’s for the rest
Favourite training venue/location:
Club La Santa without the wind
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be?
Lance Armstrong, Jan Frodeno and Alex Zanardi
Is it true all Italian women are amazing cooks ?
Yes, and I’m the exception to the rule
Pasta or risotto ?
Training hours per week:
How was your training build up to Ironman Italy and what hurdles did you have to overcome?
I had a bike accident in 2017 and was unable to train until March 2018. I felt I needed to do an Ironman just to get past the accident, but the mental recovery took longer than the physical one. The main hurdle was going back on the bike
What were your race goals?
I agreed with Julian that the main goal should be to finish the race, and use it as a platform for the future
How did it go?
My main concern was the bike, but in the end it was the run that gave me most trouble. Due to the heat and some nutritional miscalculations, I walked most of the marathon
A couple of middle distance races and then an Ironman in 2019. To keep learning and improving. My long-term dream, and goal before I get too old, is to check out what all the fuss is about! The Kona Fuss.
Team Nagi out & about
Love at first sight, huge congratulations to Team Nagi athlete Paul Pulze on the arrival of his first born – Georgia Pulze welcome to the world! Mother, baby & father are all doing well….if looking a bit tired!
Team Nagi Male Calendar – ‘Month of October’
Vicki Hill styling it in Kona
Is it a bird, is it a plane….no it’s Bat Jo!
“10mins more swimming & I’ll make it home in time for the bake off”
Well-done boys! Huge congrats on 2 great performances at IM Barcelona…very proud of your swim performances – Charles Hampden-Smith & Pete Metcalf take a bow
Feeling the heat in the Natural Energy Lab
Thanks for coming over to swim with us from Lille – Remi Fackeure! Please bring more French chocolates next time :+)
Future channel swimmer extraordinaire, definitely showing his ‘pre session smile’
A woman of many talents that Becky Lockspeiser, I’m sure this was meant to be a yoga retreat?
“I will never compromise muscularity for speed” – My favourite Tony Peachism
Right let’s stick the new boy on the front! Great swimming Alex Tanti
3 x Ironmans – Dusted!