Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – April 2019

 Hi Guys,

It’s that time of year when we start to nail down the details to prepare you for racing. Hopefully you will be coming off the back of a good quality off season and now you’re ready to reap the rewards from all of the hard work you’ve put in over the Winter months.

To build on this it’s important your plan now starts to evolve to the next phase, it’s an incredibly exciting time because it really does mark the turning point from just training to racing. This requires a whole new approach in thinking, preparation and planning. It also requires the development and refinement of certain skill sets that will help you race more affectively. Think of it as the time to refine your ‘race craft’. It’s an investment that will ultimately play huge dividends, don’t fall into the trap of just focussing on the training because it’s frequently the basic race skill sets that let people down.

There are 5 key areas that need consideration and evolution as you move forwards:

1: Equipment / clothing choices 

The golden rule here is if you plan on using it, test it.  Don’t wait to race day to try something it because it will invariably comeback to bite you. Considerations such as choices of race kit, wetsuits, runs shoes, run laces, bikes shoes, helmets, wheel choices, goggles all need to be tested and ticked off, racing then becomes more seamless with less worries. It’s often the smaller elements that can have the greatest impact on race day so don’t underestimate the above.

Further reading:
Dusting off the wetsuit

2: Technical skills development 

There are a whole host of technical skills that need refinement for triathlon from taking a wetsuit off quickly to mounting and dismounting your bike. A lot of these relate directly to what you do in T1 or T2 so transition simulation is incredibly important. If you are weak in this area then practice it in training.

You should also be incorporating sighting sets into your pool swimming to ease the transition into open water. Don’t just leave it for your open water swims sessions! If you want to get good at it and for it to feel more natural then it should be frequently practised in the pool. You can also practice using your wetsuit in a swimming pool, just take it off when it becomes too warm. Even a small amount of time will be useful.

Other key elements to practice will include puncture repair, open water swimming and refining your bike handling skills to suit the course you are racing on, especially if you are transitioning from a road bike to a TT bike position.

3: Race nutrition 

Again if you plan on using it then test it! This really can make or break your race at any distance from Olympic to Iron-distance. You will need a plan for fuelling & hydration. This will vary depending on the distance you are preparing for so its important to know what your body needs and what products work for you.

You should also consider how you are going to carry this nutrition and consider the best way to consume it. What drink system will you use?  How will you carry your gels, bars etc?

The sensible approach is to test it during your key race like sessions from week to week. You can learn from it then adapt it week to week based on what you experience. There are no golden rules, but there will be requirements, so find what works best for you.

4: Mental preparation 

Visualisation is one of the most underrated forces for success. If you can see it, it will be easier to execute it. The more you run through it in your mind the more it becomes autonomous on race day. Think of how your perfect race feels to you as you move through each element of the swim, bike, run and transitions in between. Make a list of positive affirmation statements or powerful words that will help keep your mind focussed on the task at hand. This will help you stay in the moment and help you battle back against any negative thinking.

As much as we want to plan for the positive you should also have a plan for when things go wrong. There is a chance your goggles could get knocked off in the swim, you could take a kick to the face, you might struggle to breath in the swim start, you could puncture at any time – the question you need to ask yourself is how will you react if this happens to you? There’s a right way (calm & controlled) and a wrong (throw the toys out of the pram & panic). If you have a plan already in place it easier for you brain to switch into the ‘do things sensibly mode’ so you can deal with whatever has happened much more efficiently and affectively.

Never forget, it’s your mind that controls your body.

Further reading:
Finding your psychological anchors

5: Plan for what’s ahead

As much as we want to plan focus success in races thought should also be given to how you want things to run in the days leading into your race. Ask yourself what the ideal race build up looks like to help keep you calm and relaxed?  What are the stresses you want to avoid ? By thinking ahead and implementing a plan you can avoid the last minute panic that often has such a big impact on race performance.

None of the above is rocket science, but it never ceases to amaze the number of athletes that leave all this to the last minute. They then end up having big issues on race day or during the build up. All of the above require the least amount of effort and time input to see significant improvements. So be sure to make time for all of the above because they can dramatically increase your chances of race day success.

Further reading:
If you can’t imagine it, you can’t execute it

Team Race News

Ironman South Africa

Two of our athletes raced in April, both Vicki Hill & Tash Jackson (aka Team Pocket Rocket) headed out to Port Elizabeth for Ironman South Africa. They both managed to put in 2 excellent performances against an incredibly tough field. The new bike course proved to be brutal with 1600m climbing combined with coastal gale force winds, the swim was also cut short due to conditions. Great for surfing but maybe not for swimming 3.8km. Thankfully both ladies survived and went onto conquer the rest of the race.


Special mention & huge congratulations to Vicki Hill who put in an outstanding performance to take the 45-49 age group win, booking her slot at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. Just rewards for her outstanding level of commitment she shows day in and day out. Let “Project Top 5” begin!



  • Vicki Hill 
  • Total time: 10:09:41
  • Splits: 38:40 swim / 5:55:41 bike / 3:26:12 
  • 1st in 45-49 category



  • Tash Jackson  
  • Total Time: 10:22:40
  • Splits: 37:00 swim / 5:54:38 bike / 3:42:09 
  • 8th in 30-34 category

Maybe not the perfomance Tash was hoping for considering some of the outstanding training she has put in this year. Rest assured this girl will be back with vengeance at Ironman Austria.


Book Recommendation

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 08.28.09

Deena Kastor – Let your mind run: A memoir of thinking my way to victory 

I read this book a few months and thoroughly enjoyed it. For those that don’t know Deena she is one of America’s greatest distance runners who was coached by one of the Worlds greatest run coaches – Joe Vigil. What I love about the book is the journey she went on from being a hugely talented junior to becoming America’s first female runner to win a medal in the marathon at the Olympic games. More importantly it’s what happened in this period in between this that will be so insightful for athletes everywhere. Essentially it was the massive failures she had that ultimately lead to her success after being on the verge of quitting several times.

A huge mindset shift was needed, she had to change the way she thought to get the best out of herself because it was her mind that was destroying her. When she took this leap of faith and started to think in a much more positive way about herself this ultimately transformed her running career and helped make her faster than she ever thought possible.

Team Nagi Athlete Interview – Rod Hamilton


Name: Rod Hamilton

Age: 52

Star sign:

Apparantly very very Virgo or so I am told.

Years in triathlon:

9.75 years (see above)


Oil Trader

In another life you would have been a..?

Professional Footballer

Who is your athletic alter ego?

I was recently likened to Marco Pantani (maybe more Pantstani!)

Favourite training session: 

Hard running intervals (don’t tell Julian!)

Least favourite training session: 

60 min run easy

Favourite training track (music!):  

Sandstorm  (Darude)

Favourite book: 

Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert

Favourite training venue/location:  

Hawaii but I will settle for Lanzarote!

Favourite race experience: 

Taking part in the Arch2Arc Team Relay (Run Marble Arch to Dover, Swim the English Channel, Bike to Arc de Triomphe in Paris) with a group from Shell and breaking the world record!

Favourite mantra: 

Apart from a lot of profanity usually aimed at myself! Stay in the moment/You can do this/You’ve got this/Just dig deep (I talk to myself a lot)

If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be & why? 

1) Nelson Mandela (to find out how to be such a class act)
2) Ernest Shackleton (one of the greatest adventurers)
3) Jesus (great story teller and can always lay his hands on good wine)

Training hours per week:  

Currently 14-15

What are your training & race goals for 2019? 

Unfinished business with Ironman France Nice. This time hopefully I won’t end up going over the edge on the switchback descent…hopefully!

Team Nagi out & about


Hardly recognised her outside of her lycra! Singapore based Vicki & Andy toast her race success with a much deserved pina colada


Tash (the Engineer) looking weirdly at home covered in dirt & grease!


Our Bev (aka Super Gran) at mile 20 of the brutally tough Big Sur marathon in California. With only 6 miles to go I’m very pleased to tell you she made it


As we all basked in glorious sunshine during the bank holiday weekend Steve was busy fighting gale force winds and freezing cold weather in Alcudia, Mallorca! Brrrrr


She went hunting Rhino at IM South Africa and caught one! Huge congrats to swim squad member Linda Blakely for booking her place at the Ironman World Champs in Hawaii later this year


The calm before the storm, Tash enjoying a very rare height advantage!??


“We’re not tensing honest Coach!”


It’s only taken Steffen nearly 12 months to get a kit bag with all the right kit #maleathleteissues (Coach does a back flip poolside)


Is there any end to this man’s talents ? Our channel swimmer Sami Roberston (& wife Georgie) strike a yoga pose. Not too sure about the dodgy shorts though or maybe he uses them for resistance swim training?