Hope you’ve all had a great April.
I’ve no doubt of like me you have been absolutely infuriated by the weather we’ve been having, it’s been very British to say the least! Quite a come down from the two glorious weeks I spent in Lanzarote training where the sun shone every day. Hope is not lost though as there seems to be some warmer weather on the way.
What has been so good to see though is the boost in fitness coming through from the athletes who attended the training camp. It usually takes 7-14 days to shine through but when it does boy does it look and feel good. This just goes to show the huge value of a well-timed training camp and the impact it can have in taking your fitness to the next level. Whether you do this on a training camp or go solo, introducing big blocks of training can be the catalyst for big jumps in performance and should be taken at every opportunity. You just need to get creative if the time becomes available.
I guess this week’s big news has unfortunately all centred around doping in our sport. One of the top Ironman athletes in the world – Collin Chartier was caught and then admitted to taking EPO. He gave an interview to Jack Kelly in relation to this which I found extremely sad to listen to. That’s because only the week before I listened to another tragic podcast with one of New Zealand’s top runners Zane Roberston who had just been caught for the same thing. Their versions of their respective stories seem startlingly similar.
They had their reasons for doing what they did so I think it’s very important to listen to them to understand why athletes choose these paths. It’s as never clear cut as people think, in no way am I defending these athletes and their actions but if we are to help prevent it in the future, we must try to understand their reasons for doing it in the first place. One thing is for sure these guys will now face 3 types of people, those that try to understand and sympathise, those that want them burned at the stake and everything in between. Their actions will probably haunt the rest of their lives and you must question if it was even worth it. The backlash they face will go on for a long time to come. What disappoints me more is I feel that they only revealed a small part of the truth to tick certain boxes. I get a sense this is only the tip of the iceberg and more of their stories will be revealed over time.
My view has always been the same in relation to cheating, if you are considering going down that path you should probably step away from the sport or get some help because things have gotten out of control. The actions taking by these people are totally selfish & self-centred and ultimately their actions toxically effects everyone around them. It also pollutes the beautiful sports they participate in which have given them so much in return.
One thing is for sure, no sport is untainted by cheaters, I think people are being just a little bit naive to think that triathlon is free of this based on the outpouring I’ve seen. Wherever there is competition, prestige, fame, recognition, financial gain there will be people out there who are willing to take short cuts. Only last week a top female Scottish Ultra Runner was found to have taken a 2.5mile car journey during a race and then happily accepted 3rd place. She was a doctor in her local community. You’d assume a person in this position would have a little bit more integrity.
But this is human nature I’m afraid, not everyone thinks the same, not everyone’s motivations are the same and there are the few that for one reason or another chose to take different paths. We are all flawed in different ways, some are just way more flawed than others.
Drugs are something I feel very uncomfortable talking about in my newsletter because for me it’s always been the unthinkable option, but it is out there. It would be very foolish to brush it under the carpet because it is real and needs to be met head on. What I do believe is there are a far higher percentage of honest people within our sport that choose to take the right path and we should take strength from this. I also certainly don’t believe that to win at the highest levels of sport that you must take drugs like both have these athletes have suggested. That says more about their twisted mindsets because they became so desperate to win at any cost. For a whole host of reasons, they just stopped believing when things didn’t go their way. Only the very few can ever win and if that’s your entire motivation for doing a sport I think this is a very dangerous place to be in the first place. Sport about so much more than winning and winning doesn’t need to equate coming home in first place.
What really struck a chord with me in the Chartier interview was that no matter what he achieved in life and sport he never felt happy or worthy. This was a guy who had achieved some astonishing things including winning the PTO US Open last year taking home $100,000 in prize money, but it was never enough. I just couldn’t believe how sad I found this statement. But perhaps that’s the problem with perfectionism, nothing will ever be enough. It’s a tough weight to carry and I see this in a lot in age group racing. I struggle with this attitude as a coach because if you can’t celebrate your successes however big or small why do it in the first place? I can guarantee all these athletes who go through their careers with this mentality only ever get to a place where they feel like they’d celebrated their successes just a little bit more when they are older or wiser. They also realise that life can’t just be one dimensional in pursuit of success and the moment you lose the love for what you do then you must realise something is very wrong.
It also shows the need for tighter testing to control be put in place. Something that is very costly but is essential if we are to reduce the chances of this happening in the future. The short podcast below I’ll give you a good insight into this world, it also highlights some fascinating home truths about Colin Chartier’s background that very few people know about. There is far more to this story than I think he is letting on.
The race season has finally started!
No triathlons to talk of just yet but I promise you they will be coming in thick and fast over the next few weeks and months. Huge congrats to all that have raced so far, we’ve had some terrific results already. First up was Dr Andy Rogerson who seems to be well and truly tapping into that fitness he built on our Lanzarote training camp in March. Andy has a huge race calendar this year and these performances were just the confidence booster he needed after taking 3 years away from the sport.
Big up to Team Nagi newbie Adam Cook who put in a solid performance at the Dorney lake Duathlon. A terrific effort considering he damaged his ribs only a few weeks earlier whilst snowboarding.
I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Tom Haynes for going sub 4 hours at The London Marathon. What you won’t know is that Tom only came to me for coaching about 8 weeks before the race. He had been given a charity slot last minute and decided to give it a go. With very little run training to talk about up until that moment we came up with a plan to get him to the start line injury free and the rest is history!
Fife Centurion 25m mile time trial
- Andy Rogerson
- Total Time: 1:10:28
Scone Palace Standard Duathlon (10k run/ 40k bike/ 5km run)
- Andy Rogerson
- Splits: 39:56 run / 1:34:51 bike / 20:14 run
- Total Time: 2:35:01
- 3rd male overall
Dorney Lake Sprint Duathlon (5km run/20k bike/2.5km run)
- Adam Cook
- Splits: 22.57 run / 31:27 bike / 10:44 run
- Total Time: 1:07:29
- 4th in the 35-39 category
The London Marathon
- Tom Haynes
- Total Time: 3:59:40
Some of my fave things this month…
The man, the myth, the legend is back…and he’s well and truly rippling! Huge congrats on a brilliant 3:29 London marathon Tony Peach, just the kick start needed for the start of your Ironman quest in 2024.