Hope you’ve all had a great August.
As ever the team have been busy in action with some terrific performances. Huge congrats to all listed below. For many of you now will be the time where you will be taking your off season break before you decide to jump back on the hamster’s wheel once again. This for me is one of the most important times of the year for any athlete and for me as a Coach. The reason is being is we all need that break from each other to help refuel our batteries for what challenges you set yourself for the 2023 season.
My message is always clear to athletes moving into this phase of their training, you need downtime, you need to let go of structure, you need to have some fun and you need to indulge in the things you’ve missed the most. If your waistline increases whilst you do this this should only be seen a huge positive. I can assure after a couple of weeks or months of doing this you’ll get bored of it and then you’ll really be chomping at the bit to get back into structured training once again. Don’t rush, wait for it and be assured it will come to you when the time is right. Then it’s game on.
For those athletes still in training for events in September & October, this can sometimes be the very best time of the year to be training. The weather is good, cities become quieter, and you can just focus on the task at hand. August for me has always been a time I enjoy being in London because it feels so much calmer. So, keep smelling the roses whilst out there training people and appreciate every moment the sun is shining on you.
I also wanted to give a special shout out this month to Steve Phillips who achieved one of his dreams this month by winning a qualification slot to the 70.3 World Champs in Finland next year. There were only 5 slots available in an 45-49 age group that had 180 athletes racing it at Swansea 70.3. Steve finished 5th in the category to claim that final slot. For any of you that read one of my previous blogs about Steve you will know that a few years ago he had a horrific bike crash at 70km/hr which resulted in a brain injury and a long recovery period. He also seriously considered given up triathlon for some time.
The most important lesson that many can learn from Steve though was in learning how to train properly. When he first came to me, I was astonished at the amount of high intensity training he was doing and overall training volume (whilst running a business and bringing up 3 kids!). When I asked him about recovery, he just looked at me quizzically. Then when I looked at his race calendar it just seemed like he wanted to race every race out there, it just didn’t make sense.
It was crazy if I’m being honest but unfortunately, I believe these are mistakes that nearly 90% of age group athletes are still making out there every day. It’s painful to watch because for all this effort and sacrifice all you see is the over training and underperforming. Then you see the constant injuries and illnesses that are ever present.
So how did Steve do this?
1: By making sure is easy is actually easy and making sure this takes up the vast majority of his training to develop his aerobic efficiency. What he thought was easy was actually moderate effort training, the horrible grey area we see so many triathletes stuck in most of the time.
2: By factoring in regular recovery periods & a weekly rest day to allow his body to absorb the training.
3: By NOT focussing on his strength, the run, but developing his bike, the weakness which often leads to a stronger run
4: By pursuing one goal and not 10 at the same time i.e a complete 70.3 focus.
5: By reducing the high intensity work considerably in favour longer slower more endurance-based work (aka Z2)
6: By not focussing on numbers & data all the time and learning that RPE is your biggest friend when training so trust it.
7: By eliminating data and pre-set pace targets during racing to free up his mind to develop his racing brain.
8: By reccying the bike & run course prior to racing on it so that there are no surprises on the day.
9: By being patient, success doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t rush success or work harder to get there quicker. It takes time and years to achieve and there is no fast track to achieving this. Long term plans ALWAYS win over short-term ones.
Is he the finished article? Far from it. I’m going to push him further on each of these elements as we move into 2023. He’s taken a small step in the right direction and with more of the right kind of training it will continue to open the doors he would like to walk through.
The message is clear this initial success was achieved not by working harder, but by working smarter and by being patient. This is the key to success that many triathletes aspire to find but do their very best to avoid on a daily basis. It can be tough step to take as it was for me many years ago but the sooner you do it the quicker success will come to you; you just have to be prepared to take it.
- Charlotte Drummond
- Splits: 1:08:50 swim / 6:05:43 bike / 4:30:24 run
- Total Time: 11:57:03
- 30-34 category
To say Charlotte has been on a journey to complete her first Ironman would be a huge understatement. I first met her for a swim one to one a few years ago and knew immediately she was an injury nightmare waiting to happen. A very smart girl with very low athletic intelligence. More common than you can possibly imagine and that includes all you people with degrees, masters and PHD’s coming out of your ears!
When she told me about her training and injury history it was pretty clear what was going wrong, she was doing the complete opposite of everything I listed above. Eventually she came back to me and asked me to Coach her, and I made it pretty clear what was needed to help her move forwards. Bear in mind that she hadn’t been able to run in anyway shape of from for the past few years due to consistent niggles and injuries, a sport that she dearly loved. It took some pushing and shoving but once we established what her true easy pace was, the rest is history. She was running so far above this pace beforehand it was no wonder she had all the issues she had. Finding her ‘snail’ pace was crucial to her run success and consistency, we also eliminated ALL intensity. So, for her to run her first marathon and go sub 12 hours in her first Ironman is an outstanding performance. Nice work Princess, you did yourself proud.
- Splits: 1:06:11 swim / 5:24:37 bike / 4:42:36 run
- Total Time: 11:24:13
- 45-49 category
A PB swim & bike from JJ but unfortunately the heat took its toll on the run. That sub 4-hour run is in there one day and I’ve no doubt he will be back for another attempt moving forwards.
- Steve Phillips
- Splits: 34:13 swim / 2:46:19 bike / 1:25:56 run
- Total Time: 4:53:59
- 5th in 45-49 category
- Next up: Greece 70.3
Huge congrats on winning that slot Steve, hope it’s the first of many!
- David Magyar
- Splits: 40:06 swim / 3:18:05 bike / 1:44:10 run
- Total Time: 5:53:23
- 6th in 60-64 category
I could tell you how limited David’s training time is and how many hours he works each week, but the important thing is he has learned to work around all of this with a sensible balanced training plan that works with his life. He also enjoys his training more than ever because of this approach and the results are there for all to see. Huge congrats DM on a superb performance…that run was something else!
The London triathlon (Olympic + 1.5k/80k/ 10k)
- Neil Rowe
- Splits: 29:56 swim / 2:43:10 bike / 1:07:13 run
- Total Time: 4:40:41
- 40-44 category
- Next up: Ironman Barcelona
Another big step in the right direction from Neil as he prepares for his first attempt at an Ironman in October. Another solid performance and great to see you going from strength to strength at each race. Just keep that sensible head on for the remaining few weeks you have left, and you’ll put yourself in pole position.
The London Triathlon (Sprint)
- Tony Jarvis
- Splits: 12:47 swim / 34:57 bike / 22:52 run
- Total Time: 1:16:05
- 1st in 45-49 category / 7th out of 746 overall
- Next up: Box-end Sprint Triathlon
Your 1st win as triathlete is always a special moment. So, to be putting himself up there so soon in his triathlon journey is an amazing achievement. Huge congrats on a fine performance TJ. This doesn’t mean you can go on holiday before every big race from here on in! ha-ha
- Rohan Crouse
- Total Time: 7:03:02
A very big shout out to Rohan Crouse for completing a huge 21km open water swim in Sweden. Your dedication and preparation were absolutely faultless. I’ve no doubt you will be setting your target on the 42km version next time!
Book of the month
“True confidence is quiet, insecurity is loud”
Olympic running Coach & performance scientist Steve Magness takes a fascinating look at what defines and helps create mental toughness for high performance in Sport.
Grounded in the latest sports science and psychology, real toughness is about paying attention to your physiological, emotional, and psychological responses (from pain to anger) and working with them to overcome a challenge.
For anyone with insecurities regarding rest & recovery then the book is worth buying for Chapter 4 alone.
Instagram post of the month
Athlete feedback of the month
“No niggles today so all good and just kept it super easy. Held pace at 6.5mph! Felt really good about myself for staying slow – had you in my ear saying, ‘slow means slow!”
Team out & About
It’s good to have friends that remind you of where it all started…from a 9-year-old young whipper snapper to Ironwoman…it was written in the stars
What doing an Ironman is really all about…stuffing your face at the finish line
Does anything compare to a group hug from ‘The Flying Spaniard’ at the end of a swim squad session?
This sight will warm any coaches’ cockles. Let’s see if it continues through the Winter.
Younger brother shouts to TJ at the start of the London triathlon….”What position you gonna come TJ?”…good to see him backing himself!
Moody skies poolside during a red mist session
Available for hire, the best bike washer in Wales. Drop me an email for pricing.