Hope you’ve all had a great month.
I’ve just got back from the most glorious training week at home in Wales. As much as I don’t like taking too much time out this was much needed to help refuel the coaching batteries. What really talks to my soul is when I’m up in those Welsh mountains on my bike, running along the river Taff or swimming in the Olympic pool in Cardiff Bay. A change of scenery works wonders for the body, mind and soul. Wales is my go-to place for this so hope you managed to that special place that speaks to your soul and helps you recharge after a long season.
My athletes are usually in one of two places during August, they are either on a well-earned holiday, or they are still building up to their final A races of the season in September & October. One thing is for sure World Championship fever has hit us and there is still some incredibly exciting racing ahead of us. I always find it a huge source of motivation watching the best athletes in the world go ahead to head and we’ve been spoiled this summer with the brilliant new PTO Singapore 100km race, the 70.3 World Champs and then finally the athletic Worlds Champs in Budapest. They were as brilliant as they were controversial and hugely exciting to watch at the same time.
The timing of all of these couldn’t provide more motivation for our athletes still left to race this year. I hope you all felt the same and can use this inspiration for one last big push this year. I certainly know it’s got me fired up once again.
Ironman 70.3 World Championships (Lahti, Finland)
- Steve Phillips
- Splits: swim 35:31/ bike 2:23:45/ run 1:36:17
- Total Time: 4:46:04
- 45-49 category
A solid swim, a lifetime best bike performance and then then an absolute disaster on the run…although it may not seem that way when you look at the time! To say this is one of the gutsiest run performances in memory is an understatement. The reason being is another athlete clattered into Steve only 400m into the run causing him to fall over heavily on his ankle & foot. In his words ‘I was in massive pain so had to pretty much had to hop the half marathon on one leg”. How he got the through the run I don’t know as a visit to A& E would show that his 5th metatarsal was broken in 2 places. His run target was 1:25 so to run 1:36 is incredible. I tip my hat to you Steve, you really did go out with a bang!
- Charlotte Drummond
- Splits: swim 36:53 / bike 2:45:36 / run 1:50:45
- Total Time: 5:32:18
- 30-34 category
This World Championships experience has been a long time coming for Charlotte. This was her first experience racing at this level and so many boxes were ticked. Most importantly she enjoyed it, worked hard and felt satisfied with her performance. You can ask for no more. Terrific work Princess, one to be proud of. You more than earned the merchandise!
PTO Singapore 100 (Middle distance – 2km swim/ 80km bike / 18km run)
- Vicki Hill
- Splits: swim 34:13 / bike 2:33:37/ run 1:33:20
- Total Time: 4:49:18
- 1st in 45-49 category / 9th female overall
- Next up: Ironman World Championships – Hawaii
Another hugely impressive performance by this classy athlete to take the age group win by nearly 15mins in Singapore. If anyone managed to watch the race you would have seen one of the most stunning race locations I’ve seen in a long time. This was made so much more difficult on the day with blistering heat & humidity which took a serious toll on all athletes of every level. It really was the perfect hit out for Vicki ahead of the big show in Hawaii in October. Huge congrats on a superb performance on a seriously tough course in brutal conditions.
Challenge London Triathlon (Olympic)
- David Rueda
- Splits: swim 27:51 / bike 1:08:27 / run 51:09
- Total Time: 2:34:41
- 6th in 50-54 category
- Next up: Dorney Lake Olympic
Dorney Triathlon (Olympic)
- David Rueda
- Splits: swim 27:03 / bike 1:06:25 / run 48:21
- Total Time: 2:25:01
- 1st in 50-54 category
- Next up: Ealing half marathon
Great to see ‘The Flying Spaniard’ back out there once again taking the win at the Dorney Triathlon! One thing for sure, this man loves to race and race well! Great work Dr.
Eton Dorney Super Sprint – British Champs (400m swim/ 20k bike / 5k run)
- Tony Jarvis
- Splits: swim 6:34 / bike 16:18 / run 9:47
- Total Time: 34:57
- 1st in 45-49 category / 9th male overall
- Next up: Bournemouth Olympic qualifier
Nice little hit out for TJ ahead of the final big race of the year in Bournemouth. A small yet quality field was the perfect testing ground at this shorter distance, he came through with flying colours. All systems go for the next one.
Vidosternsimmet – 45km open water swim
- Rohan Crouse
- Total Time: 17hrs 50mins
To complete a 45km in the open water is nothing short of an outstanding achievement. I’ve had the pleasure of coaching Rohan for swimming for a few years now and he has continued to go from strength to strength. Last year it was a 21km swim in Sweden and this year he doubled this. They key really was in his tremendous consistency and preparation. He did it like a true pro and is to be applauded for such a well-rounded approach. Even when things didn’t go to plan in the final few weeks the tremendous body of work and consistency he built up earlier in the year gave him everything he needed to conquer this monumental challenge, bravo Rohan!
Hope you enjoy his swim blog below:
Where to start, I learnt so much from this outing.
Many people were getting themselves twisted about the weather and the water temperature. The water temperature was about 5’C cooler than what is normal this time of the year. Maybe I should have been a bit more scared of swimming in cold water for 17 hours. If I was scared, I wasn’t showing it.
I checked the water temp the night before and it was 15.4’C. That is pretty cold for someone training in a heated pools and warm lakes in the UK.
Anyway, I remember Windermere was around 16’C when I did it and I was fine with a wetsuit and thermal undervest. My decision to wear the undervest ended up being crucial. So many people did not finish because of the cold, including a few double-wetsuit-glove-and-sock-wearing Swedes who I thought should be used to the cold.
I normally swim without boots and gloves as I found that if my organs were warm the rest could get cold. That seemed to work this time, but boy was I cold during the night. My legs were shaking, and I had the whole face shiver thing going on during feeding. My slurred speech was the biggest giveaway though. That did not deter me as I knew I was still in control and did not have heavy symptoms of hypothermia. And I didn’t want to be shit.
This was the closest I got to pulling out but the thought of getting out and standing on the muddy banks of Vidostern waiting for someone to pick me up somehow seemed worse. So, I kept going. Just one more feed.
Lesson 1 – I can operate in cold water for a long time. It’s a miserable place to be but I can be there.
The swim was done in two legs; the overnight swim with kayak support and buddy and the second leg with the rest of the world. In my mind I thought the night leg would be harder than the second. And it was.
I paired up with a Swede who put down the same swimming pace as me pre-race and so we were selected to swim together at night. The rules say you can’t swim away from each other or the one lagging behind gets a couple of warnings and could be forced to stop. This was the hard bit to try and work through as I didn’t know if I was going to be the slower swimmer. We had to submit our timing to each buoy (22 yellow buoys marking progress) so the kayakers could row at the correct pace and harmonise out feeding schedules.
So, dealing with your own abilities, keeping up with a kayak, cold, darkness, pulling a 1kg tow float containing the very ‘practical’ GPS tracker and red flashlight and a swim buddy you’ve never met, all made for a very apprehensive start at 22:45 on Friday. Again, I didn’t give much away.
We agreed to swim at the pace of the slower swimmer, mainly for self-preservation. I could see from the moment we set off that I was holding a faster pace which changed the dynamic but meant I was constantly looking backing trying to ensure we all stuck together. This continued through the night but as soon as we caught sight of the halfway point I was allowed to swim ahead to get to the beach and recover for leg 2. He arrived 15min after me and unfortunately decided not to continue.
Lesson 2 – if you swim with other people, it makes it easier if you are the faster swimmer.
Feeding. I think this went relatively well. The plan was to feed every 40/45 min during the night alternating between 500ml of Beta fuel and 500ml of Active Root with half a tab of Precision Hydration and two gels. This was a tried and tested formula although I normally feed every 45/50 min. I adapted to match my swimming partner’s feeding schedule, but the 5-10 min difference caused me to load too much at the start and I started to get queasy about 4 hours in. This was also around 3am which is my worst time to be doing anything but sleep. Luckily, I could force a throw up and my body was very happy surrendering what was probably carbs it could not absorb. I felt better almost immediately and everything else after that stayed in.
At the halfway point my wife joined the party as support crew and got me a sausage sandwich that I washed that down with some Active Root. I also had salted liquorice (it’s a Swedish thing and definitely a love/hate food), pop tarts and crisps and this pumped me for segment one of the return.
During the second half I relied on checkpoint food and the Betafuel and Active Root alternation which Mon had ready. All stayed in on the way back. After the event I threw up three times and realised I had not taken in enough salts.
Lesson 3 – more salt, less Betafuel, feed 45/50 min. Calorie count spot on.
The way back.
I kept promising myself during the night that when I finished the first leg nothing would stop me from completing the second leg. My shoulders were feeling great, and I knew it should be 1’C warmer so the way back would be won and lost in my head. And I wasn’t giving up.
I got to the beach 20min before the start of the second half and it was just enough time to warm up in the sauna tent (yes sauna tent), scoff some food and clown around a bit. I was so pumped that I made it through the night with shoulders intact.
The plan was to finish, which took a lot of pressure off placement and time. I decided to feed properly at every station and take as much time as I wanted.
The road ahead was divided into five sections with the 5.5km between Tanno and E4 a particularly taxing one. It’s a long slog without taking water on and it takes you up to the ‘magical’ 66% of the event which I find mentally and physically the hardest. For me this is true for all events, two thirds in is the hardest regardless of the distance.
I knew the first segment of 3.7km would be easy, but the 3.9km one thereafter would be tough. Looking back, I was probably at my lowest point on all fronts at this point, not least because the next leg was 5.5km long and where I pushed too hard last year.
This year I rested well at Tanno and pumped the drink and salt and got music going in my headphones. Best decision.
When I got to the end of the 5.5km leg it was downhill. I knew I had an easy 3.4km to the next one then two 2.5km stretches.
The event was very well organised but not as claustrophobic as some of the events in the UK. They ended up having blankets and warm water for inside the wetsuits at every stop. Nice touch.
Lesson 4 – Depending on your goal, taking your time makes it much more enjoyable.
I was so positive during the whole second leg and I really enjoyed it, mostly because my shoulders were fine all the way through. I put in a sprint finish to fend off a keen 6km finisher and I genuinely felt as if though I could turn back and do it all again. Minus the cold.
Lesson 5 – Endurance and strength don’t disappear during taper. In fact, it seems that my endurance improves with tapering.
Lesson 6 – Trust the training.
Some of my fave things this month…
This one is up there with the best of the best of the Netflix sporting series. Even if you know nothing about American football this is a fascinating insight into 3 of the best American football players in the NFL over one season. No stone is left unturned and to say I found this gripping would be a huge understatement, I really wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much!
Undefeated heavyweight champion Tyson Fury retires from boxing to embrace the eccentricities of family life in this hilarious and heartfelt docu-soap. It also shines a light on what it’s like to live with someone with complex mental health issues.
Every now and again a book comes along that you just want everyone to read. This is historical fiction at its very best. It follows two sisters who live in Paris at the outbreak of the second world war and their experiences of German occupation. A book that will touch your soul in many ways. This easily goes into my top 3 favourite books of all time.