Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – February 2018
For many athletes here in the UK it will definitely be a case of good riddance to January & February and a very warm welcome to March. That was until ‘The Beast from the East” arrived today! With such treacherous conditions out there it’s safe to say that you should be keeping all training indoors, as pretty as it might look outside it’s just not worth taking any risks.
These early months of the year are still presenting the most difficulty in terms of training consistency. If you are experiencing this you are far from being alone. The main culprits are the weather and illness. As a coach I’m very looking forward to updating you on the fact that people are getting less ill because these past 2 months have probably been the worst I have ever seen in all my years of coaching. It seems people have experienced one thing after another…after another! Flu, chest infections, sort throats and colds have been rife and you’ve managed to be consistent through this period you’ve been extremely lucky.
Interestingly none of my southern hemisphere athletes have been ill during this period.
Illness is just one area of stress that can affect an athletes training consistency and training quality. What never ceases to amaze me is how athletes completely underestimate different kinds of life stress can impact their training. This can have a profound negative affect on their performance and their ability to perform in all areas of their life.
Stress can come in many forms, the key stressors that will have the biggest impact on training are:
- Lack of sleep/recovery
- Work stress/load
- Travel stress/jet-lag
- Relationship/family stress
If any one of these is out of balance it will have a direct impact on your ability to perform in training. Unfortunately many A-type driven individuals choose to ignore these factors and plough on mindlessly anyway.
It’s interesting how many athletes I see who are on a never-ending journey to find what the magic bullet is that will take their performance to the next level. The read incessantly, scour the latest triathlon magazines and articles for the next great training session or approach. But what they aren’t prepared to do is to look at some as simple as getting more sleep & recovery. It’s no surprise that athletes that place the least emphasis on sleep are usually the most frustrated with their training progress.
It certainly isn’t for a lack of effort.
Fortunately there now seems to be a paradigm shift in thinking with regards to sleep, this has been a long time coming. We talk so much of developing the mental strength to go harder for longer, but I believe it takes even greater mental strength to go easier at the right time, take a recovery day or make extra sleep a priority within a training plan.
As a minimum I believe most triathletes should be aiming for 50-56 hours sleep per week. This can increase to 60 hours + for professional triathletes. I’ve seen many athletes that only get as little as 30-40 hours sleep each week but still try to maintain incredibly high training volumes. It’s no surprise many of these are constantly ill, injured, fatigued, unmotivated and completely frustrated at their lack of progress. The higher the training volume the greater the need for quality sleep, this is so your body can absorb the training.
The key is to monitor it and make adjustments on the move so you are responding to what has is happening on any particular day or over a series of days. Forget the “I need to get it done because its on the training plan” mentality, this is ‘dinosaur like’ thinking that is still doing so much to harm to so many athletes progress.
One of my athletes said to me recently:
“Coach, I’m stressed at work and working crazy long hours, I got 5 hours sleep last night so I’m going to take a rest day today and try to get to bed earlier tonight. Work will be really tough for the next few days beyond this so I’m just going to do easy 30mins sessions to clear my head because it will make me feel better. I will then get back on the plan when I’ve got through this short stressful period”.
This was music to my coaching ears for the simple reason that she knew this is what I would have wanted her to do This was actually the result of much brain washing from me and many more times where she had dug herself into a big hole previously. She then came back onto the plan when work stress was lower and she was back to sleeping her usual 8 hours per night. The result? She started to absolutely crush her key training sessions like never before.
So that’s your magic bullet right there for you and guess what? It actually requires the least amount of effort and is completely free of charge. So be responsive and don’t be slave to the training plan. When you start to make good decisions like these and trust what your instinct is telling you (it’s usually right but frequently ignored) you might just be amazed at what starts to happen.
Team Race News
It was so great to finally see some of out athletes getting out there and started to race again this season, this will continue to build and as race season approaches so watch this space. I wanted to give a huge special shout out to our man Chris O’Neill who is now based in Sydney, Australia. Many of you will have followed his progress this past year as he built up to the ultimate challenge of completing his first Ironman at Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand. I’m very pleased to say that Chris exceeded all expectations and put in an outstanding performance to finish in 14:24:20. He was absolutely over the moon in what was life-changing experience for him. Good on you Chris!
Challenge Wanaka – New Zealand
Chris O’Neill (50-55) 14:24:20 (1:23:44 swim / 7:12:49 bike / 5:36:17 run)
Our man from Italy – Stefano Lolli was also back in action with a fine early season performance at the Eton Windsor Winter full duathlon.
Windsor Winter fun duathlon series
Stefano Lolli (45-49) 2:22:28 (47:47 run / 1:08:53 bike / 23:29 run)
Rottnest Channel swim
Last up was our Aussie tough girl Emily Loughnan in her first race outing since Kona 2017. Emily was part of a 4 person team relay that completed the world famous Rottnest 21km open water swim in Perth. For many of you that read the news reports you will know a great white shark chased them along! This put an end to many people’s races as they were pulled out of the water. But not this tough team of 4. Nice work mate.
Q & A with Team Nagi athlete – Adam Bailey
Don’t know! Depends on which trashy mag I’m reading – sometimes I’m quoted as ‘Pisces’, sometimes as ‘Aquarius’. I tend to read both weekly horoscopes and then decide afterwards
Years in triathlon:
In another life you would have been a…..?
A Japanese sushi chef
Favourite training session:
Indoor treadmill runs in Third Space Canary Wharf with some epic dance tracks at full blast
Least favourite training session:
Outdoor bike rides as so much faff before and after the training
Favourite training track:
All songs by The Disciples
Favourite training venue/location:
Third Space Canary Wharf (anything indoors!)
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be ?
Training hours per week:
What events are you racing in 2018 ?
Marbs 70.3 in April
Boulder 70.3 in the summer
Turkey 70.3 and/or Bahrain 70.3 in the winter
What are your race goals ?
This year my goal is to get my first AG podium finish
You’ve made some pretty big changes to your training in the past in past 4 months and have been absolutely flying, can you elaborate further on this ?
Yeah sure. The key change is that I’ve increased my sleeping hours by about 3 hours every night! Looking back over 2017… I spent a lot of my previous season suffering from regular bouts of sore throats / flu / exhaustion. In hindsight, the cause of that was a rigid mindset focused on hitting target training hours, which meant I was regularly compromising my sleep.
Fast forward to 2018 I’ve been getting 8-10 hours sleep every night, depending on external stress factors etc. That has really required a big shift in mindset so that (a) I don’t view cutting back on training as a sign of weakness, (b) I don’t feel guilty for skipping a session if my body is crying for rest, and (c) I accept that life isn’t a spreadsheet!
What would be your ultimate triathlon goal ?
Be the best that I can be.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why ?
Mo Farah. Honest hard work gets results.
Team Nagi out & about
This will be a new section that I will be adding to the newsletter each month. Its sole aim will be a bit of fun to show you what our team are up to all around the world so keep those photos coming in gang. One of the team even managed to secure a date with a Rock God’s daughter, think the smile says it all!