Juliannagi Slider Img4

Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – Jan 2020

Hi Guys,

Firstly congratulations on making it through January!

This can be a tricky time for athletes everywhere for any one of a number of reasons. As a coach I generally see January in two phases based on athlete feedback, the first is the ‘feeling like rubbish’ phase followed by the ‘starting to feel good’ again phase. This is largely down to the post Christmas come down we all seem to experience. When you consider all of what that entails (over eating, drinking, family stress, illness, travel) combined with the fact it’s dark and freezing cold outside is it any wonder that you wont be feeling at your best?

The body and mind needs to quite literally detoxify post Christmas and you need to be aware of this tricky period each and every year. The key is to be patient and build back in slowly. Too many athletes slip into a negative funk, this gets you nowhere fast. Just accept it’s a short phase, take one day at a time and be sure to build back in slowly. Then as if by a miracle a couple of weeks in you are starting to well and truly find your groove again. In this phase numbers are well and truly irrelevant.

This year I wanted to help get my athletes out of their post Christmas blues as soon as possible so they could get really start to get excited about the season ahead. So on New Year’s Day they all received a questionnaire I wanted them to fill out. This was to really get them thinking about the type of athlete they wanted to become in the 2020 season and what they would need to do to achieve this. It also served as a very useful tool for me to get a deeper insight into what they were thinking and what their instincts were telling them. This kind of info is like coaching gold because as much as I have a vision set out in my head for each and every athlete knowing what they think and feel is crucial to help guide the training process. Their instincts are usually pretty good and when you listen to them you learn so much more.

The timing of this was crucial because it came at the very start of the New Year. The value of this was that it gave them a very clear perspective of how the previous year has gone. The ’emotional dust’ had now well and truly settled and it was amazing to see the clarity of vision that many were able demonstrate. They were so good, honest and insightful in fact that I’ve chosen two of them to show you below from 2 athletes at very different stages of their athletic journeys. One an experienced Ironman athlete chasing Kona and the other an athlete at the beginning of her Ironman journey going into her second Ironman this year.

What I loved about reading these was the brutal honesty of what needed to be done, this has clearly been thought through. What it also shows me is how much they want this and the lengths they will be prepared to go to achieve this.

The questionnaire was split into 7 sections, these form the pillars of outstanding athletic performance and they are all inextricably linked. I then asked them all to list up to 5 ways they could make improvements in each of these 7 areas. The message was clear was that it was the development and improvement in each of these areas that would help them achieve what they would write in section 8.

1: Technical skill development 

2: Mental, emotional, attitude development 

3: Nutrition (For racing, health & recovery)

4: Strength & conditioning/mobility/flexibility 

5: Recovery & sleep

6: Daily & weekly training approach

7: Racing skills development (Mental, physical, race week prep & planning etc)

8: 2020 Race goals (time goals/positioning): 

What’s been even more impressive to see is how taking to time reflect honestly like this has really helped fuel their fire for the season ahead. It’s almost as if writing all of this down has helped them create a guiding light for 2020. It has served as a motivational reference point for them come back to to make sure they are on track each and every month.

It’s a very useful task and one I would recommend every athlete trying, you never know what it might reveal to you…just be honest and then be sure to put actions to those weaknesses highlighted!

Athlete goals 2020 (Chasing Kona Athlete)

1: Technical skill development 

1: Develop ability to hold moderate and threshold intensity for longer periods on bike and in swim – to allow holding race pace to feel more comfortable

2: Develop and get used to higher arm turnover for 70.3 & IM race pace swimming. Target 70spm for race pace efforts?

3: Maintain bike-handling skills with outdoor ride at least once a week, on TT bike.

4: Practice comfortable hill climbing cadence. Base on Bolton recce with new rear cassette

2: Mental, emotional, attitude development 

1: Record and recap on positive steps forward in training on a weekly basis. Note in xhale weekly summary

2: Don’t allow negativity or attitudes of others affect own emotions. Restrict social media use to twice a day (morning commute and evening commute only!)

3: Read books on self-development – make min. 30 mins of reading habit during evenings. Current books in line: ‘If I could tell you just one thing’, ‘Essentialism’ and ‘The subtle art of not giving a f*ck’

3: Nutrition (For racing, health & recovery)

1: Create a set bike & run nutrition plan for 70.3 and IM distance. Start testing as soon as race specific training sessions start and refine towards race. Target suggested g/kg for carbs and hydration

2: Pre-plan post workout recovery nutrition (protein & carb intake within 30 mins of session). Take recovery shake, etc. to pool or for commute after turbo

3: Keep on top of hydration throughout working day by using re-fill bottle. Keep it on me for days out of the office

4: Always carry healthy snacks in workbags, for when meetings overrun!

4: Strength & conditioning / mobility  / flexibility 

1: Develop daily habitual exercises for mobility, pre-session activation and stretching – as advised by S&C coach. By making habitual for specific sessions, it will be easier to execute

2: Develop habitual self-massage (foam rolling) strategy.  Research best foam rolling strategy (AM, PM etc.)

3: Arrange regular monthly S&C session with S&C coach, with focus on areas which require work based on assessment and feedback from training (tightness etc.). Make sure these are in the diary ahead of time so that other life commitments don’t get in the way

4: Aim to get up and walk around at work once an hour. Start with every 2 hours and work from this

5: Recovery & sleep

1: Target minimum 8 hours per night. If early alarm is required for work reasons, go to bed earlier (prioritise over evening training if it comes to it)

2: Communicate work downtime/busy periods with coach so that training is balanced accordingly. Discuss during weekly call

3: Pre-arrange massage once a month. Choose day which works best with training schedule to ensure benefit is seen

6: Daily & weekly training approach

1: Prepare and be organised for training in week ahead each Sunday to allow sessions to happen without additional preparation stress. Think about meetings, travel etc. to ensure training can be easily executed and not compromised by lack of recovery.

2: Start noting RPE for training sessions, to allow effort to be monitored if it differs from target intensity of session

3: Assess weekly RPE, HR, work sleep and training motivation each week to allow patterns to be monitored. Fill out weekly summary on Xhale

7: Racing skills development (mental, physical, race week prep & planning etc)

1: Start developing and practicing race specific skills well in advance of race. Jumping on and off bike pre/post transition. Practice transition from swim to run and feeling of change in movement

2: Practice drinking while running – take water on long runs towards race season.

3: Plan/prepare race week activities (including taper training sessions) in advance. Plan timings so that periods of resting/off feet are not compromised by rushing around!

8: 2020 Race goals (time goals/positioning)

1: Kona qualification

2: 1st in AG at Liuzhou 70.3 – sub 2:30 bike + 1:30-35 run

3: IM UK 11hrs30 target? – 1:05 swim + 6:40 bike (tbc following course recce) + sub 3:30 run


Athlete goals 2020 (Preparing for 2nd Ironman athlete)

1: Technical skill development 

1: Bike handling skills: improve removing right hand off the handlebar (can barely drink, signal and feed using right hand!)

2: Bike repair: more intuitive and efficient changing of tyres and sorting de-chaining. Going to practice more

3: Transitions: faster transitions by actually practicing swim to bike & bike to run and making it second nature

4: Bike dismount: practice dismounting more efficiently (without shoes). Easier if #1 can be perfected first lol

5: Swim: learn to sight better (crocodile eyes) without losing speed each time from lifting head too high

6: Swim: better pull – anchoring down and pulling harder and finishing stroke

2: Mental, emotional, attitude development 

1: Confidence & self-belief: read more motivational books, being more consistent with training will help; think of difficult workouts to build confidence

2: Consistency: think work hard now, reap the rewards later (train hard, race “easy”)

3: Race organisation planning: plan ahead for races more (i.e. book hotel early, days off from work pre/post race, amenities etc)

4: Mental toughness: know that workouts may REALLY hurt but it’s okay! And that every workout may not be good but completing hard workouts will result in mental toughness

5: Mental toughness: do not be afraid to push it and test the waters and really go deep into pain when required

6: There’s no “am not looking forward to certain sessions”: completing them regardless of whether I like / dislike it will make me better at that discipline

3: Nutrition (For racing, health & recovery)

1: Racing nutrition: improve & learn from last year’s IM nutrition mistakes (esp on the run)

2: Balanced eating: eat a balanced diet but with much bigger emphasis on veg and pulses (flexitarian) and calories so that I don’t lose my period

3: Training nutrition: focus on eating the right foods at the right time pre-during-post training

4: Hydration: drinking enough liquids and water every day to keep hydrated!

5: Understand my cycle better to eat and perform better

4: Strength & conditioning / mobility  / flexibility 

1: S&C consistency: be more consistent with s&c throughout the training blocks; work closely with James to work it around my training schedule – get stronger!

2: Mobility / flexibility consistency: stretch and foam roll more often; prioritise these when watching tv. Focus on thoracic region and arm/back mobility

3: Mobility post-exercise: must always do at least 5 mins of stretching/rolling

5: Recovery & sleep

1: Eat timely and nutritiously 15 mins (protein) to 1h (carbs) post workout

2: Know body well to know when to take rest days / do easier sessions when not feeling fully recovered. Do not push through every session when feeling bad. Must keep some in reserve

3: Be more consistent with sleeping times: go to bed at 21:30, latest 22:00.
4: Taking recovery sessions seriously… especially post-race… recovery is where I get stronger

5: Fuel enough pre- and during- workout as and when the session requires it (fasted, non fasted, etc)

6: NAP more!!!

6: Daily & weekly training approach

1: Aim for consistency. Steady + consistent finishes the race

2: Think of every session as deposits; the more often I deposit into the training bank the more I’ll get back on race day

3: Think sometimes it’s ok to prioritise life / work / health over training and not feel guilty about it – it must be a balance for the sake of the mind, body and soul

4: Approach every day’s sessions and week with an open mind and a desire to improve (numbers are just numbers. Small improvements add up to big numbers!)

5: Motivation: know that after a busy day at work must switch off work and just get the session done

7: Racing skills development (mental, physical, race week prep & planning etc)

1: Planning and prep: having better planning for logistics/food/timings/travel during race week and when packing to maximise relaxation and calm during race week

2: Belief (mental): putting all training over the year into perspective – trusting in the training, control the controllables and deal with the un-controllables/unexpected (i.e. periods, bad weather, punctures)

3: Focus (mental): stop worrying about little things and everyone around me and focus on me, my race plan and what’s in front of me

4: Physical: massage 7 days out from race to feel better physically

5: Focus on gratitude and being thankful for my struggles

8: 2020 Race goals (time goals/positioning)

1: 13:30 or under IM Kalmar. I know it will take years to make dramatic differences so as long as there’s improvement in all 3 disciplines I will be happy! Though would ideally like to finish in the back-middle of the pack (rather than at the back!)

2: Build an even better base / strength to one day work towards taking on IM Lanzarote!

3: Become an overall better runner: feel stronger, better stamina, faster. Build a strong endurance base so I can go faster year on year

4: 70.3 = somehow beat 6h30

5: Execute my race plan!


Film Recommendation

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 10.52.46

 Andy Murray: Resurfacing

Love him or hate him this is a gusty warts and all documentary that charts Andy’s long battle with injury. The film is also a fascinating insight into sport at the highest level and what it takes to be able to compete. As ever he wears his heart well and truly on his sleeve as he reveals the mental & physical toll sport can take on the body & mind.

Podcast of the month

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 12.17.25

Rich Roll podcast: Lauren Fleshman

To say I’m a fan of Lauren Fleshman would be a huge understatement. Formally one of America’s greatest running talents she is now a Coach, Author, & Mum. She is also currently one of the greatest voices for female empowerment and gender equality in sport. Such a smart shining light in the world of athletics and a woman prepared to stand up and get her voice heard.

Athlete Interview – Joep Van Meerwijk

Joep 1

Name: Joep van Meerwijk, aka Joey

Age: 41

Star sign: Pisces

Years in triathlon: 5


Houseman, in other words unemployed

In another life you would have been a..?


Who is your athletic alter ego?

Eddie the eagle, participating is an achievement by itself. Plus I had the same glasses as he had

Favourite training session:

A cold, long run, don’t even mind if it has to be the granny shuffle

Least favourite training session:

Indoor biking. Even on Zwift with a movie it’s still …..

Favourite training track (music!):

Plug in Baby by Muse (you have to experience it at a concert)

Favourite book:

Sorry don’t read unless I have too, so a comic book!

Favourite training venue/location:

Running along the Thames between Kew bride to Putney bridge (both sides). Secondly the amazing 50 meter pool in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. You don’t find them like that in the UK, so clean so good

Favourite race experience:

Winning an Olympic Distance Tri in 1000 Island lake, China. Despite not having the urge to win anything it was surprisingly rewarding.

Favourite mantra:

Ignorance is a bliss

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

Donald Trump
Boris Johnson
Playmate of the Month (to increase the level of the conversation a bit)

Training hours per week:

Whatever Julian tells me, now around 10ish

What are your training & race goals for 2020?

Finishing my first Full IronMan anything else is secondary


Team Nagi out & about 


New bike delivery day…She’s worked hard for this and the joy is for all to see!


Christmas couple training/pouting


The start of the new bike process…


The end… and one happy athlete!


Bit chilly poolside today eh Miss Bishop?…just take a closer look at her feet…


Shock horror!


Couple’s who turbo together…where’s your headband Tramster ?

Screen Shot 2020-02-01 at 16.04.37

My fave insta post of the month….so True Ben True #instawisdom


A nice little message from one of my athletes