Hi guys,

Firstly, just wanted to wish you all a belated Happy New Year.  Hope you all stocked up well on some good quality food, drink and family time.

From what I see every year Christmas and New Year is always a very mixed bag for athletes. With very few being able to maintain the consistency they would probably like to achieve for all kinds of reasons. The number one reason for this is illness, and this year has been no exception with many of you going from one illness to the next in what can prove to be a hugely frustrating time. Very few are gaining in this period, and many are taking what feels like one step forward then two steps backwards. Take comfort in the fact that it’s not just happening to you but about 70-80% of athletes right across the country.

The good news is we are now slowly moving into that period of the year where fitness and consistency starts to build simultaneously. We are not fully out of the woods yet, but we are probably through the worst of it as people will be socialising less. You will also start to get over the post New Year hangover/ slump and will be progressively building up you’re training nicely and starting to feel good again. They key thing from here on in is to keep that momentum going and you will continue to get stronger from week to week.

For me personally Christmas and New Year has now become a time to switch off. I don’t write a December Newsletter for this very reason, as much as I like creating it it’s nice to have a break so I can focus purely on myself and my family time over Christmas. It just feels right to do this, I feel so much more motivated to get back into in when I do.

The other reason I don’t write something is because it will probably get lost in the extraordinary amount of new year’s resolutions postings that are just spewed out every year. Many of which are just saying the same thing.  The time for athletes to set their resolutions for 2024 should really be when they decide to start training again after their off-season break. The reason being is because once these are set it’s simply a process of continuing them into the New Year and beyond, why wait until New Year to set them?

Christmas is merely time of year that needs to be handled differently because you must be a little less focussed on yourself. Then it’s back to being focussed 100% on you again and what your goals are.

Probably by far and away the most useful advice I read for the New Year was provided by world renowned endurance sports scientist Dr Stephen Seiler. This was copied by a coaching friend of mine into one of his blogs and I’m going to copy it again from him because it’s so good (thanks Matt).

Here are Dr Seiler’s 12 lines to success in endurance performance

As a start to 2024, 30 years of thinking about and studying endurance training distilled down to 12 lines:

1. Start with universal good practices, then sport specifics, then individual optimisation.

2. Training is an optimisation challenge, not a maximisation challenge.

3. Focus on the big things first, not marginal gains. Think Maslow’s Hierarchy. That solves many problems.

4. A consistent and sustainable training process beats epic interval workouts for breakfast.

5. Simple metrics like program compliance tell us a lot. Keep the monitoring simple.

6. Good scientists, coaches, and athletes all share curiosity, deliberateness, and intelligent failures.

7. Triangulation and “Heads Up Displays” help pilots and athletes alike stay on target.

8. Detailed periodisation models are generally overrated and under-validated.

9. Rest days are highly UNDERRATED.

10. Physiology is COMPLEX, but training prescriptions should NOT be.

11. Think fewer Intensity zones, not more.

12. If the training PROCESS balances deliberate efforts, deserved recovery, & daily smiles, the results will follow.

Who & what I’ve been watching this month…

Former Team Nagi athlete and adventure woman extraordinaire Linda Blakely is back in action this month as she attempts to row solo across the Atlantic. To say I’ve been glued to her tracker would be an understatement. She has already been flipped over a couple of times and has lost 2 oars but is still going!

This amazing lady has already conquered Kona twice and if this wasn’t enough, she became the first British woman to climb Everest, then scale the world’s fourth highest peak only 24 hours later. She is also trying to break the world record for crossing the Atlantic, the existing record is held by Tori Evans and took just 40 days, but she’s had a very tough start.

To say Linda is character would be an understatement and she always makes for good viewing. She is also doing it for a very worthy cause. I’ve included some of her links below should you wish to follow her or donate to her chosen charity. Every little helps.




Go Linda, we are all rooting for you!

From one extraordinary (menopausal) woman to another! This is the amazing story of 50 year old Peloton instructor Sure Chan who decided to take on the what many regard as one of the toughest ultra-distance runs in the world – Badwater 135. This is a 135-mile run through Death Valley in California at the height of summer where temps can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius. Not for the feint hearted.

Bye Bye Barry (Amazon)

I had never heard of the American Football legend Barry Sanders before watching this film. His story absolutely blew me away, I was totally riveted. There are some things you never forget as a Coach when you first see it, watching Barry Sanders run with a football was one of the moments. The sheer athleticism of this man was awe-inspiring, he could do things I have never ever seen an athlete do before. He had it all, power, speed & agility that had been gifted from the Gods. He was also an incredibly humble man despite his talent, fame & fortune. Then at the peak of his powers as an athlete he walked away from the sport for good. This is the story of his life and a closer look at why he made that decision to walk away when he quite literally world at his feet.

A very interesting docu-film about last year’s men’s Ironman World Championships winner – Sam Laidlow. For many I’d say Sam is probably known as ‘marmite character’ within the sport as he seems to polarise people’s opinion of him. What you can’t argue with is the amazing young talent he is to win it at the age of 25. This is his story of what it took to achieve his dream of becoming Ironman World Champion.

The ‘Flying Spaniard’ was back in action this month kicking off his season with his first race of the year at The Dorney Lake Duathlon. He managed to finish in 1st place in the 50-54 category in 2hrs 30mins (48mins run/ 1:12:35 bike/ 26:36 run). Cracking effort Dr and even more impressive to see you braving the cold weather!

Huge congrats to our swimmer extraordinaire Sami Robertson who was competing at the Ice Swimming World Championships earlier this month. He came away with 2 terrific 40-44 age groups wins in the men’s 50m Butterfly (38:41) & 100m freestyle (1:12). He also managed to place 2nd in the men’s 1000m (16:14). Terrific work Sami!

Also, a big shout out to our Pocket Rocket Vicki Hill who seems to have become the poster girl for the Singapore PTO race ha-ha! Loving your work Vickster, big thank you for the free advertising!