Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – March 2020
‘Finding your way through’
Well what a challenge this past month or so has been for all of us. For me the true reality of the situation really kicked in with the Prime Minister’s press conference on Friday 20th March. This was where many peoples world’s were quite literally turned upside down. I felt like I was watching a surreal moment in our history, a moment none of us who were watching will ever forget.
This prompted many emotions in me, one of relief and the other great sadness. Relief in the sense that the decision was taken out of my hands to close down part of my business, great sadness at the fact that for many people who are in the same position are going to suffer greatly because of this. As always with pivotal moments in history there is an immediate outpouring of emotion, panic and confusion, which is totally understandable. We all feel it because it weighs heavy on us but rest assured it only lasts for a short period time. Once through it’s important we accept the situation and then start to make the best plan possible for finding our way through it.
It’s also so important that we all keep a very calm head in times of uncertainty. The levels of hysteria I’ve seen so far have been astonishing but so too has the incredible acts of kindness and humanity. We need more of this. I’ve felt incredibly proud of the way many of my athletes have risen to the challenge with their attitude to all of this. The levels of positivity many have shown despite their own personal losses and disappointments has been incredibly inspiring to see.
As athletes we also have to remember how lucky we are to have a sport like ours to go to in times of trouble. It’s always there for us, nourishing the soul, making us feel good and giving us structure and routine to our daily lives. It’s a lifestyle sport and we are all blessed to be part of it. So only be very grateful at this time that you have the comfort of this to help you through. It really is the very best medicine out there.
The past few days since the announcement have been crazily busy for me as a Coach. It’s been exhausting and challenging but this is something I relish. Every year I am hit with the unexpected with my athletes. Problem solving is in the DNA of what we do as Coaches and it’s our job to help our athletes find their way through when the dark clouds start to gather.
What is important to state now is the whole triathlon landscape has changed for this year. Many races have been cancelled, many more are going to be cancelled but I still hold great hope that there will be plenty of racing to come later in the year. Already we have seen in the past few days that races are starting to announce new dates later this year with some as early as July, which is a hugely positive step. I believe that there will be so many opportunities for athletes to get out there and race again this year. I will also be trying my very best to run my training camp in Lanzarote later this year.
This of course is the ‘long lens’ we need to look through to help us see what might be possible in the future. This will be ever evolving over the coming weeks and months. It will start to take on a clearer picture once we come out of the eye of the current storm we are in and we start to resume some kind of normality.
More importantly it’s the ‘short lens’ we now need to look through. This means finding the right weekly structure that works for you and being prepared to adapt this as the days and weeks progress. We need to be responsive, creative and innovative to make sure you use this period is used wisely. This has formed the basis for many of the conversations I’ve had with my athletes for the past few days. It’s so important that this time is seen as an opportunity because if this time is used wisely you can come out the other side of it a better athlete.
So how is this impacting you ?
Firstly many of you are now working from home and are unable to swim. This is interesting in the sense that you’ve now lost some major physical & mental stressors that impact training and recovery for other sessions. The first being the loss of travel commute time and the second the reduction of about 20-25% of your training through the loss of swimming. This increases your ‘energy pie’ for some good quality bike and run training combined with strength conditioning and mobility work.
Many of you will also have more time to train & rest in this period because of the above. How you do this will be specific to you as an individual but I would suggest if you have more time you could add more quality aerobic endurance work and aim to increase your sleeping hours (short naps are also a bonus). This will only help to strengthen your immune system. Comfortable pace conversational pace work at this time will be the name of the game. This will help build a huge aerobic fat burning base, which will form the foundation of the fitness you build later in the year. So if you want to get out for an extra or longer bike ride then do it, it will be good for the soul.
With many of my athletes we are seizing this opportunity to develop a specific area of weakness. This for many means placing a bigger emphasis on developing biking strength, speed, endurance and power. On the flip side more caution is needed for many in relation to running, especially if you have a ‘decorated’ injury history. With no races coming up anytime soon do you really need to be adding in lots of high intensity high impact work? The answer for many will be no, so keep running and do most of it at easy pace or ‘Granny shuffling’ as I like to call it. You could also use the MAF heart rate run principles to really make sure you are getting this pace right.
Of course a little bit of pace work is ok but keep it as a sensible pace click and aim for no higher than tempo pace (something with a good flow to it but not overly stressful). With many of my athletes we are really using this is a great opportunity to develop 70.3 or IM pace due to the inherent ‘slower’ nature of this running.
I would also suggest during this period you celebrate all the little wins that could contribute to making you a better athlete. Things like sticking to a daily routine, eating well timed meals for both for health and recovery (nice breakfast game Tash), napping during the day & sleeping longer through the night, ticking off all your sessions, making sure you stretch and roll after every session…do this and you’ll feel a huge sense of achievement at the end of each day.
It’s also such a volatile time that you really need to be kind to yourself. With the mental stress and anguish placed on many of you don’t expect to feel a million dollars in all of your sessions. You could find yourself feeling a bit flat, unmotivated, tired, heavy and just not able to engage…but that’s ok! You are not alone. The most important thing to do, is to do something. Even if that means going for a nice long walk in the park.
Also be prepared to adapt your sessions to how you feel in the moment. This might mean going easier or shorter or you might be so frustrated and wound up you might need a great release with some higher intensity work. For me it’s just a win-win situation if you get a session done and that’s the sensible way you all need to look at it. There is no such thing as failure during these extraordinary times.
I hope this all helps you in some way shape or form. There are so many people out there doing so many great things that I’ve compiled a list of my favourite ones below. These will hopefully give you ideas and answers to the queries I’m receiving everyday. If in doubt my door is always open so please feel free to contact me at this time, I will gladly help if I can. We will all get through this together.
Community, kindness and togetherness has never been more important. We will ride this storm for now and as with all storms they eventually pass and the good times will roll again. Keep that as a thought for now, it’s going to be one giant party when we come out of the other side of this and we’ll all appreciate everything in life that little bit more.
Take care and stay safe & healthy for now.
Useful training links
Team race news
Yes they did happen believe it or not!
It was so good to see that two of our ladies managed to get out and race earlier this month. They were two brilliant performances with Emily taking the overall win at the WA Time Trial Championships and Vicki taking the age group win & 4th female overall at the Metasprint duathlon in Singapore. Nice work ladies.
Western Australia 83km Time Trial Championships
- Emily Loughnan
- Total Time: 2:10:56 (New course record)
- 1st Female overall
- Next up: Ironman Australia
Meta Sprint Duathlon Singapore (3k/18k/3k)
- Vicki Hill
- Splits: 12:26 run/ 31:48 bike/ 12:24 run
- Total Time: 58:59
- 1st in 45-49 cat/ 4th female overall
- Next up: ???
All I will say about this beautiful yet tragic film is it really is not like any other surfing film you will ever watch. The film charts the life of one of the greatest surfing talents the world has ever seen and his battle with bipolar disorder and addiction. It’s brutally honest, emotional and delves deep into the surfing lifestyle & culture in Hawaii. Andy was a surfing genius and a tortured soul and I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to a man who brought so much joy to so many.
Book of the month
Being a Coach I’ve always obsessed about learning about the great Coaches of the world. Teddy Atlas has always sat towards the very top of that list. One of the greatest boxing coaches of our time and someone who was trained by arguably the greatest boxing coach of all time – Cus D’Amato. Cus was the man who discovered and nurtured a young Mike Tyson, Teddy was the trainer who trained him.
As far as life stories go this is up there with the best of them. To say Teddy had it tough growing up would be a huge understatement. He was a hugely talented boxer who’s career was tragically cut short through injury. His life could easily have gone in the completely wrong direction had Cus not made him an offer too good to refuse. This was a life changing connection that ultimately helped him find his true talent in life.
A truly brilliant read.
Athlete Interview – David Rueda
Name: David Rueda
Sagittarius by day, Scorpio by night (I was born right in between…).
Years in triathlon:
Five years. In 2015 I did my first sprint (Good Fri Try near Oxford) and my first Olympic (London –Hyde Park). I think that Olympic tri made me fall in love with the sport.
Professor of Biophysics
In another life you would have been a..?
An Astronaut, no doubt!
Who is your athletic alter ego?
Rafa Nadal. He is such a hard working athlete.
Favourite training session:
Taking my tt-bike for a spin 🙂 or a long zone-2 run on a nice sunny day!
Least favourite training session:
I sometimes struggle to motivate myself for long brick sessions. But when I finally complete them, they are most satisfying too.
Favourite training track (music!):
I listen to my friend DJ Noel. He knows how to ramp up the rhythm to finish with your session with a bang!
I have recently enjoyed ‘Dreams of my Father’and ‘Emperor of all Maladies’.
Favourite training venue/location:
Alicante, Spain. Has the sea for open water swims, beaches for seaside runs and mountains for nice hilly bike rides.
Favourite race experience:
Modena Half Marathon (1h30min) in 2013 and Mallorca 70.3 (5h35min) in 2018
If you could choose 3 famous people to come to dinner with you who would they be & why?
Barack Obama, Linus Pauling and Marie Curie. I think it would be a pretty unique conversation. Obama is one of my political idols. Pauling is the only person to have received both the Chemistry and Peace Nobel prizes. Marie Curie is the only woman to have received two Nobel prizes. The latter two are dead but this is an imaginary dinner anyway…
Training hours per week: 10-ish
What are your training & race goals for 2020?
To complete my first full IM in Emilia-Romagna in September. I will also compete in a couple of preparatory mid-distance races. Very excited about this season!
3 top tips for staying sane at home during the virus lockdown?
- Try to keep a regular routine (waking up/going to sleep at a regular times).
- Set a time and place for doing work at home.
- Take a few breaks at strategic times throughout the day to do your training and to rest.
Team Nagi out & about
Always good to see the sock game strong at times of crisis…guess who?
Spain’s answer to Carlos Acosta
Going for a run taking on a whole new dimension in times of trouble…or is it Little Miss Trouble ?
If you can’t race at Ironman Lanzarote then let the Ironman Lanzarote course come to you!
David I know there’s pepperoni hidden in the flat somewhere !
Who says you can’t have the brains AND the brawn ?!
A Coach always appreciates German efficiency & pool cleanliness – big thank you CP!
Victory will be ours in the fight against the virus!
Quarantine Day 7: Still smiling, nice work JJ!
Who says turbo training needs to be a solitary form of exercise? (especially when you don’t have much choice!)
Spice drawer game STRONG – Ok Louise I concede defeat on this one! (Battle of the OCD’s)
Unable to use the gym, Emma led her Imperial College “core strength” class over the internet instead. 26 people from her triathlon club were able to join. She’s been Nagi trained from an early age
Reasons to keep moving
Amen to that
My niece Mila in her safe place. We all need our tubs right now. There’s great strength in numbers so stay close everyone, we are all in this together.