Team Nagi Coaching Newsletter – May 2019

Hi Guys,

May has been an awesome month for the Team for two reasons, firstly race season has exploded into life with some terrific early season performances and secondly we’ve just got back from phenomenal team training at Club La Santa, Lanzarote. I want to take this opportunity to thank the athletes that came out and performed so well on the camp.

There is no greater learning experience for me as a coach when I can watch my athletes perform day in and day out and this camp was no exception. What I love about Lanzarote is that it’s a training venue that will test you like no other, it’s both wild, rugged and beautiful at the same time and each time I go back there I fall in love with it’s moon like landscape that little bit more. The cycling is tough, probably the toughest I’ve ever experienced on any training camp this year with winds reaching 30-45km/hr daily. But that’s why you go there, because if you can survive a week of those winds and hills it will harden you like never before.

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What made this camp so special was the people on it, such a diverse mix of abilities, ages and personalities all with a common goal of becoming the best athletes they can be. There was much fun and laughter along the way combine with a few strops! (No names mentioned). But thankfully everyone came out the other side believing that they are capable of so much more. The camp stats were impressive with many swimming 25km, biking 470 km and running 50km over a 7 day period. It might sound a lot (and it is!) but when you factor in training at the right intensity (lots of low intensity work, especially with running), incorporate key recovery sessions throughout the day, focus on eating, sleeping and resting in between every session it’s amazing what the body can absorb. Also then factor in that you’ve eliminated the number one physical and mental stressor for all triathletes – a 40-70 hour work week then you can see how this is much more achievable.

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Most importantly for me as a coach it’s being able to help them develop their skill sets for training and racing on a session-by-session basis because I have my eyes constantly on them. It’s the simple little tips that seem to help so much, you then repeat these day after day and by the end of the week you have a group of athletes that can intuitively cope with any scenario that is thrown at them. The scenarios come thick and fast each day because it’s important to be able to teach them to respond and react in the right way. A great camp definitely isn’t just about swimming, biking and running it has to be about so much more if you want athletes to evolve to the next level. These are the key skill sets that will turn them into racing machines that will fear nothing out there on race day.

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I came away for this camp both motivated, rejuvenated and extremely excited about what’s ahead for the team this year so big thank you guys and girls for coming. Looking forward to next year already.

NB: I also wanted to give a special mention to ‘The Tramster’ (Connie Tram) who inadvertently became our camp photographer this year. She took the images I’ve included in this newsletter and on Instagram stories. Connie really did bring the camp to life in full technicolour for everyone and we all appreciated it massively. To capture these memories for everyone was priceless so a big thank you.   

Team Race News

Bussleton 70.3

  • Emily Loughnan 
  • Splits: 31:29 swim / 2:29:41 bike/ 1:26:06 run
  • Total Time: 4:30:48
  • 3rd Female pro overall

After a 12 month period any athlete would rather forget this performance was simply outstanding. To finish on her first pro podium when you’ve had everything and the kitchen sink thrown at you just shows the character of this girl. It’s a performance I know she wont take any comfort in because sets her standards high, especially at her home town race. But it’s a performance I’m extremely proud of because as her coach I know what she has gone through to get there. These aren’t excuses just a truthful reality that sometimes the chips aren’t stacked in your favour and you just have to wait and be patient until the tide starts to turn. Hang in there mate.

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Grafman triathlon (Team GB qualifier)

  • Helen Burton
  • Splits: 26:24 swim / 1:33:22 bike/ 1:03:05 run
  • Total time: 3:13:41
  • 2nd in 65-69 category (Qualified for World Champs)

Huge congrats to our training camp star H for qualifying yet again for Team GB to race at the triathlon World Champs next year!


Swashbuckler Middle Distance

  • Rod Hamilton
  • Splits:  33:12 swim / 2:47:71 bike  / 1:53:02 run
  • Total time: 5:14:06
  • 4th place in 50-54 category

So close to a podium finish for Rod but a cracking start to his race season nonetheless. After producing some superb biking on our recent training camp this guy will be more than ready for Ironman France in just a few weeks time. Go Rod!


Marlow Middle Distance triathlon

  • Jim Butler
  • Splits: 33:10 swim / 2:35:40 bike/ 1:37:07 run
  • Total time: 4:55:12
  • 40+ veteran
  • 5th position in category /14th male overall

Not a bad effort for Jim’s first ever triathlon as he makes the transition to becoming an Ironman triathlete from the ultra distance running world. Look out for this man in the future because he’s only just getting started.


Aix en Provence 70.3

  • Louise Bracken-Smyth
  • Splits:  38:57 swim / 3:17:10 bike  / 1:57:38 run
  • Total time: 6:00:50
  • 6th place in 45-49 category

It was an extremely tough day at the office for our Lou as the race was hit with 45km/hr winds on race day. But our tough girl dug deep and survived when she thought she was having her slowest race ever…but ultimately produced her highest ever finish. A lesson to one and all to keep digging deep when the going gets tough.


Mallorca 70.3 

  • David Rueda 
  • Splits: 31:47 swim / bike 2:56:42 / run 2:04:34
  • Total time: 5:44:01
  • 45-49 category
  • Mark Richards 
  • Splits: 31:48 swim / bike 3:03:32 / run 2:10:22
  • Total time: 5:58:57
  • 45-49 category

Huge congratulations to our boys David & Mark for finishing Mallorca 70.3 so well. Big shout out to Mark who also ‘broke his cherry’ and finished his first ever 70.3 race.

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Triathlon Du Chemin Des Dames

  • Remi Fackeure 
  • Splits: 26:04 swim / bike 1:13:14 / run 42:18
  • Total time: 2:23:24
  • Senior male category

A terrific first outing this season for our man in France. A great confidence builder as he starts his build up to Challenge Almere later this year.


Thames Turbo Sprint Triathlon 

  • Cian Brennan Gavin 
  • Splits: 8:08 swim / 43:32 bike / 20:27 run
  • Total time: 1:19:56
  • 30-39 category

Great work from our Irishman as he sets out his stall for his biggest season ever (or so he keeps telling me ;+)


Longhorn Half Marathon 

  • JJ 
  • 1:35
  • 2nd in category / 8th male overall
  • A great example of what being patient and learning to run ‘slowly’ can do for you. Congrats JJ on one of your best ever half marathons performances all done on some of the lowest intensity running he has ever done.


Book Recommendation

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It’s only a mountain – Dick & Rick Hoyt

I thought I’d bring out a true endurance classic this month that had a profound affect on me when I first read it over 15 years ago. I had heard so much about ‘The Hoyt’s’ over the years and their astonishing journey together first into marathon running and then into Ironman triathlon. I was then fortunate to meet them at a race in the US. What was so amazing to watch was the connection & bond between them. Rick didn’t need to say anything to his father he just communicated everything he needed to by the way he looked at him with his eyes. The love and bond between them was obvious to see and their journey together has become a legendary tale of a father who never ever gave up on his son, when others were telling him to do otherwise.

This really was the book that showed me anything was possible, it also made me even more grateful for everything I  had and was able to do with my life. They also became my go to inspirations when the going got tough in training and racing. I always used to ask myself in those dark moments “what would Rick & Dick do” and invariably I found the power to pull myself through.

Word of warning though, if you decide to read (which I can’t recommend highly enough), make sure you have a big box of tissues at the ready!

Film Recommendation

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Kim Swims

I’ve added this new section this month as this really interesting film has just come up on Netflix. One of my former swimmers has also trained with these guys when he lived in San Francisco (we miss you PC). It’s an incredible story of Kim Chambers a New Zealand born long distance open water, who is one of the few people to have ever completed the ‘Oceans 7 challenge’. The film focusses on her journey to become the first woman to swim 30 miles through a stretch of cold, rough, shark infested waters off the San Francisco coast. It’s a fascinating insight into her world and this challenge she has set herself. Rest assured it will have your palms and feet sweating!

Team Nagi Athlete Interview – Jim Butler


Name: Jim Butler

Age: 49

Star sign:

Pisces, maybe that’s where the love of being in the water comes from.

Years in triathlon:

Errr zero years.  Serious training and commitment to an event started in December 2018 and my first event was in May this year.  So I’m as green as they come.


Enterprise Business Director in the UK, for the World’s largest Cyber Security Company, Palo Alto Networks.

In another life you would have been a…?

A dream would have been to Pilot an Air Ambulance helicopter or Skipper a Lifeboat to help others whilst being challenged with new situations every day, whatever the weather.

Who is your athletic alter ego? 

It would have to be Mark Cavendish. A little guy that came from humble beginnings and who’s always pushing through the pack.

Favourite training session: 

Long bike, as I’ve entered Triathlon from a love of cycling and I’m now really enjoying the sessions on my Trek Speed Concept which the team at Swift Cycles Built for me earlier in the year.

Least favourite training session:  

Progressive Intensity Swim, which needs my complete mental application to make sure I don’t get lost in the sets.  I’m sure over time I’ll get tuned in to these session as I do enjoy my swims.

Favourite training track (music!):

I’m a big Spotify user and “House Werk”is one of my favorite playlists when I’m training.  Highly recommend for any house fans.

Favourite book:

The Tides Ending by BB

Favourite training venue/location:

I spend a lot of time running and cycling in the Chilterns which offers some fantastic trail running, particularly around Ivinghoe Beacon and offers plenty of climbs to get the legs pumping on the bike.  Just keep an eye out for those big herds of fallow deer when you’re out running in the depths of winter.

Favourite race experience: 

Marlow Half Iron in May was my very first multi-sport race and I just loved every minute of it, so much more fun than running and cycling events that I’ve entered in the past. By the time I’d made it through the swim in the middle of the pack and got to  T1 I had my race face on and was up for having a tear around the bike course. Fortunately, I didn’t completely destroy myself on the bike and managed to hold a reasonable pace on the run and nearly fainted when my Garmin popped up 4h:55min as I hit the stop button at the end of the race.

Favourite mantra:

“It’s not over until it’s over”I’ve seen so many examples in both sports and business when those people that are deeply hungry for results create amazing outcomes through total belief and unwavering commitment, right to the end.

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

Steve Jobs to understand how he built his technology vision that arguably changed the world and influenced so many people’s daily lives.

Bradley Wiggins to get a deep insight to what really went on in the pro peloton.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes who’s like a human time capsule and tells brilliant stories of both his record-breaking expeditions and his early experiences in the British armed services.

Training hours per week:  12h –15hrs

What are your training & race goals for 2019? 

My main goal for the year is to complete Ironman Wales and hopefully post a time that puts me in the top third of my age group.  To achieve this I want to broaden my training to ensure I’m spending enough time on strength and conditioning to help me increase my run pace off the bike and remain injury free.  I’m also planning to complete one or two Olympic distance events to give me a bit more race experience and exposure to swimming in big groups.

I’m also running Marathon Du Mont Blanc in Chamonix which is a race I’ve wanted to do for many years and was fortunate enough to get a place in the ballot this year.  I’m looking at this as an enjoyable day out in the mountains and not taking the results too seriously, given the 2500m of vertical ascent I’m sure the legs will get a good workout even if the pace is not too extreme.

Team Nagi out & about


The creature from the deep was amongst us…

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Multiple brick progressive intensity day – Dusted!


That feeling when you complete your last but one session on Super Saturday – a 40k time trial!


Didn’t they do well, time to feed them.

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Huge congratulations to ‘The Hutchinsons’ Louise and Robert for two fantastic performances at the Team GB qualifiers at Dorney Lake recently both finishing in 3rd place in their categories. With Louise claiming yet another Team GB slot I’m sure Robert’s confirmation wont be too far behind.


Huge congrats to new swim squad member Louise Scott who placed 1st female in her category in the Blenheim sprint triathlon on last Saturday …Bravo!


…and that’s a goodbye to this beautiful pool for this year.