Monday, January 15, 2018

How are your 2018 training / racing / wellbeing plans shaping up for 2018?

Newsflash: we have some permanent places available in the following sessions - please email if you want one:

  • Tuesday / Thursday 615pm
  • Monday / Wednesday / Friday 930am

The Golden Rules by Bob Bowman (Michael Phelps coach) an excellent read - get it here (Jackson, 8, performing his best Phelps dive over a flamingo…of course!)

Dear Swimmers

I hope you've all had a great (hot) weekend and are "enjoying" the miserable (wet) start to the week!

I had an interesting conversation with a squad swimmer this morning (whom shall remain anonymous πŸ˜‰) who really confirmed some of the thoughts and rumination within a great book I've just finished reading by Bob Bowman, coach to 23-time Olympic Gold Medallist, Michael Phelps. The swimmer in question was keen to let me know about some of their lofty goals for the next couple of years from a health and competition perspective, claiming that if they did so at least it would then be "out of the bag" and that simply by letting one person know (and the Universe...) they'd be somewhat more motivated to pursue the challenges they had set themselves. I couldn't agree more - accountability is a powerful thing!

Ironically enough, only last month I decided to follow Bowman's sage (but simple) advice to turn back the clock and start to document not only my goals and aspirations for what is now my 40th year, but also the training plan that would get me there. This is probably not new to some of you who keep online records through your Garmin's, Strava, Training Peaks and the like, but in the same manner as Bowman, I have decided to go a little "rustic" and to start keeping a simple hardcopy training diary to plot my exploits; and you know what? It's really working out well! 

With this simple method of planning things out, recording how I feel, projecting what I should do next, I feel accountable for the first time in a good number of years. It feels great. Given the rather crappy 2017 I had where stress from various online matters of plagiarism and significant copyright infringements took precedence over my own health, I'm determined to prioritise my health and well being in 2018 and hope you will also join me in that quest for yourselves if you're feeling like you need to crank things up a bit again?

Let us know what you're up to in 2018...

So what training / racing / wellbeing plans do you have for this year? Have you written them down yet? Have you told anyone? Don't be shy - flick me through an email as I'd love to hear what you're up to this year?!

Of course many of you are not far away now from the Rottnest or Port-2-Pub swims and then later still the Busselton Half Ironman and beyond. You might be feeling like you're right in the thick of the "grind" right now, and whilst I wouldn't ever dissuade you of varying things up a bit to maintain the interest in what you're doing, the over-riding message from Bowman's book was how he rates Phelp's consistency and stoicism as the key attributes as to why he was so successful. And if it makes you feel any better at all, have a little laugh to yourself the next time you're feeling a little hard pressed during the grind of a hard Red Mist or CSS session by reading the comments in one of my Instagram posts below - imagine ONLY swimming Red Mist Sessions FIVE TIMES PER WEEK for 12-14 weeks:

It pays to read the instructions - imagine the motivation required to do 60+ Red Mist Sessions in a row without any other training to balance things out?!

What I'm up to in 2018:

As mentioned, I will be turning 40 in September this year, and in true midlife crisis fashion and given the rather rubbish 2017 I had, this year I'm setting myself some lofty goals.

On March 10 I will be partnering up with Brad Smith (12yrs my junior) and Rottnest Solo 2nd, 3rd and 4th place finisher as well as reigning recorder holder for the Port-2-Pub 25km swim to do the 2nd where I placed 4th last year with another Brad (Hosking). Brad Smith might be seen as a pure swimmer, but we've been training back on the bike and run together for the last 6 months or so and I have to say he's a bit of a weapon in both those two disciplines as well. Brad is a great training partner and someone I really admire as an athlete too, so let's see what we can do this year.

As if 42km wasn't enough of a SwimRun around Rottnest Island, following on from this I'm hoping to qualify for the World Championships in Sweden in September (birthday weekend and all…) and put myself through the following 10km of open water swimming and 65km of hardcore trail running as brilliantly depicted in this video below:

Watch the crazy 4 minute video from 2017's event in Sweden here

Mates reunited…

But here's the best part, my best mate from my University days / British triathlon team and partner in crime (as you'll aptly discover in the photos below), Andy Blow, will be my partner (injuries, wellness and qualification permitting) for the event. It's fair to say that Andy has kept himself in WAAAAYYYYYY better shape than I have in the ensuing 17 years since we each graduated with a bachelors in Sport & Exercise Science, so again, I'll be playing 2nd fiddle and hoping to not let anyone down! Andy has already finished Top-10 in the World Championships in Sweden with another of our former uni mates, so the challenge will be really on!

Here's some fun photos for you to laugh at and me to cringe over on this wet Monday afternoon (all in the name of you thinking similarly about how you might wind back the wellness clock this year you see πŸ˜‰) - you can probably see why we had the nickname "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum":

Embarrassing triathlon outfit photo # 1 (circa 1998) - Andy (L), Paul (R)

Embarrassing triathlon outfit photo # 2 (circa 1998) - I was so proud to be riding for Giant that year after having posted out >150 sponsorship applications and only hearing back from Giant! - Andy (L), Paul (R)

Celebrating at the "Blues Award Night" - the only two triathletes to have ever received a "Full Blue" for international triathlon representation (circa 2000)

How to crank the wheels into motion

If you get chance to read Bob Bowman's book I'd really recommend it. He's very much of the belief that a plan is not a plan unless it's written down. So here's mine, detailed with the hope that some of you might even consider joining me on some of my sessions. 

What does your plan look like? Have you written it down? Here's mine...

  • Monday - 10 x 300 in the pool at 545am followed by an hour or so "zwifting" (see below) at 730pm (when the kids are in bed)
  • Tuesday - repeat of the Technique / Endurance session you all do at 530/630am but at 1130am followed by some running intervals on grass / sand / hills before dinner
  • Wednesday - repeat of the CSS Development session you all do at 930am but at 1130am followed by a longer aerobic run through Bold Park before dinner
  • Thursday - early morning SwimRun practice down at Claremont Jetty followed by another hour or so "zwifting" (see below) at 730pm (when the kids are in bed)
  • Friday - a lovely restorative yoga routine at 12-1pm at 
  • Saturday - a long run and / or Zwift ride at some point during the day (around kid's activities)
  • Sunday - 2nd SwimRun session of the week - having some fun in the morning exploring Perth from this unique perspective

For me, getting creative as to when I do these sessions around work and family commitments is key (nothing new there to some of you), but here's the kicker for me and something you might want to ponder over yourself too…

I'm going to (try to) be satisfied with 80%…

I find it's so easy at the start of a program to be gung-ho but find that you're injured or sick when you really wish you were still cranking along. This concept of being satisfied with 80% is nothing fancy, in fact I read somewhere that a small community in Japan (Okinawa) which contains some of the oldest living people in the world, attribute their longevity to this life of moderation, especially with respect to not over-eating, its called Hara hachi bun me:

I've always been a 110% kind of a guy (and yet ironically tend to have much more sensibilities towards my athletes commitments, ailments and goals), so this year I'm going to aim to embrace some of the above and see what happens.

Would you benefit from this too perhaps? Not just in training, but in other aspects of your life?

Zwifting - the future of efficient practice and time constrained athletes:

As much as I'd love to push out my chest and say "yeah, I can run 65km trail for the ΓΆtillΓΆ no problem", this is definitely not the case. I haven't even run a marathon despite having swum many! To this end, for the last six months I've been back on my bike long before I started taking my first few running steps again. The idea has been to build up a little core stability in a non-impactful way and to simply get my lower body moving again properly. It's not been easy - I'm as stiff as a board these days it seems (hence the yoga on a Friday!). I overheard a few of you talking about this thing and was lucky enough to then have Sean Webb lone me his Kickr to give it a try. 

If you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, Zwift is basically something that allows you to ride stationary in your tin shed when it's 40ΒΊC outside, sweat buckets and move absolutely nowhere. Sound inspiring right? Well it's enough for over 400,000 people around the world to sign up apparently. You hook your "smart" wind trainer (mine is a Tacx Neo Smart for reference) up to a screen via your iPhone and you pedal away like mad training and racing with people right around the world, all represented as computer animated avatars. Still not flicking your switch? As you race around the streets of London, Richmond USA or the virtual world of Watopia in gloriously defined gaming graphics, you and all your buddies (wherever they are in the world) can be on there too! I can now hop on with John in San Diego (5am), Adam in Cambridge (midday) and me in Perth (8pm) and we can all ride around these courses, all experiencing the same gradients which transmit and control your smart trainer accordingly and even chat as though we would on a normal ride right in the "comfort" (and safety!) of our respective tin sheds. Maybe I'm just an "anorak" but the experience is amazing - 45 to 60 mins of quality "no soft pedalling" training easily being worth 1.5hrs on the road. What's more, it cranks your competitive juices as well (something that totally gets me motivated) - I just need to be careful about heeding my own 80% rule advice!

For more, watch this 1m20s video - I think you'll see why I'm hooked:

Watch this 1m20s video - I think you'll see why I'm hooked!

Back on the bike in my sweat shack pain cave using the very brilliant riding application

Earning my stripes (polka dots actually) for my first K.O.M polka dot jersey on the Epic K.O.M climb is great - you can ride with your mates all around the world - this was a short sprints 60 mins workout at 3am Perth time with 2nd place Kona Ironman, Lucy Charles (and about 150 other riders all simultaneously doing the same session! It was very cool!)

Getting prepped the right way and ready for a reward - Andy's company is the key nutrition sponsor for the ΓΆtillΓΆ race series in 2017/2018

Moving on

So take 15-30 minutes for yourself this week, jot down what some of your hopes and aspirations for 2018 are and (if it helps) flick them across to me via email - I'd love to hear what challenges you are taking on, in or out of the pool!

Getting some help down at the squad sessions with my budding 6yo coach who'll no doubt be helping you all out in let's say….ehhhh, 10-12 years time?!

We'll be adding a little more bite to 2018's Red Mist Sessions - watch out!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Happy New Year! Welcome back to the squad!

Dear Swimmers

I hope you are all doing well and have had a great break over Christmas and New Year!

Many of you have started to return to the squad this week and Sally and Derek tell me there have been some commendable performances in the sessions thus far. Nice job. In fact I returned home from a wonderful trip to Finland and the UK with Mish and the kids (even visiting the big guy in Lapland: Video) and had the opportunity to swim in the 530am Wednesday Red Mist session yesterday in my jet lagged state!

This is the first time I've had the chance to join the squad in this capacity in well over 7 years and it was a great opportunity to see things from your perspective and have Derek and Sally cracking the whip and to have my lane 4 buddies keeping me honest! What was very apparent was just how easy it was to get through a 5k set despite having done no swimming at all for 3 weeks and my longest pool session in the last 12 months being just 3k, simply because of the camaraderie of the squad and that positive peer pressure to keep going. It's certainly a great way to get well back into the swing of things and kick off 2018 in the right way! 

I look forward to seeing you all back down on the pool deck in a coaching capacity next week. In the meantime, here are a few of my favourite photos from our UK trip for your interest (here's a cheesy video to get you started if you have access to Facebook:

The northern lights playing ball upon our arrival in Levi, Finland

Our lovely little chalet inclusive of sauna! Good job too as it ranged between minus 25 and 30 during our stay! Thanks Kirk and Elina from the squad for helping us arrange!!

Isla meets Rudolph!

We meet the Big Guy! Thus buying us two more years of "belief" from the kids πŸ˜‰

Three generations of Nerdy Newsomes 

York Minster in gorgeous winter light

York Museum gardens - stunning!

On the set of Downton Abbey (not quite - but looks like it!)

Punting on the river Cam in Cambridge with Uncle Adam and Auntie Marietta!

Home again to this little fluff ball!

Happy New Year everyone!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Dear Swimmers

I just wanted to say - in my merry Christmas jumper of course (supplied by my Canadian inlaws no less!) - a great big thanks for all your support and kindness over the last 12 months:

We had an excellent evening last Saturday at the squad Christmas party and some of you were asking about the proverb that I read out - here it is in it's entirety:

…sage words no less, especially when you're worrying about the consequences of not keeping up with that bloomin' beeper! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I am now on holiday with the family, heading over to the UK this evening and back on the 2nd January. All squad sessions will be on as normal next week, and then will resume in the new year on Tuesday 2nd January.

I have of course cancelled out all sessions from your accounts during the Christmas Break, but please take a few moments to cancel out of any additional sessions also to allow those hovering on the waitlist to pick up your unneeded spots.

Big thanks once again for a great year and for all the gifts I've received this week as a thanks for the pain and torture I put you through each week (long may it continue!).

Have a great one!


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It's that time of year again! Squad Christmas Party! Whoop!

Dear Swimmers

It's that time of year again where we invite yourself, your partners and kids if you have to come along on Saturday 9th December between 530pm and 10pm to celebrate another great year in the Swim Smooth Perth Squad down at Claremont Pool. 

This actually marks the end of our 10th year in operation at the pool, so it's a really special one for us, so myself, Michelle, Jackson and Isla (and Sandy the dog - woof!) would love to open up our home and welcome you to our place for what will be our 3rd Squad Christmas party at the new pad.

Address: 145 Alfred Road, Mount Claremont, WA 6010
Date: Saturday 9th December
Time: from 5.30pm to 10pm (ish)
What to bring: we will be part catering and part watering this party but as usual, if you'd like to bring one of your favourite dishes for everyone to sample or your favourite tipple, please do so as we're never quite sure how many people will show up
Music: we are (hoping) to have some live music this year (fingers crossed), but otherwise there will of course be some great tunes to get your groove on to!
Parking: There is limited parking along Strickland Street and other neighbouring streets. Please park sensibly and be aware of the neighbours of course:


A rough schedule will look like this:

5.30pm Mojito o'clock - join the crew for an early sundowner straight after work
6pm - hop in the pool (if you wish and probably with the kids) to have a go in the Endless Pool system - very cool
6.30pm - Santa will be making an early visit for the good boys, girls and squad swimmers at the party - will this be you?!
7/7.30pm - a few thankyous from us to you for a great year's swimming in the Swim Smooth Perth Squad
8pm to 10pm - get your groove on to some funky tunes and have another hop in the Endless Pool to see how long you can swim against it's full force (1:08/100m) - who will be crowned squad champion??

Let us know you're coming:

Please login to the squad app and let us know a rough estimate of numbers by adding yourself into the Christmas Party listing under "Squad Sessions" (don't worry, no fee for this one πŸ˜‰):

See you then!


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Honey I'm almost home (from the USA!)

Dear Swimmers

I hope you've been enjoying the heat and some great coaching with Coaches Sally, Derek and Ross in my absence. We've had a simply brilliant coaching trip over here in California and as I prepare to pack my bags and leave today to arrive home midday Friday, it's been great to reflect back on a great 10 days meeting some fantastic people and working with some great coaches. For your interest I've pulled together a bit of an image time line of what we've managed to cram in:

Saturday 11th November:

Leave Perth and arrive just 4 hours later in San Fransisco via a dip in Sydney here:

Bondi Icebergs Club

The best swimming experience I've ever had - it had to be done and dusted in less than 15 mins due to only a 2.5hr stop-over connection in Sydney. Short, sweet, but very worth it!

…and in San Francisco here:

The world renowned Stanford University pool - wow! Some epic swimmers have graced these lanes over the years!

Arriving in Palo Alto (silicon valley) just 4 hours after I left Perth was rather bizarre and I got to hook up and stay with a former athlete I used to coach some 15yrs ago in Perth:

Nice pad - Silicon Valley style!

Epic view over San Francisco as we landed

Sunday 12th November:

My drive to work to run a swim coaching session with world renowned Ironman coach (who had no fewer than 35 athletes in Kona this year!), Matt Dixon of Purple Patch Fitness, looked like this:

What can you say?!

A bit chilly on pool deck and 40+ swimmers to fine tune…all of whom were very excited to have me deliver their session as Matt uses our system and refers to us frequently…all the way on the other side of the planet! Very humbling.

A run along the coastline near Muir Beach was in order straight after we'd finished coaching. Stunning. See my quirky video here.

Monday 13th November:

I was invited to spend the whole day with CEO of Finis Inc (who produce all of our swim gear including the infamous Tempo Trainer beeper), John Mix, and his entire development team at Finis HQ to build relations, strategise for the future and to also shoot some fun video clips:

Finis sponsor some of the world's finest swimmers including 4 time Olympic medallist Anthony Ervin

This is Finis's official team mascot, "Finn" the agility paddle πŸ˜„

Tuesday 14th November:

It was then just a 1h30m plane ride down to San Diego to meet Adam, Cyndy, John Chip and the rest of our assembled Swim Smooth coaching team:

Cyndy says hi everyone!

Adam wasn't happy unless he hired the biggest, baddest machine he could find for our transport. Epic!

John Chip, Cyndy and Adam reunited again on Tamarak Beach, Carlsbad, CA

Wednesday 15th November:

Today was all about getting ready to deliver our 24th 3-day Swim Smooth Coaches Education Course to coaches #333 to 352 the following day, but not before I guest delivered John Chip's squad in Solana Beach…the same set you guys did last Tuesday πŸ˜‰ - we do this to ensure absolute consistency in approach with our now 48 Swim Smooth Certified Coaches worldwide and the effort shows:

Some of the growing number of swimmers attending John Chip's squad in Solana Beach, California - many of you will remember John as "Chevron John" from lane 3 on Wednesday's and Fridays right there in Perth - after leaving Chevron John's been on a life changing mission to follow his passion into helping others enjoy this great sport. We are super proud of him!

A quick stop at the world's first ever (and most famous) triathlon store, Nytro, where they stock the entire range of HUUB wetsuits and speed suits that we helped design πŸ‘

Always time for a quick Starbuck's but I have to say it's not a patch on the coffee at Lake Espresso!

The coaching team debrief the night before involved great food, good wine and brilliant company - Stacee (Chicago), Cyndy (Houston), Linda (Florida)

Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th November (inclusive):

And so to the course with 20 coaches from around the world and also 14 swimmers from right across America travelling many miles to attend our 3-day course - humbling beyond words:

"Screw it, let's do it!" (as Richard Branson would say) - minimal sleep, copious jet lag but with great fire in the belly, we managed to get a quick dip in under this wonderful sunrise to start the course

One of the US's leading coaches and former Head Coach to Chile as well as Finis brand ambassador pleased to be learning the Swim Smooth way - we were honoured to have him along!

Coaches Morgon (senior sergeant in the Marines) and Jenn learn about our Swim Types system and how your height, build, gender, wing span and even personality affect how your swimmers swim. Knowing this allows our coaches to better tailor their approach to their swimmers

Coaches Chris and Liz get the same treatment - horses for courses, right?

Adam's "Strategies For Your Business Success" chat goes down a storm, as always!

Head Coach's eye view from the pontoon that made for perfect stroke technique instruction

Coach John working with neo-Pro, Erin on the final day

The Coaches hard at work, mentored by our 8 Swim Smooth Certified Coaches on pool deck to oversee proceedings 

Coach Cyndy doing what she does best - empower people!

Getting some exposure for the Perth Squad πŸ˜‰ where it all started! πŸ‘

What a team!

A well earned beer after Day 3 - but which to choose from the Land of Choice?!

Sunday 19th to Tuesday 21st November:

No sooner had we finished the course but we were asked to deliver a radio interview with Ironman and USA Triathlon Hall of Famer, Mr Bob Babbitt (link to follow) to discuss the history behind Swim Smooth. We were humbled and privileged to be asked on the show as last week's guest was none other than Olympic Gold Medallist and one of the all time greatest female endurance athletes, Gwen Jorgensen

I was LOST. I found SPORT. I was set FREE. During our tour with Bob of the Challenged Athlete Foundation which has raised over $83 million for disabled athletes to continue their journey in sport often after catastrophic injury

California Dreamin'

Paying hommage to the mecca of triathlon, where it all began, Fiesta Island, Mission Bay, San Diego, CA

Hotel del Coronado - stunning!

Palm tree lined ice rink…on the beach! Go figure!

Epic sunsets!

Baywatch anyone?

Bromance on the beach with the guy who made my dream of running a truly world class swim coaching program a reality. Thanks Adam!

As ever crew, thank you so much for letting me take the time to go and spread the Swim Smooth word even further afield! I look forward to seeing you all back on pool deck on Monday 27th November.