By Magda Nieuwoudt
Why do we train? What is the exact reason that you find yourself planning your day around “training hour”? Or why is it that you plan weekends and holidays around your training schedule? I can bore you with all the hormonal excretion that happens and what causes your addiction to training. But do you truly understand the term exercise? Do you know the reason for it?
If you look up the word 'training' or 'exercise', you will find these key words: “to improve” or “to maintain”. Nowhere do you find the words – “achieve” or “compare”. With coaching different types of athletes, it is interesting to see how athletes approach training sessions differently.
You might associate with one of the following types of athletes:
i. You either squeeze in the session and shorten your warm-up, or not even bother with the cool down;
ii. You cannot decide what effort to cycle or run on, especially with the wide range of data focus that is given to you. You need that precise number so you can achieve exactly that;
iii. You are not even bothered by reading the full workout, and halfway through start doing your own thing. Because, if you just get to the total time or distance scheduled, you did it;
iv. You don't feel well but you still get the session done because you are scared the coach might think you are not doing your part; or
v. Maybe you are the athlete that is doing everything by the book, exactly as the program suggested. Not a minute longer or shorter. Not a watt more or less.
No matter where you find yourself in between these examples, the point is the session gets done and Training Peaks shows you have a green week. But the question is, did you improve during the session or did you only achieve?
Isn't that what I want as a coach anyway? Athletes that are achieving the goals of each session. NO!!!
I want athletes that understand WHY they are doing the session and how it fits into their bigger picture. Training is not just achieving the goals set out, as goals and metrics in fact limit us. If I ask you to give a max effort for 30 seconds, there is no way I can put a number to what your max effort would be during the session. Because max effort means the maximum effort that you have, and can give, during that specific interval. If your max effort is 250 watts, and not your normal 300 watts, then that is your max effort for that day! It doesn't mean that you are not improving and that you are the weakest you have ever been. It simply means that you are out of gas today but still improved muscularly and metabolically on what you had in you for the day. Same goes for doing long runs, for instance. I always say, you need that shit run to have better runs tomorrow or the next week. Remember, your body needs to stimulate and awaken a lot of physiological factors, in and around the muscle fibre to start improving from the load and volume given to it. Sometimes an extra recovery run or swim on a long bike or run day is given to you - you think that there is no way you can do this session, your body is tired and you need to recover... uhm that is your recovery! I did not give you that session thinking you are going to feel good or that you’ll improve anything other than blood-flow through the muscle.
My point that I want to get to is - start trusting your own body and start being in sync with what you’re doing! For once, do not run or indoor bike with music and just listen to your body… listen to your breathing and feel if you are working with the right muscles. Are you pushing and pulling on the bike? Do you have good posture on the run with feet striking right underneath you? How is your posture during long run or bike sessions and what can you do to be more efficient? What can you change other than just pushing through because you need to finish 90 minutes of running to achieve and tick off the session?
Trust us as coaches to generate the best possible program specifically for you. Understand terms like slow, easy, recovery, steady and fast. Try to improve with each session, no matter what the data says. Why do you think consistent training leads to success? It is just the everyday improvement. If you don't understand your program, then the following is important… Ask us!
I can give the same program to 10 different athletes, with the same capability and talent and their outcomes would still be different because it all depends on how each session is being done.
No matter what the metabolic, nervous system or physiological adaptations were during a training session, the biggest improvements would come if the psychological improvement was there as well. I am definitely not saying that you can just believe in yourself and you'll be fit, you need to put in the work, but you need to believe that you are getting the work done properly.
Go and improve in every training session so you can achieve during races!
That is what training is for.
By Magda Nieuwoudt
MAGNESIUM -My Favourite Mineral and here is why:
Do you sometimes feel tired, and think you need to eat for energy? Mostly, then grab the wrong high sugary foods... making you feel more depressed and tired because of the hormone secretion.
MAYBE CONSIDER THIS!!!
THE ROLE OF MAGNESIUM: (Mg)
This mineral is one of the important intracellular reactors. It is a co-factor to more than 300 enzyme systems that regulates biochemical reactions.
- Prot synthesis
- Muscle & Nerve function
- Blood glucose control
- Blood pressure
- Promotes Ca absorption
- Control Heart rhythm
In short = Mg controls energy production and metabolism!
You can imagine being low in Mg and trying to do intervals on the bike where you need fast nerve twitch fibers and glucose for energy. But your body just can’t seem to produce it!
You need a daily intake of:
Men- 400-420 mg/day
Women- 300-350 mg/day
I ALWAYS SUGGEST REAL FOOD BEFORE SUPPLEMENTS:
Greens / Nuts / Dry Beans
- Pumpkin seeds (eat over your muesli or yogurt in the mornings)
- Almonds / cashews / peanut butter
- Spinach / Broccoli / Avo
- Brown rice
- Plain yogurt
- Dark Chocolate (69% +)
Mg would not promote athletic performance but for sure would keep you healthy to able to do the session or just daily life!!
Any questions? Ask away!!
Because of the repetitiveness off our endurance sport it can cause a lack of mobility and a lot of related issues if not addressed. Stifness in the hips and thoracic spine is not unfamilliar topics for triathletes. Also, hip dysfunction can be a misterious proponent of injury. How can you avoid unneccassary injury?
But what is mobility and why do I give you (my athlete) a mobility session every week?
In short Mobility is an active movement around a joint.
With good mobility you will be able to perform movement patterns and move through full range of motion of that patterns with no restriction of soft tissue, joints, joint capsule and motor control.
Why do you have poor mobility?
i. Joint stiffness
ii. Tissue immobility
iii. Impaired proprioception
iv. Weak stability around joints
v. Daily bad habits in posture like sitting with bad posture in front of the computer or desk
A lack of good mobility can have a negative effect on training and performance because of the fact that you do not have full range of motion and also can be because you lack strength through that full range of motion. You will end up to compensate, and recruit other muscle tissue and then ending up over stressing that muscle or messing with proper biomechanics for efficient swimming, cycling or running.
Don't confuse flexibility with mobility. Flexible athletes will be able to stretch their soft tissue (muscle) but can have weak mobility. Athletes with good mobility will be able to perform movement patterns through full range of motion and will not be restricted by muscle tissue, the joint capsule or motor control.
You can not just focus on good mobility and not focus on stabilising exercises. The joint will be moveable after proper mobility training but that doesn't mean the new range of motion created is controlled and stable. That is why it is so important to focus on hip / lower back / thoracic spine and ankle stabilisation combined with proper mobility training.
For me as coach I want you to do the mobility sessions so we can get to proper mobility and then work towards more stability exercises. We need stability to create proper stiffness in the skeleton and the fascia so that you as athlete can absorb the impact from all the pounding. If you can't absorp the impact and are stiff in the joints you use more energy, which normally is seen during long full ironman races. The better your body can absorp and take the beating, which you get through volume training and not just mobility and stability, the longer you will be able to keep up the speed.
The benefits of proper mobility I would sum up in 4 ways.
1. Muscle = Muscle and tissue recruitment is beter which leads to more force all around the joint as all fibres can be active
2. Joint = To quote Michael Nystrom as he sums it up so beautifully;
"From a joint’s perspective, when the axis around the joint is able to achieve its full motion, the muscles around the joint work in unison to apply equal forces around the joint. If the joint in unable to achieve its proper mobility, joint health can suffer by changing the axis of the joint."
3. Biomechanics = Good mobility will help with proper aerodynamic bike fit and good running form. Also to become a better effecient swimmer if you can use strength through full range of motion.
4. Daily habits = Our bodies are designed to move in more diverse ways than just traveling through space in a specific plane.
Make sure to grab the opportunity on Tuesday nights and don't miss Trivium's mobility sessions. We will be progressing each week. If you're thinking of doing the full ironman next year, you can not miss a session.
Good mobility = Free speed
by Magda Nieuwoudt
We schedule a casual run on a nice and sunny Saturday morning. For some it will be their first run out, as they took the word 'lockdown' literally and never left their house (for running). For others this will be the day where they show off that they could get their butts out in the cold and kept (kind off) in shape during the strange, unfamiliar times.
Raise your hand when I describe you.
The over thinker - your clothes are laid out the night before and you can't decide whether you would be running in the very short black socks which match your hat or are you going with the longer blue striped socks, as it will match your eyes. The laid back athlete - where you realise at 10pm on Friday evening that you still need to buy coke and water for tomorrow's run, but you will get it from the garage because you also need to fill your tank with petrol, even though you are starting this run at 06:30. The extremely excited one - who drinks tea at 2am because you just can't get yourself to switch off and get some shut eye. Or the planner - who printed shirts and have already planned the route exactly from start to finish. Included in these planner athletes are the ones who had shirts, scouted the route the weekend before, organised two support vehicles and a supporter on a mountain bike and managed to still get lost. Or are you the one that got it done and just left, because it was about the run and not the coffee afterwards.
No matter where you categorize yourself, we all had one goal in mind - to have fun while celebrating our health, which we all achieved on this day. I always enjoy spending time with my group of athletes as we all have a way to enjoy and celebrate each other's accomplishements even if it is so far apart from one another.
This blog is to thank each athlete on the huge part they are playing in the success of Trivium Triathlon, without you Trivium would be nothing. Thanks for the positive and vibrant energy I feel when we are around each other. Whether you are the one that shows up and gets it done everytime, the one that gets it done and supplies additional entertainment for the group or gets it done with certain exagerated elements, each and every one makes Trivium feel like a family.
At Trivium we celebrate our health by being active and striving to be the best you everyday.
How you show up for any given day will set the tone for the rest of your day.
Make it count!
Written by Magda Nieuwoudt
There is something about the feeling of triathlon that keeps me hooked.I love what I do and love to challenge my body every day and realise that I haven’t even started to show a bit of what I can do, but despite all of this, there is a feeling in triathlon that keeps me hooked. The feeling I am talking about is that constant uncomfortable feeling, the unknown and the smell of satisfaction.
Saturday morning, in Edinburgh, I stood looking up to a mountain called Arthur's Table - this is where we will be doing the run leg and I don’t have a clue what awaits me. Races in the UK mostly have split transition areas - they are not 2km apart but more like two counties apart 😀. So the swim start will be about 15km from T2 and finish area (in Staffordshire we actually had a different T1, T2 and finish areas). This makes the logistical planning particularly demanding. I had to rack my blue bag and bike and run bag in different transition areas and couldn't access my bags the next morning, only my bike.
So the Saturday morning goes like most pre-race mornings. I get up, do my training run, and run until the feeling is absolutely perfect. This is the only time I feel in total control. Then I eat a good breakfast, pack my bags for racking, check them once then walk around and check the bags one more time ☺. Before leaving the house, I check the bags again. I am always so afraid to forget something because I tend to forget easily. Everything is, however, always there. After racking my bike I start having thoughts of: “Should I maybe just change that inner tube, because a few days a go it felt a bit flat, maybe there is a slow puncture, or should I just make sure the lube on the chain is good…”
WOW!! Stop. Stand still. Take a deep breath in... and pray. Pray about all my worries - even the smallest little worry and leave it just there. After this I get the most amazing peace in my heart. I can’t describe it.
Phill 4: 6 – In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Now all that needs to be done is to eat and eat and attend race briefing! At the end of the day I am so tired of all the thinking that I normally pass out by 21:00. I only sleep until midnight, after which I am awake every 15 minutes. I don’t know why... because It's not that I am scared, maybe I'm just too excited. I am perfectly prepared and have done my bit in training and trust God to give me peace. So I can never understand why I lay awake. By 3 am I just get up and start doing ballistic ball work and stretches and get the body moving.
I normally get to T1 really early. Why not? I am awake after all. In T1 I check everything and get nutrition on the bike. This is my favourite part, getting to T1. The atmosphere is magnificent, I love the noise of the pumps inflating the wheels, and the 'pop' noise it makes as you take it off the valve. The sound of wheels spinning and checking brakes with some gears jumping up and down. And then off course the long cue to the porta-loos (this I actually dislike).
Here comes the uncomfortable feeling. I am about to jump into an ocean not knowing what to expect. They announced the water temperature was about 14 degrees and I thought: “O my, I hate cold water”. Then again, I am not here to have a hot comfy swim, am I? So get it done.
The swim felt great and I found my rhythm really early. I found myself swimming alone the whole way. There where two ahead of me and the rest of the pack behind me. Luckily I didn’t even notice the cold water. During warm up my cheeks felt like they were falling off, but nothing like this during the race. It is amazing how adrenaline just takes over. The better fit Xterra wetsuit made a huge difference (I will write another blog about that soon).
Out of the swim and onto the bike. I had instructions to stick to a certain heart rate plan. This was difficult sometimes but I stuck to it because I trust coach Niel with everything. There was a section on the course where the road surface felt so sticky and actually made it sound like both my tyres where flat. It must have had something to do with the hot summer Scotland is experiencing. They had recorded temperature of 33 degrees, which is apparently the hottest day Edinburgh ever experienced. I don’t know if the surface was melting, but it slowed us down for sure. The route was up and down, with steep declines and sharp turns which made lying down in the tribars difficult. On the bike I felt good all the way and was focusing so much on taking in enough nutrition. I used 3 PVM Octane gels and ate 1 PVM Energy bar with 750ml Octane and actually grabbed a bottle of isotonic drink on course as well. I could feel that I was ‘under-biking’... but that was the plan. Last climb up Arthur’s Table and down into T2. I felt great and still fresh for the run.
In T2 I pulled on my lovely Saucony shoes and off I went. The first lap was just to get rhythm and 'feel the run'. On this run I, yet again, realised how important it is to be in-touch with how your body feels and what the effort feels like, instead of looking at pace and heart rate. Since the course went 3km up and then back down I had to run on feeling. I kept running on feeling for the full 21km, which felt great! I was able to get paces and rhythm back quickly after the uphill and got my legs turning fast again.
All in all I am very happy and had a consistent swim, bike and run. Now to let the guns out for my next race – Ironman 70.3 World Champs SA!
As I was standing there Saturday morning praying for my worries, I also thanked God. I thanked Him for giving me the talent to do what I do; for the people He uses to create a ripple effect in my life; for giving coach Niel the knowledge and the will to never give up on me and always researching and planning my sessions on the dot and to perfection.
Also thanks for my great support team, my family, who no matter what, always get excited and whenever I need anything they are there for me. Thanks to my amazing Trivium team who keeps me on my toes and stand behind me like an army. To my close friends who is seen as part of the team - thanks.
This is our (coach and I) journey to creating the best me and being the best I can be. To be continued…
#Journeystarting #projourney #success
BY MAGDA NIEUWOUDT
Race weekend eventually arrives. It is time to show off and o hell do I love to show off? I am absolutely in love with racing. This is where everything I have worked so hard for needs to come together. All those hours spent during the December holiday season and early morning training sessions suddenly make sense and are worth it.
Rika (my twin sister) and I arrived in East London (EL) late Thursday afternoon and the first thing I normally do when arriving in EL is to go to the transition area. As we arrive at transition, all of a sudden everything gets real. Now the focus is on. You start to feel it, smell it, hear it, taste it and see it…RACE DAY IS HERE!
The night before the race I am never able to sleep... mostly because of a mixture of excitement, anxiety and stress, but when the alarm goes off the first thing in my mind is "this is it, let’s do it in style."
On the beach the sun started to rise over the ocean and everybody was getting ready in their wetsuits. I have a love-hate relationship with this part of the race. I love it because of the total unknown waiting for me. It is literally diving into the ocean and not knowing what’s going to happen. On the other hand I hate it because this is the only part of the race I can't prepare for, so I don't often know how to handle it.
Standing at the start line I know I have done all I can to prepare. Going in to the water is always one of my favourite parts. I love ocean swims and the roughness of being thrown around by the waves. This is where I always just let go and stroke hard every time my hand enters the water. Getting out I saw my swim time being not that great and instead of thinking I went slow, I immediately decided the swim was too long - which was the case in the end. Getting on the bike with the wind in my face and heart rate high, I focused to relax and stay in control.
Being in control of yourself during the race is key - knowing your body and relying on feedback. Heading out was hard but I knew coming back was going to be fast. instead we had some slight head winds every now and then. This was when I realised that the wind is starting to turn and I suddenly hoped Rika and Charl would be okay and will keep on fighting. I knew both of them would chase a time, but with these conditions and the longer swim I was scared that they would overcook themselves on the bike. But they both did great.
Getting on the run I knew I needed to catch the one girl in front of me. Being a strong runner I kept thinking I am in control and I would be able to do it. I didn't realise she is about 6:00 – 6:30 minutes in front of me. Turning at the top of Bunkers I timed her being in the lead by 6min. This is when I realised I need to go faster than her on every single kilometer. So every time I felt like slacking a little bit I said to myself: "Don’t try, make sure". This was a phrase I learned while climbing Kilimanjaro over new year’s.
Turning at the peer which is about 11km into the race she was still leading by around 4min, and I could see she is also running hard, so I just started to run harder. Coming down from Bunkers I was really chasing her and this is when I saw Rika. She was shouting so hard at me to keep going and I could see in her face that she realised I was behind. That gave me another edge to keep on pushing. The last 5km I know I needed to be a lion and chase hard and 'make sure, not just try'. In the end I crossed the finish line. I was standing there not knowing if it was enough, because I knew she started a few seconds before me. While I was waiting, a friend came to me and told me that she beat me by 24seconds. I realised I gave it all on the day. Hats off to Jade having a brilliant race and making me work hard.
This is what racing is all about. Working harder than you thought you would be able to. Achieving a sense of satisfaction inside you that cannot be explained, sharing the experience with other people and best of all, having the best time of your life. Racing my first race as official head coach of Trivium Triathlon I just want to inspire my athletes and teach them one thing by example.
“Your mind while find a way to keep your body moving forward, let it.”
Thanks for all the support to:
Coach (the Lion) Niel, all Trivium athletes, Rika, Jacques & Melanie, My parents and good friends in Pretoria. A special thanks to PVM Nutritional Science for all the support and MiFitLife making sure I am comfortable and looking great during the race.
Trivium's head coach Magda Nieuwoudt was recently featured in SA's leading triathlon magazine - Swim.Bike.Run
The article is titled 'The making of Magda'
Well done Magda! Keep it up!
The magazine also features Olympic bronze medalist, Henri Schoeman. You can get your copy at leading news agencies.
This blog is written by the coach and athletes associated with Trivium.