Training, recovery and mindset - a conversation with Simon Cochrane
Transcript generated using AI transcription services, errors may occur. Contact Mikki for clarification
Welcome, hi, I'm Mikki and this is Mikkipedia, where I sit down and chat to doctors, professors, athletes, practitioners, and experts in their fields related to health, nutrition, fitness, and wellbeing, and I'm delighted that you're here.
Hey team, Mikki here, you're listening to Mikkipedia and this week on the podcast I speak to the ultimate endurance legend Simon Cochrane from Athletic Peak Coaching. Now Simon recently smashed the world record at the Ultraman Australia race. This was on the back of a record 34 laps at the 24 hour Blue Lake Festival, 202km, which then kicked on to race and podium at Rotorua.
70.3 and the 70.3 in December in Taupo. He went on to place 5th at the Tarawera 100 mile race in February then 6th at Ironman New Zealand. Wow. So we discuss in brief parts of these races because of course they all form part of the picture that makes Simon the legend that he is. Not an overnight success though because we discuss so much more than that. We discuss his history and experience in endurance sport.
the nutrition tactics he uses, what he does for recovery, what a training week looks like, some of the elements that he thought made him most successful to be able to not only perform at these races, but actually get to the start line at the start of the event because that ultimately for us endurance athletes is one of the biggest challenges. And we discuss mindset, and Simon and I are totally on the same page when it comes to how you think about your training.
your recovery and your racing and what allows you to sort of push on when times get tough because I don't doubt there were a lot of tough times throughout these events for Simon and we definitely talk about some of that too. So I think you're really gonna love this episode even if you've heard Simon sort of talk about his races and his successes on you know Runners Only podcast with Dom or the Fitter Radio podcast with Bev. I think this...
conversation will expand on a lot of the other areas to do with Simon and his success. So Simon has been part of the fitness industry for 15 years, beginning as a strength and conditioning coach and building his passion for coaching and personal development. He has worked with a wide range of athletes and clients from general weight loss and strength gains to coaching elite triathletes and runners to world-class level competition which is no surprise given his talent but also his experience in the sport.
You can follow Simon over on Instagram at Cochrane Simon, that's C-O-C-H-R-A-N-E-S-I-M-O-N, or go over to his athleticpeak.co.nz website to investigate his coaching and training plan options, if you're keen to get some advice from one of the legends in the sport. Just a reminder before we crack on into the...
Interview that I would just like to remind you the best way to support our podcast is to hit the subscribe button on your favourite podcast listening platform and tell your mates that would be amazing. This increases the visibility of our podcast out there in amongst literally thousands of podcasts so more people get the opportunity to learn from guests that I have on the show like Simon Cochrane and what it takes to be an absolute legend.
I'm really excited just to have a conversation with you about this actually. So it's actually been going off? Yeah, yeah it has. It's been quite a lot of exposure I guess since I've been back, which is cool. Yeah, it's a different sort of sport but I think all sports in the endurance world are just getting crazier and longer and normalising some short events now. So Simon, is...
Do you think that your exposure comes from the fact that you totally nailed that world record in that one event? Or do you think it was the fact that you'd also run 100 miles, done an Ironman? Was there something else I'm missing in there? And then went on to do the Ultraman? Yeah, the season was huge. I mean, it started way back, or pretty much exactly a year before the Ultraman was my first six hour run, which is at that summer hill in the hills in Papama, which I ran
six odd Ks and then did the Blue Lake 24 hour. That's when it really... That's right. Yeah, 200 of my own Ks. That's right. Yeah, that race blew my mind, let alone anyone who watched it. I still don't understand how it went as smoothly as it did really. Yeah. Now, actually, can we just push pause on that one for a little bit? Yeah. Not push pause. What is it? Double click. Double click on that because...
That's right. That was such a remarkable run. And what did you go in expecting? Like what did you have in your head? Like what were you hoping to achieve in that? Well, yeah, I mean, it had been going for, you know, five, six, seven years, and they'd had that elusive 200k trophy that no one had even got. You know, there'd been quite a few that had done 100 miles, but, you know, another marathon on top of that within the time frame is quite extreme. But yeah, I put the numbers down and I was like, ah, it's...
It's doable if you have good conditions and yeah, I guess if you get your fueling right, your pacing right and it's going to hurt and it's going to be a long run. But yeah, I thought I could do it. And yeah, okay. So you're intimately like this is if all your ducts, if all the stars are aligned, this is possible. Yep. Yep. And yeah, it went pretty smooth. I mean, I had an hour and a half to spare in the end. So I guess that's quite smooth. But you got to commit quite early as well because it is a long way.
and there will be a little bit of fading. And there wasn't really anyone else to run with or run against in the end. I think the next closest was, you know, still not even at 170. So I was probably like, well, nearly five laps ahead at that stage. Yeah. And were you just ticking people off in your mind as you go around them? Nah, cause there was like 500 people across the day doing all sorts of different distances, starting at different times. So I just...
Yeah, stuck to my schedule and, but I had my paces running with me for 80% of that run, which helps a lot. Yeah, completely. Yeah, absolutely. And Simon, what was your fueling strategy for that? Because obviously I'm super keen to do a deep dive into nutrition because you've had, you've been a bit of an N equals one over your athletic sort of.
career as I, you know, it just is, and from the brief sort of observation that I've seen from the outside with some of the things that you've done, but what was your strategy with this? Yeah, well, my nutrition strategy over the years have been, you know, at the extremes, I suppose, as well. Like I've been carnivore for six months. I've tried, yeah, all sorts of different things. But for me, it's sort of going back to basics with day-to-day eating and probably eating more, not being scared of the carbs and realizing that, yeah.
you're not actually going to be putting on weight or feeling worse or that sort of thing and actually having more energy and probably recovering better. So day to day has been just eating more and yeah, just eating good quality food. And then yeah, the actual race day nutrition is pretty much 100% liquid now. That's it. Yeah. So pretty much tailwind nutrition plus a bit of Coke and Red Bull near the sort of later stages.
So easy to pre-mix, like you can plan everything so well in bottles. Obviously it digests a lot easier, you're not having to try and eat while you're running or have too many toilet stops, stomach issues, that sort of thing. Yeah. And what's your carb for the hour? Am I right? I think it's 120? Was that what you were talking about? That was for the Ultraman bike. So that's probably the most I've had, but didn't have any issues at all. And that was for...
seven and a half hours. So you know, that's like, yeah, yeah, I don't know what it was nearly thousand grams of carbs over, you know, which is as crazy, but generally for running it'll be a bit less. So probably in the realms of yet 80 to 100. Yeah, yeah, okay. And it makes sense, right? Because of the impact of you know, of running, being on the bike where you're not getting that same same sort of like GI sort of thing going. And then like say for Tarahuea 100 mile probably was around the 80 to
100 grams for the first 10 hours. And then after that, yeah, you just don't really feel like ingesting that much. So you do have to sort of preload for the later stages and then you just go to whatever you feel like. Like it might just be more water, more coke, but still keeping it simple. Yeah, do you know what is interesting you say that. So one of my really good friends, Anna.
She's like a professional, she was a professional mountain runner and now she's a coach and she's in the sport and she's done, she's won hard rock and stuff a couple of times. And it's interesting with what, because there aren't any great guidelines around how to feel for events like this. Even like the traditional guidelines just, and she's explained this to me heaps, she said like, they just do not work. Like you almost cannot, you cannot predict what your stomach is gonna do or what you're gonna feel like.
when that intensity kicks in because of the fatigue? Is that sort of what you've thought? Yes and no. Like I actually was chatting to someone the other day and they said, oh, you know, so you've done, you know, heaps of Ironman, blah, blah, blah. You've probably got nutrition dialed and for that, you would have had to have a totally different plan for your 100 mile races and for Ultraman. And I was like, well, no, I stuck exactly to my liquid 80 to that 100 grams of carbs per hour and it works.
Um, but I think I've done a lot of key sessions on my weekends of fueling with that right up to that limit. Whereas a lot of people don't, you know, they'll, they'll think they're having it, but they look back and it's probably like 40 or 50 grams and throwing double that and on race day usually, yeah, turns to shit for most people, literally. Yeah. Yeah, no, totally. And I think what she was just meaning was that, um, in the latter parts of the race, the way that you described, you just have the Coke or the water or whatever you feel like that's what she said as well. Like that.
she goes into it, she would go into a race with a, you know, knowing that the first part of the race was gonna be fine and then just trusting that what she had planned there was gonna help her in that later part of the race when her stomach might not be playing the game. And that takes, I think, experience and confidence for an athlete, you know, it's hard for a newbie to sort of go out thinking that that's gonna go to plan. Yeah, and if I look back to Tarahumara, like in the last two hours, I probably got stuff or calories or carbs in at all.
I was just feeling like water, but yeah, you've got the confidence to know that you've probably had enough during the run and that you can go out and run two or three hours with no calories when you need to. So yeah, you've just got to keep pushing through. And didn't you like push through, like some, like didn't you run some pretty fast Ks at the end of that Tarahueira? Yeah, it was interesting, like about 8K to go, I got a split to fifth place who was ahead of me, which was three minutes ahead. And I thought, oh well.
nothing to lose. The guy behind me was, I don't know, maybe 20 minutes back. So I thought, right, let's push hard. And yeah, managed to drop a 347 for the last K and catch him and beat him only by like about five seconds. So to have a sprint finish at the end of a hundred miles was unexpected. That is phenomenal. So tell me then, like, so you did the Blue Lake, right? Did you have it in your head what your race schedule was going to be like this season at that point in time?
Hmm, not really. I sort of I think I did Taupo 100k only a few weeks after The Blue Lake and that went pretty well. So I was like, well, I'm handling some good training load and it's not affecting My racing so I thought right. Let's do a few half Ironmans over summer, which was gonna be Taupo 70.3, Rotorua Suffer and Tauranga Half and
Very surprised at how my half marathon running off the bike was. Like only a few weeks after the Taupo 100k, I had my quicker 70.3 run without doing any specific speed work or running off the bike or yeah. Yeah. Now, am I right in thinking it was like 71 minutes or something? Nah, 75. 75, 75. On that Taupo course. Yeah, but still. Holy moly, that's right. So I mean, I forgot like.
I think I only forgot that because I now I'm remembering it and remembering how amazing it was. But I think it was because of what you've then gone on to achieve. It almost sort of got done a little bit. Yeah, it seems like it was such a long time ago as well because there's been a lot of racing. Racing. Yeah. Yeah. So Simon, then let's chat about your training then because obviously, because few people, so I think you're an anomaly.
that you can put out week to week? I might be wrong. I mean, you're the coach, but I just, you know, as an athlete, as someone who knows athletes, like it's significant. So what, like, what kind of hours are you putting in and how do you structure that week to week? And I know obviously it's going to change according to the thing that you're training for, but can we have a bit of a sample of what you did in your 100 in the lead up to Tarouere and then maybe a sample of what you did in the sort of lead up to Ultraman?
I've got my training picks open here as well. Amazing. Yeah. But sort of going back to you saying handling the load, like two years ago, I'd say I was a fairly moderate volume athlete. Like, you know, if I was running at 80K a week, that was big for me. And, you know, I was still getting the niggles and that sort of thing. But I think it's just the 10 or 15 years of slowly, you know, improving each year allows you to handle a bit more.
Yeah, for sure. So I guess, yeah, you look, it looks like I can handle massive loads and I'm resilient as, but I think it's just been a slow, steady increase in volume. So like building up to Tarahumara, like I would have had, my biggest week would have been maybe like one week of 150Ks. Okay. But I was doing a bit different, I guess, in the way that I was doing big one-off key sessions, which I believe that...
not enough people do. You know, like a lot of people do their back-to-back runs and they think, oh yeah, I'm running, you know, 40 on the Saturday, 40 on the Sunday. I'm running on fatigued legs, but you've had a whole night's sleep, you've had two meals, you've had, you know, a shower. It's not the same as running 40 Ks and then another 40 Ks on the same day, you know, nonstop. So I think that's where my back-end strength in the run really pays off. Like...
But the build up for Tarahuea was interesting because it had towering a half, you know, only a couple of weeks before. So actually the Sunday before towering a half, I ran a 90k training run in Rotorua and then six days later managed to get a fifth place at the Half Ironman and run a, I think it was a 1.16 off the bike there. So that was, yeah, same thing, quite surprising.
And then the lead into Tarahumara, yeah, just a couple more key one off sessions. So nothing crazy overall volume, like maybe around that 100 to 120 Ks a week running, but topped up with a lot of bike volume, which a lot of people who are just running don't do. So how would that look in a week then? Let's say it's, so would you go and do a run on one day, like in the morning and then a bike in the afternoon or like, how do you do it? So you get that.
load yet you still get that recovery. Yeah, so I guess using the bike for a bit more of the intensity stuff because it's a lot less risky. Yeah, nice. Because you can push hard, your legs are still working hard and your heart rate definitely is. And then some run off the bike. So you are running on tired legs, but without the total impact over that session. And then also doing some, like say a three hour run on a Saturday and then getting home and straight onto the bike for another two hours.
and trying to keep the heart rate around the same as the run. So you're still getting that aerobic conditioning, but you're just not getting that total impact on the legs, which yeah, people who are just running, they might do a little bit of cycling, but I'm talking like I was doing an extra 12 hours a week of cycling, which adds a lot of aerobic conditioning in there. Yeah, it does. Does anyone coach you, Simon, or are you self-coached? Me now. So would you have a coach? Or like,
I think I just, well, I was talking to someone the other day about this as well, and I was just saying that because I'm so busy with, like I've got two businesses, young family, and obviously a lot of training myself, so most days I will make up my training on the day. Like I've got a brief sort of idea, but I'll head out and if things crop up, I'm not stressed that I'm missing something because I can change tomorrow or I can do that. So I think it would be more stressful having a coach because you'd have your training peaks and you'd...
you know, you wouldn't be getting the sessions done. And I wouldn't get the value out of the coach because I would be changing it up so much. Yes, yeah, actually, you're so right. You'd actually be a nightmare to coach probably. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think I know my body better than anyone. Yeah. And I don't think many coaches would have the confidence to program in some of the stuff that I'm doing. Like not many people are doing a 90K training run.
a week before a half iron man. And I don't think any coaches would recommend that. And I wouldn't recommend that for any of my athletes, but I'm trying to push the boundaries. And you know yourself, and I think this is the thing like, and this is why I think you are, you are, so when I said you were an anomaly, what I mean is like that, I think that there mate is like that, that must be more than just 15 years of load running, and I just say this as a 45 year old runner of 30 years, like no amount of slow.
steady buildup over the years has resulted in me being able to do that. Because there are people like Kelly and Jaunaid, I think about people like him and Michael Knight and is it Mike Knight? You know the zero carb, he's not really zero carb, he calls himself zero carb, I've seen him eat carbs, I don't know what he's on about. And Mike Wardian would be another one, these super sort of high volumous type people.
And yeah, like, I mean, the volume before the Ultraman buildup was like the biggest six weeks of my life. Yes. Um, just because the bike run and swim volume had to be high. So the intensity was lower. But like I peeked out at a, just looking back now, like a 36 hour week, plus, you know, some sauna and stretching and a little bit of that sort of thing that I don't add into training peaks.
So that's right, because you've got a sauna. You've got one of those dry saunas that you built. Yes, sauna, ice bath, and pretty much a full gym set up in my garage. So yeah. I'm not surprised. You'd need it to be fair. Good for time efficiency. Yes. Definitely. Yeah. Okay. So I have a question for you. I'm a little bit this, you know what I'm like, Simon. I sort of like things get in my head and I just talk about them. How did you run all this by Larissa at the start?
Yeah, ask for forgiveness instead of permission. Yeah, well when I bought the sauna, like a kit set sauna that pretty much arrived just before Covid, so I had time to muck around at home and build it up. But it's an indoor sauna that I waterproofed and built a roof on and wanted outdoors just to, yeah, it's a hell of a lot nicer than sitting in the corner of the garage like you see some people. So we're looking out to the backyard, to trees and yeah, nice, nice sky and whatnot.
Um, and yeah, she thought it was a bit crazy. So I put a little concrete pad in and put it, you know, off to the side, but now she, she loves it. She enjoys it and uses it as much as I do. Yeah. No, what, so that's cool. What I mean is how did you run your, your crazy training and the hours spent out training? I mean, it's amazing actually. It's so great to see you got, cause she's an athlete as well. And she's.
done some pretty awesome things over the last few months too. So it hasn't just been one in the Cochrane family who've been out sort of smashing it. Yeah, yeah, no, she's definitely into it as well. And yeah, when I ran Queenstown Marathon, and yeah, it's got a few other things in the pipeline as well. Jumped into a couple of half Ironmans over summer, not with a huge buildup, but still just, yeah, enjoyed it, got it done. But yeah, I guess this, I've always done this and I've always made it work.
And because of my work being flexible, like I'm at home when it counts, like I'm at home, I go to swim squad super early in the morning, but I'm home by pretty much five past seven when the kids are up. So we'll have breakfast together, get the kids off to school and day here. And then I can shuffle work and training during the day. And then I cook dinner and we're home in the evenings. The Ultraman build up, like there was a few Saturdays where I was gone from sunrise to sunset. Yeah.
But then like on the Sunday morning, Larissa would get up and go for a run or go to the gym or whatever. And then I'd do a little bit in the afternoon and just shuffle things around like that. So yeah, we just make it work. Like swim squad before kids was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. Now for me, it's Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Tuesday, Thursday as Larissa off to the gym and I'll either do something in the garage if the kids are sleeping or we're up and yeah, having breakfast at 5 a.m. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Awesome. And so Simon, with your, can we have a chat about your like recovery time? So you use sauna, you use ice bath, like do you put time in your diary to do the things for recovery or do you notice if you don't do it? Like, do you notice a difference? Yeah, I think so. Even like the placebo effect, you know, like if I'm in the sauna and the ice bath, I'll sleep better. And then I'll just know that I've put that effort in. So I think your body
relaxes more and yeah, you feel more confident of pushing hard in your training. But I think the biggest thing has just been focusing on protein, like high high protein, like not counting or watching or like I've never counted calories or measured how much protein or anything I'm having, but just keeping that as the main focus and just eating lots like when I was training 35 hours a week I could
probably not even keep on top of the calories, you know? So I was literally, if I was hungry, I was eating, and if I wasn't hungry, I was eating. Yeah, yeah, yeah, just to make sure we're getting it in. And then, yeah, just enough stretching mobility stuff, just daily, like even five minutes after a session, that all adds up. And then I've got recovery systems, boots, recovery boots, which I'll jump in, you know, a few times a week as well. Yeah, but I think the balance between swimming, biking and running definitely helps.
even when you're doing big swimming, it's freshening the legs up a bit as well. Yeah, yeah. Simon, what about supplements for you? I mean, I take a multivitamin when I remember. Actually, my sponsor, Tailwind, sent me some currants, just a couple of packs. And I was taking that before the Ultraman buildup.
Yeah, I think I actually found a bit of difference, like no association with them or anything. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But yeah, that might be worth looking into a bit more as well. I do have protein shakes most afternoons and I will put some extra BCAAs in there. I know there's so much research that probably, you know, whether it helps or not, but I've just always done that. So I pop them in. Yeah, I do that too. I put BCAAs in with my Good Green Vitalities.
because they both taste good together. And actually where the research is, as I understand it, is actually for DOMS, for endurance athletes. So I think you're on the money there. Yeah, I think I've just always done it. So I've just kept doing it as well. And just lots of salt, adding salt with everything. Yeah, I think actually that's an area where a lot of athletes might fall down, I think, is not the, I mean, they'll have their electrolyte drink in, this is just from my clinical experience, in their training and in their recovery, but not...
necessarily think about it at other times of the day. And it's more than just the electrolytes that you get in the drink that's important. It's actually, yeah, getting on that, getting on top of that salt. Yeah, and I think that also can trigger you, I guess, you can think that you're feeling hungry when you probably just need a bit of salt and some liquid. Yeah, yeah. So a lot of people, yeah, will go to a salty type of food or something. And it's like, you don't need calories. You just need some salt.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, I totally agree. Um, do you know Simon, do you, do you know Sean Collins? Uh, that name rings a bell. Yeah. So he's, um, a friend of mine and he's, he's otherwise known as a running beast. He runs Lake Turkey. Oh, yes, yes, yes. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So I think you guys are a little bit sort of cut from the same cloth in terms of your, uh, I suppose your, your.
interest in these super long, super challenging events, because it's so much more than just the physical. Because I mean, to be able to be in physical shape over the course of the six months that you were for your events was phenomenal. But to have the mental fortitude to, not necessarily the event, I mean, that's something in itself, but actually just the training in the day to day. Did you have dark periods of time where you were like, why am I doing this? Or
Or actually that you actually, that's not a thing that you think about. Cause I know Sean's very good with that mental sort of, um, fortitude side of things. Yeah. I'd say 99% of the time, like I'm, I'm pretty amped and motivated for training. Like I like, yeah, pushing myself, testing out the, you know, different training theories and philosophies and, um, just pushing the boundaries, I guess. Um, and just seeing how it does motivate other people, I think, um, and once people sort of think of you as that.
crazy guy pushes hard. It's like, that does keep you in check as well. It's like, shit, you know, gotta keep upping my game. You know, you're getting messages from all sorts of people saying, like it is motivating, which is cool. And I mean, you still get those mornings where you wake up and you're like, I can't be stuck going to swim squad, but you know, I've never not done it. So, and you always feel better after you've done a session, like a hundred percent of the time. And I think just because I have done it.
and have been so consistent and it is just, the alarm goes off and you get up and you do your thing. Yeah, yeah, for sure. What now, what was harder? Was Tarahueira harder than the Ultraman? Yep. Yeah, I would have thought so too actually. Yeah, what was it about it that made it harder for you? Yeah, like I think because I raced Tarahueira, like there's a difference between running 100 miles and racing 100 miles, like a big difference.
Yeah. And I think I'm enjoying, yeah, finding these crazier events and actually trying to race them rather than just, yeah, go out and do them. Like there's a lot of people who you could go out and enjoy a hundred miles. Like if you can walk a bit of stuff, have chats with people, but when you're trying to, yeah, push hard for that amount of time, I mean, it was, yeah, over 16 hours of running, you know, hard. I think just that overall fatigue from the
from the running is next level. Yeah, yeah. And how long did it take for you post that race to feel like you had your running legs sort of back? Well, I had to race Ironman like 21 days later. Oh, that's right. I forgot about Ironman. Actually, I didn't. It was actually in my notes, but I think I just got caught up in the other ones. So I had a week off running, and then I think the following weekend, well, the following, yeah, I only had, yeah.
10 days of run training as such, but I just had to try and dial that 4 minute Ks back in for the Ironman sort of pace, and seemed to pull up alright. I mean, I definitely wasn't fresh going into Ironman, just because I didn't have the bike miles, which then affects, yeah, how you run. I think I ran 256, which, I mean, considering, yeah, what I'd done, I was happy with that, but I knew I should have been running, yeah, hopefully under that 250, which...
I guess if you didn't do 100 miles two weeks before then. Well, it would have been a possibility, right? Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And Simon, did any of your, throughout your training cycle, I suppose, did your events that you'd just done, did that inform what you would then do training-wise for your next event? So for example, you trained for Blue Lake. Did you think, okay, well, that went particularly well, I'm definitely gonna do this for Tatawera and subsequently Tatawera for Ultraman?
Like how does that, like how much do you sort of adjust your training based on your, those previous races? Yeah, I mean, going through Blue Lake gave me a lot of confidence that obviously my endurance was okay. My run form must be all right to not break down too much over 200 Ks. So going into Taupo 100 a few weeks later, I mean, I knew I had done endurance, so I just worked on a bit more intensity, but for ultra intensity, it's not, you know, it's not going to the track and doing.
200 meter reps or anything and I don't think that that's almost too risky when you're trying to put out 150k weeks So and then now my thoughts through the season was I was gonna do those half Ironmans Which would be working on obviously the top end and then it was gonna be Tarahueira Ironman and then that was sort of the perfect lead-in to Ultraman because I didn't have to do high volume running because I've Still had that Tarahueira run block in my legs
And the Ironman intensity on the swimming bike had sort of done its job. So I just had literally a month of building the race pace endurance towards Ultraman. So it's sort of, yeah, timed perfectly really. Yeah. Were there any niggles throughout, which made you think, I don't know that this is all going to come off, that you just were a bit quiet about on social media? No, no. That's what I mean. Like this buildup was literally, yeah, I got to the start line.
Probably the best I'd felt for any race ever, which was interesting because it had been the biggest volume buildup. And I remember doing a 20, 30 minute jog couple of days before Ultraman and Aussie, and I was like, all right, I'll just go do it easy, 30 minutes, and I came back and the average was like 419 per K, and I was like, wow, the legs have actually freshened up a bit as well. So that gave me quite a bit of confidence. And same thing with the swim couple of days before, I just went into the kilometer.
And same thing just went by feel and I was like, well, that's actually race pace. And that felt quite good. So whether you're used to racing half Ironman and Ironman intensity, and then you're bringing it back to that sort of high end aerobic, um, just the perceived effort is easier to mentally deal with. And then obviously, yeah, easier for the body as well. Yeah. And what about your, um, with that aerobic based training?
Were you basing it on like Phil Maffetone's sort of math, maximum aerobic function or just? So the last time I put a heart rate monitor on would have been about 15 years ago. So. So is that all on feel and pace? Like do you just. All on feel. Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. So yeah. I mean the watch wrist heart rates are useless. So there's no point in trying to use them. And I don't like the chest strap. It's just.
annoying chafing and yeah and my heart rate's quite low so like resting heart rate would be under 40 and my threshold heart rate while running is like 150 or something so it's so all the zones that are sort of out there and that you're looking at um yeah weren't super relevant um so now it's pretty much just by feel i mean i know my aerobic pace now as well and that was slowly coming down um like when i got back into running
like after my accident a couple of years ago, it was sort of 450s per K was sort of like, that easy aerobic. And now that has sort of come all the way down to, like 425, 430 as the long easy run pace where you can still have a chat and yeah, feel comfortable. Yeah, yeah, awesome. It's a lot of money in Ultraman.
Uh, no. But there's good kudos. So, um, so now what's, so what's on the, so when you went into that race, actually, so did you have an idea of your competition and how they could do like, and compared to where you were at? Like, did you know who else you were sort of competing against? Yeah. So there, I mean, there was a big pre-race favorite, Richard Thompson, who was two time Ultraman world champ.
He'd won Australia a couple of times and was a previous record holder. Um, and he had put it out there that he was, you know, a big project sub 20 hours sort of thing, which was an hour and 20 off the world record. So everyone was sort of saying, yeah, you know, you're dreaming. Um, and I didn't think about times or anything because I hadn't done the distance before. So yeah, I was just going there to race. Um, and yeah, just do my thing. Yeah. And.
And I know that you have covered this on other podcasts, but when you were sort of coming out of the swim, did you like, was it obvious where you were placed? Well, I mean, I knew I was in the lead, which was nice. But at the final turnaround buoy, I actually took a time split on my watch to see where Richard was. And it was only like six or eight minutes behind, which in the scheme of a 10K swim isn't huge.
So I pushed quite hard for the last bit of the swim and then got onto the bike, like quick transition out onto the bike and pushed like really hard. But going back, realized now that I actually beat him out of the water by 20 minutes. I must've put a lot into him in that last K and a half. So whether his conditioning wasn't quite there for the full 10 Ks or whatever. And then after day one, I had a 37 minute lead already.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's what I wanted. I wanted to make a bit of a statement and put everyone else under pressure. Because I do have a fairly strong swim, that was the plan. Yeah, nice. And then, so what about your recovery food sort of post that first swim, Simon? Like, were you, like, did you have that all sort of dialed in or did you just sort of eat to feel the way that we were talking about earlier? Like, what was the deal for you there? Yeah, so on the...
swim you've got a paddler who pretty much directs you and they can carry a bottle and whatnot. So I just had I think four or five quick stops, quick scull of tailwinds. I just had a bottle over that 10kms and then so you're straight onto the bike for 145kms after that swim and yeah just sort of normal fueling. What you were talking about before. Yeah, and then straight after a bit of protein and then home that night and it was just
keeping it simple. So we just had homemade pizzas and some kuma fries. Didn't want to have a huge load of solids. And then, yeah, pretty much that was the same day one, day two. Yeah. Yeah. And what about breakfast? So my standard breakfast like for racing is just some rice cakes, peanut butter, banana, salt. And that was the same across the three days. Like that's what I do every weekend before my big sessions.
Um, so that was, yeah, keep, keep everything same. Yeah. Yeah. Nice. And like in that race, we're like, what was your, what was your favorite part of that race? Like, was it the, was it the coming down, finishing the run, like knowing that you'd like nailed the world record? Like. Yeah, interesting. There was a few, I guess like each day had their own bits. Like I really enjoyed the 10k swim. Like I didn't think I was going to.
Like the long pool training swims really drag on, but being in Noosa, the water was 25 degrees. It's clear. You're out front swimming well, feeling good. Um, yeah, when we got to like nine Ks and it was a K to go, I was sort of like, Oh man, I wish it was longer. Like it was weird. I did not think that would be the case. And then, um, yeah, the long rides, like I really enjoy that. Um, there was a bit of scenery, but you're not looking, looking too much into it, but just, yeah, I guess just.
getting stuck in on those long hard days, just enjoy that, like, you know, seven hours of threshold riding. Not for everyone, but... And then the run, the first marathon, yeah, just went quite smoothly. Like I had Matt Kerr as my pacer, so we were literally just chatting away, yeah, talking shit, and then turned and they said 258 and I was like, wow, okay, that's going alright.
And then obviously it gets a bit harder on the way back through the hills and that sort of thing. But didn't have any dark, super dark patches like across the three days. Like it was, it was pretty smooth. So the whole thing was enjoyable. That doesn't mean it was easy, but it was, yeah, weren't as smooth as I could have hoped. Yeah, nice. And I, it's funny, I was having this conversation with some other people a few weeks ago and that sometimes when you're out training, like, I mean, you're, I mean, you...
I don't know if this happens to you, and I don't think it will, but sometimes you just sort of throw your toys a little bit and go, what on earth am I doing? But then you stop and think, hey, actually, I've made the choice to be here. I'm really lucky to be out here doing this. And how awesome it is. So reframing it when you do have those dark moments, I reckon that's a real skill. And I don't even think that comes down to experience actually, because even the most experienced people can go into a hole and just sort of... Yeah. I think it's just having that mindset.
And definitely like there's so many people that would love to be doing what we all get to do, you know, running, riding, swimming outside, um, and being fit and healthy. Like there's a lot of people that would give anything to, to be there. So you are lucky, but you are still choosing to do it as well. And then I guess those dark patches, like on race day, like, yeah, I don't go to the races to enjoy them. Like you're going there to get the most out of yourself and I'm expecting to hurt and expecting to suffer. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, no, I totally. And what was your sleep like across the days actually? Like were you too wired to sleep? Um, yeah, we sort of just a bit achy as well. Um, but I generally sleep pretty good. Like I got to bed early enough that yeah, I was lying down for, you know, six or seven hours. So that's better than, yeah. So no, sleep was all right. Um, after the day three, like after the 84k run, the sleep that night didn't really happen. Like literally aching and I guess just overwhelmed from the...
the three days, but I think just the three days of that much sugar and carbs in the body as well, your body's just going, what the hell is going on? Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think I worked out I would have had like over a kilo and a half of sugar over the three days and it's like your body's trying to process that. Yeah, yeah. And then you chuck a few beers and a couple of pies in afterwards as well. Oh, that's good. I was actually going to ask you that because I wasn't sure, because I know some people
but they really want to eat because mentally they're like, I can't wait to have this, but physically the stomach's like, oh no, that's not going to happen. Well, I think because I had liquid across the days, I was actually hungry. So yeah, on the drive back to the Airbnb, we actually stopped at a bakery and I got two pies and finished them before we got home. And then, yeah, I was definitely hungry. And then, yeah, we went back down to the Noosa Surf Club and yeah, had a big meal and yeah, a few beers and yep.
Awesome. And then for that following week, Simon, did you like, did you have any post-race sort of depression? Like, did you get that? No, I'm pretty good. No, I was quite excited really, because like, yeah, it all went well, and then yeah, I can start planning out the sort of next adventure and that sort of thing. And I guess just because there was quite a lot of exposure and yeah, quite a bit of hype around the event, which is cool. So I guess that kept me quiet.
quite hyped up as well, rather than if you just came home or if you had a ship race, you would sort of, yeah, feel a bit average for a while. But no, I think it was almost opposite. Like I came home and I was sort of like, kept getting messages and yeah, so that definitely helped. Yeah, for sure. And I imagine as well through the last six months that whenever you ticked off like a milestone sort of event in the lead up, they all went so well. And yet there was still something else in the future to sort of like.
enable you to sort of look ahead and not think, oh, well, you know, I just did my goal marathon for the year and I've got my six months and nothing. Yeah, exactly. And I think that just helps you keep focused towards the next thing. Yeah, and it sort of all just was building up towards this, but it didn't feel like I built up and then it dropped off. You know what I mean? Like it feels like there's still higher things to go now, which is exciting as well. Yeah, for sure. So in terms of recovery, how was that week for you post the event? Like,
Did you do active movement? Did you really not do anything at all? Like what's the kind of, what did you do and what would you tell your athletes to do? Yeah, I'd say I was more tired than sore. I mean, you're still sore, but I'm used to being sore. Like I'm sore every weekend. It's just, that's normal. But I guess the lack of sleep and just the overall energy output over the three days, like it would have, I think I would have burnt, you know, 25 to 30,000 calories across the three days. So that's a big shock to the body. And I think just being,
tired and not sleeping as well and then a bit of travel and you know, that sort of thing. But no, in general, it was good. So just back into some light rides and swims for the first week and then this week's actually, yeah, body's starting to loosen up again and ready to go. Yeah. And what are you ready to go for? So I'm almost ready to lock in Ultraman Canada. Amazing. When is that?
I think that is five and a half weeks. Oh, fantastic. Actually, doesn't that make perfect sense, right? Like, as long as you nail your recovery, then you've got all of that fitness just waiting. Yeah, so if that goes ahead, like we're looking at this weekend to sort of see if we can make it all work, it'll be just another week of building back into things, a three week block, and then taper again. So to be able to focus just for that four weeks is quite easy.
Whereas if it was December or something, you'd have to have a whole build up again. Which, yeah. So hopefully that, which is a qualifier for the World Champs in Hawaii in November. So there might be two more Ultramans before the end of the year. Was that Noosa one not a qualifier? Bit of politics with the owners between Australia and Hawaii Ultraman. So no.
And they weren't willing to give a wild card entry or anything either. So there's a big history there that yeah, there's obviously not too healthy relationship. So no, no, not a direct qualifier, but yeah. And you know what? You don't need that because you just go and kick ass in Canada anyway. So like legit, like, you know, so I mean, yeah. And it's in Penticton, which I love, like I've raised challenge Penticton before. And the course looks amazing. Like it's.
lake swim and I think it's actually a point to point 10k which will seem like a hell of a long way and then the day one bike finishes you know 145kms away from the start and the day two so it's a bit more logistics to organize but you get to see a lot more of the area and yeah I think it will be a lot warmer a lot hillier so the times might not be as quick and the conditions might be a bit tougher but that's looking forward to that challenge as well.
Yeah, because it doesn't really matter your time for the qualifier, is it? No, I don't think so. No, I think this one, if I, if I race and, you know, if I race well, I'll probably, yeah, yeah. What is it? Top three or? No, I don't even know if they've got like a criteria as such, but I mean, I'll be racing to win. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. So is there anything from your training for this ultra?
that you will change in the lead in to Canada? No, I mean, I've just sort of looked back at the three weeks before the Aussie one, and I've sort of penciled that in for the three weeks before Canada, but the travel, you know, it takes an extra day or so, and then the time zones and that sort of thing. So that last week, I might freshen up a little bit more, like I'm not worried about the endurance as such.
and then I might do the two weeks prior to that the same and then the two weeks prior I might do a little bit lighter volume but a little bit more intensity just to lift the thresholds up and yeah so I might find a marathon or something like that something nice and short just get used to that sort of uncomfortable tempo running so then when you go back to the the 84k pace it um yeah feels a bit more comfortable
Yeah, nice. Will Larissa and the family be coming with you? This trip, probably just Larissa. Yeah, cool. Yeah. But it was good to have everyone at Noosa. Because they are your full support crew in the car. There's no aid stations or anything. So it's literally on them for directions and handing bottles and that sort of thing. Yeah. How old are your kids, Simon? Tinley's five. Yeah. So I just started school and Nixon's two, two and a half.
Well, two and a half probably is a little bit too young, but I just think it's so great for kids to see their parents go out and like, nail it, you know, and be so determined and that kind of thing. I was having a conversation with someone the other week, just talking about how, you know, like sometimes you can get really frustrated at kids because they're not basically picking up what you're putting down, but they are in their head. Yeah. Yeah. No, that's definitely a motivator. And, but I think, yeah, like Tinley understands what I do.
still doesn't understand the distances or anything. Oh no, no, no, it doesn't need to. 90k training run and now he's home mowing the lawns and you know, playing for the afternoon. It's like, oh, he just went out for a little jog. Yeah, totally. Yeah, yeah. Because you know, his mates, dads will probably do the same, like go out for a little jog and then mow the lawns, but it's all relative, I guess. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, cool. Simon, if you had had an athlete come to you and say that they'd want to do all of what you've done, what would you have said to them?
Yes, but it's probably going to take an extra few years to get to that level. It literally is that years of aerobic base that you can't short track, you know, like people that try and do it get injured or, you know, run down or lose motivation or that sort of thing. Like it does take time to build up that endurance. But I mean, it can be done, like, but you just got to be willing to put in.
usually a bit more work than you think, and just commit for a bit longer. But most people can get more out of themselves by actually nailing and just focusing on each day, rather than thinking, you know, got something down the line. It's like, nah, I just want people to just focus on what you got to do today, do that the best you can, and take that off for six months in a row, and you'll be amazed at what you can achieve. Yeah, yeah. And what is that saying, that people,
overestimate what they can do in like, you know, six weeks, but underestimate what they can do in like a year or whatever. Yep. Yep. And that's, that's big. Yeah. Any, um, like with your injury history, have you had, I know that you've had a fall before, but any stress, fracture worries or anything like that, that you were sort of mindful of coming into this massive block or that? Um, I mean my
My feet roll in a little bit so I've got like orthotics. A few years ago I did have a stress fracture in my ankle but I think that was more from a sort of impact or twisting it rather than an over training as such. So no pretty pretty good really I mean you still get the you know sore areas, tight areas but it's just backing off when you need to and just yeah I mean I get
and just keeping on top of stretching, making sure you're using new shoes every block. So I've got like about six shoes that I'll rotate through just to change it up as well. Yeah, yeah. And actually I was thinking about your running load and thinking most people sort of change up their running shoes every, I don't know, 12 weeks and you might put a little bit more than that. Yeah, well I'm pretty efficient with my run form I think. So my shoes actually do last, like I got a thousand Ks out of a pair of shoes.
Yeah, which is quite good. Yeah, that's great. Who's your, do you have a shoe sponsor? No, no. Mike Graham at Shoe Science helps me out a bit. Yeah, he's great. But, no, it'd be cool to get into, I mean, I run in Soconis 90% of the time. Nice. So yeah, it's just, yeah. That'd be great. That's my pick at the moment. Yeah, so you've obviously got Tailwind. Yep. Soconi would need to bring you up.
Yeah, and then like for my bike and like Sipo sponsored me for about six years, which is yeah, a cool Japanese brand that yeah, suits me so well. And then negative split carbon wheels. And then just come aboard with Win Republic for the training and racing gear, which is quite cool. That's great. Yeah. We've got some nice gear. So Simon, you just meant we just talked about sort of patience, perseverance and just taking it day by day.
for other athletes who are inspired by what you do. Anything else that you want to sort of leave them with or motive or anything that's, because who is contacting you now actually? Do you get a lot of ultra runners contacting you? A lot of the longer, as opposed to, you know, your 70.3s and your Ironman athletes? Yep, yep, probably, yeah. In the last, obviously, just couple of months, it has been a bit more, yeah, people going for those more extreme events, just because I guess I've been out.
of a profile now and have done, yeah, fairly well at some long events. Yeah, and I think it's people, a lot of people don't realize what it does take and what the commitment is. So I think it's just making it realistic in the buildup. Like, you know, you got to tick off, like I say, each week at a time. And if we can just keep progressing towards whatever event you're aiming for, then that's the only goal we can.
really have. You don't really need a time goal or a placing goal. If you can keep improving consistently, then that's the number one goal. And whether that happens across two months towards an event or you can keep doing that across five, 10 years, then that's the most important thing. And I think just realizing that every little decision does make a difference. Same thing with diet, I guess. It's like...
You know, you can be a bit relaxed as well, but then you get into that loop of being more relaxed more often as well. So it's, yeah, it's just always choosing the hard option. Like I said, the other day, it's just, yeah. Yeah. You just feel so much better. Deep down, you know what the answer is. Like you don't need to ask someone or you don't need to, you know, I mean, you may do for a bit of guidance, but at the end of the day, you know what is the right choice when you think.
Should I do this or should I do this? Nine times out of 10, you know, deep down and the confidence builds from when you choose that hard thing. Yeah, I love that. And you know, Simon, I've developed more of a mindset like that in the last couple of years, which has been so great for a number of, for my running. Um, and, and also other areas like professional development and stuff. And I, I did it through resources and podcasts and books and things.
Have you always felt and thought this way, or have you also done that sort of work? And do you also engage in podcasts around? Yeah, definitely. And same thing in the last few years, I think. It works well with training for the mindset as well, but then it's business, relationships, everything's the same. It's like, if you've got an email that you like, oh, I don't really want to get back to them. It's like, do that first.
and the weight is off your mind. Or, you know, a lot of times, yeah, when people are messaging and that sort of thing, it's like pick up the phone, call them, get the situation done. And nine times out of 10, it's gonna be a lot better than you think. Like in your head, it's gonna be a lot worse. So just, yeah, get the hard thing out of the way first. And it's like cold shower in the morning. It's like, you can do something that you hate, that sucks first thing, then the rest of the day is gonna be a bit easier.
Totally. And what, do any books or any podcasts that you listen to or anything or any emails that you subscribe to that sort of give you that daily sort of reminder of this stuff? Oh, no, I need some new books. I've sort of been quite busy lately. Yeah, yeah. You need audio books. Yeah, yeah, that's true. Yeah. I mean, yeah, all the usual podcasts that are, you know, motivating is good. And I'll just sort of scan through and if I find a guest that I enjoy or like, then...
Yeah. And then you go down some rabbit holes and learn different things. But the good old Goggins hard tough nuts stuff, that's good. And that crosses over with every aspect of life as well, I think. I totally agree. That and I bet you would listen to a lot of similar things. Michael Ester in his Comfort Crisis book. Yeah. Yeah. I subscribed to his Substack 2%. Great. And there's another book, 4000 Weeks.
actually, which is... Oh, I've heard that one. Yes, yeah, that's the number of weeks that on average we're gonna live. So you better make the most of them as you do, Simon. Yeah, I've seen a few people with those big calendars where you cross off each week to what hours. I was like, oh, I don't know. I don't know if I wanna do that either. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Oh, Simon, thank you so much for your time this morning. It's so cool to have this chat and just get a little bit of an insight
what goes on in your mind. And, cause I think it's so inspiring for people and it's so cool that things have just gone so well. Cause every time you did a race, it was like, Oh my God, you've nailed that again. Like it was, it was big talk in our house as well. Cause we've loved following you and, and, and seeing what you've done. So finally, I do actually just have one question. Is there like a 200 miler in your future somewhere in Europe? Yeah, I was actually following that Cokedona 250 in the States.
Which is strangely enough quite appealing, running 400Ks nonstop through the desert. Not strange at all actually. Yeah. Yeah, and this sort of multi-day Ultraman sort of, yeah, was an insight into what it feels like going day after day. I mean, it's not running for three days straight, but it's a bit of an insight. And I mean, I've done the Blue Lake 24 hour, which I might slot in again this year as well, whether I go for the 200K again or just.
and have some fun with my athletes out there. Yeah, nice. But no, definitely. I think, yeah, it'd be fun to go and have a good crack at some of those races. Like I was saying, a lot of people enter a 250 mile run and probably walk 70% of it. But yeah, just push some limits and see, yeah, it might, the first time I do that, it might end up real ugly. But it's all learning, eh? If I do the prep right and...
Yeah, believe in the process then who knows. You might be able to go and yeah, go well at some of those and like bad water and some of those real extreme conditions events. Yeah. Which I think with some of my results lately it probably helps with some of the application processes which seem hard to get into a lot of those events. So maybe yeah, with a bit of some good results this season it might help talking to some race organizers or something.
Yeah, I can't imagine any race organizer turning your way. If I'm like, like if they don't accept someone like you, who on earth goes into those events? Like who are these crazy people? When I say crazy, I don't actually mean crazy, but just like, you know, you're, I really think that your results just, you stand out like, and it's so awesome. Cool. Thanks. Yeah. No, it's, I mean, the season has gone pretty well. Um, but the exciting thing is you can always see Roomsome.
room for improvement. And it's not even in the physical stuff, it's just pushing that mental boundaries. Like Ultraman went pretty smooth, like there wasn't any dark sort of stuff. So you're like, well, how much harder could you have pushed? Because day three, like I wasn't racing anyone apart from me and the clock, which is quite hard to get the most out of yourself when you're not under so much pressure. Yeah, for sure.
Nice Simon, well I hope that you have a good relaxing rest of your day and it's exciting to hear that Canada may be on the cards and just get confirmation on that and then just follow your journey through there because that's not far away. So now tell people where they can find you on Instagram and also are you taking athletes right now? All your books are full, how's that look? Pretty close to being full. Still always keen to chat to people because there's always options.
around that so definitely yeah get in touch via athleticpeak.co.nz or on Instagram you'll find I think it's athletic.peak and at Cochrane Simon.
That is awesome. Simon, thanks so much. Thanks, Miki. Good to chat.
Alrighty, hopefully you enjoyed that as much as I enjoyed chatting to Simon and it was such a great chat just to be able to talk to him about all of those elements that got him to where he is and also of course what's next. I think it's super exciting for Simon and I'm really, I can't wait to see how the rest of the year unfolds. Next week on the podcast, I talk to my friend Kwadjo Kiriamanteng, an ICU and palliative care specialist.
on his experience being on the front line of the Covid response in Canada. Despite the fact that Covid is almost a distant memory for us, there are some real take homes from this conversation that I had with Quadjo that I think you're really going to appreciate. So that is next week on the podcast. You guys have a great week. You can catch me over on Facebook at Miki Willard in nutrition, over on Instagram and Twitter at Miki Willard in.
head over to my website mckywilledon.com where you can book a call or jump on one of my meal plans. Alright team, have a great week, talk soon.