Simon Whitfield And Andrew MacNaughton: Reflections On An Evolved Approach To Training

I am outnumbered 2-to-1 by Canadians in this episode as Olympic gold and silver medalist Simon Whitfield joins me and my co-host Andrew MacNaughton for a conversation about pursuing goals, changing our mindset towards success, and training.

In this episode, Simon talks about the most important things he has learned from his long career at the top of the sport, sharing some of the most unique memories and important perspective shifts he has experienced, like his incredible victory in the inaugural Olympic triathlon in Sydney, Australia in 2000. Simon is such a thoughtful and introspective guest to listen to, and he offers many sharp insights that are applicable to both peak performance goals as well as life goals in general. Simon’s way of thinking is: “If you love your pursuits, you’ll find a way to success. If you succumb to your fears and insecurities, your results will suffer accordingly.” You’ll enjoy hearing Simom’s refreshing honesty in this show as he delves into the problems that come with drifting into a prima donna perspective, the importance of recalibrating to focus on the journey, and what changes when you have a strong and authentic support team. “Hard truths come with sharp edges, but they are the source of the greatest learning,” Simon says. He also talks about some fun, recent life events, like his epic standup paddling adventures in Victoria.

Enjoy this revealing and impactful episode with triathlon’s most thoughtful coach, Andrew MacNaughton, and most thoughtful elite athlete, Simon Whitfield.


Simon Whitfield had an amazing gold medal showing at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia. [00:27]

Triathlon is high intensity macho contest which takes a certain mindset. [03:12]

Amazingly, after Simon crashed during the bike ride in the Olympics, her remained calm. He talks about his thoughts at that time. [09:22]

When Simon was adjacent to the leader, Vokovich, and Vukovich pulled ahead, Simon’s body language changed. [15:36]

People need to celebrate what they get, not what they didn’t get. [19:58]

How did Simon’s life change after he won the Olympic gold? He does mentor some younger athletes and spent time reconnecting with family. [21:20]

After spending time away from the sport is feels good to reconnect with the young newcomers to the sport and remember how it was for you loving and training for your career. [26:31]

Sometimes it is important for someone to tell you the hard truth. [31:05]

Team and training partners are very important in so many ways. It is easy to self-sabotage. [33:53]

The playfulness and bantering with other athletes help to keep you level headed. [37:45]

Simon is coached by his 80-year-old self. Paddleboarding in the ocean is his best pastime. [41:17]

An athlete has to understand the math to be aware of where they are as well as the competitors. [50:48]



Brad (00:01):
Welcome to the Return of the Primal Endurance Podcast. This is your host, Brad Kearns, and we are going on a journey to a kinder, gentler, smarter, more fun, more effective way to train for ambitious endurance goals. Visit primal to join the community and enroll in our free video course.

Brad (00:27):
Hey, I picked this upcoming show to re-broadcast cuz you’re not gonna hear from two more thoughtful guys than the Canadian duo of Andrew MacNaughton, my co-host on this show. And our guest, Olympic Gold and Olympic silver medalist, Simon Whitfield. My previous intro teases up the show nicely, so let’s give it a listen. Enjoy. So happy to tee up this very, very special podcast where Andrew MacNaughton and I catch up with the Olympic gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist in triathlon Simon Whitfield of Canada. And the show was really fast moving and we’re all old friends, especially Andrew and Simon go way back to the very beginning of Simon’s career when Andrew was sort of a mentor and a coach advisor, Andrew being older and having finished his racing career, but having that Canadian connection and Andrew being a part of Simon coming up and absolutely shocking the world of triathlon with his unbelievable Olympic gold medal victory in the very first Olympic triathlon when the sport debuted at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Brad (01:34):
So, since the show proceeds so quickly, I wanted to give a little background information on the co-host Andrew and I, and then of course, Simon, so that you can really lock into the conversation as it flows along. And, uh, we focus on his Olympic victory because it was such an amazing moment in the sport. It was right there in downtown Sydney, a showcase event for the television broadcast that happened right at the beginning of the Olympics. So all eyes were on triathlon, a lot of the sports weren’t going yet. And here’s this guy, Simon, who was not at all a favorite. He was a guy on the circuit. He was getting some, you know, top finishes in the top five, top 10, but outta nowhere. And out of a crash on the bike course during the bike segment where, you know, looked like his race day might be over,

Brad (02:21):
he came through with one of the most amazing and beautiful victories ever in the sport of triathlon and the beautiful part of it, and he gets into this a little bit as he talks about his mindset during the race. The beautiful part was at the very end when he was really, really far behind with, let’s say a thousand meters to go. The, uh, leading guy from Germany, Vukovich had a huge lead on Simon, and it looked like it was a foregone conclusion that this guy would win the gold and Simon would get the silver or bronze. But the intensity and the look on Simon’s face as he chased this guy down with such fury was unforgettable. And you’re gonna have to go on YouTube and watch this amazing sprint finish where he catches the guy in the final meters, you know, the final run up to the finish line and passes him and breaks this tape for the most phenomenal gold medal you’ll ever see.

Brad (03:12):
So we talk about that a bit, but I think the most important elements of the show are the really thoughtful and deep and progressive mindset that both Simon and Andrew present when they’re talking about training and racing and competing in this really high intensity and, uh, macho testosterone contest sport where it’s just turning on the gas pedal and going as fast as you can. It’s pretty straightforward. Unlike golf or tennis where you have these psychological things and these technique issues, triathlon is pretty much of a macho contest to see who’s trained the hardest, who can take the most pain and suffer and get to the finish line first. But behind all that, behind that aggression on race day is th there’s a lot of nuance to it. You have to learn how to take care of your body and you have to learn how to take care of your mind and your moods and your work ethic, and you’re balancing that work ethic with a sensibility to balance your life and your stress and rest levels and process defeat and discouragement and also process incredible shocking success that changes your life overnight.

Brad (04:19):
Like what happened to Simon. So you gotta listen to this show carefully, maybe, maybe even played at single speed instead of one and a half or two speed, which you sometimes play a lot of podcasts. I know I like to do it because I can hear more podcasts that way and I really don’t miss anything. But at this one, I think you should go back to single speed because, uh, the little tidbits that Simon offers up and Andrew offer up as they converse, um, really have a lot of great meaning and a lot of application to not only athletes pursuing goals and endurance athletes pursuing goals and locking in exactly to the triathlon talk. But anyone, whether it’s pursuing a career goal or being the best you can be as a parent or in a relationship or just moderate fitness goals, it’s really important to get this deeper level of psychology when you’re talking about going out there and achieving goals rather than just turning on that gas pedal and going with blinders on and like that all these other things don’t matter.

Brad (05:10):
And in the Primal Endurance book, there’s a little nice passage sidebar for Andrew where he talks about, you know, as he gave became more and more experienced in the sport, he realized that the most, the best way to dictate his workout patterns were to identify his moods and align his workout choices with that. And it’s so refreshing to hear something like that rather than people going on and on about the regimented programming and, and paying a coach or a service to spit out workouts that are predictive of success, but have nothing to do with all the nuances of real life. So I think that’s enough blabbing for me right now, but I really wanted to set up these guys as two of the most progressive and thoughtful minds in the sport. And I know you’ll enjoy this show, especially catching up with Simon now that he’s in retirement and pursuing different goals like these incredible standup paddling adventures in Victoria, Canada. So it’s a really wide ranging show. Whether you’re an endurance athlete or a competitive athlete or not, I think you’ll love listening to the three of us catch up on the podcast. Thanks a lot for listening. It’s Brad Kearns. Here we go with Andrew McNaughton, former all time great Canadian professional triathlete and still racing at the age group level. He was a national champion a couple years ago, and the legendary Simon Whitfield, also from Canada, 2000 Olympic gold medalist in triathlon and 2008 Olympic silver medalist in triathlon. Enjoy the show.

Brad (06:33):
Welcome listeners. It’s Brad Turn with an exciting high tech episode where I’m sitting here with our favorite guest, Andrew McNaughton, but we have patched in a very special old friend Andrew, I think you should introduce who’s, uh, on the line from Canada

Andrew (06:49):
On the line we have today. Uh, Simon Whitfield, a two time Olympic medalist, four time Olympian and longtime friend. I think we’re coming up on 19 years.

Simon (07:00):
Oh my goodness. You were one my, one of my original coaches. Hey, Max, it’s been a long time.

Andrew (07:06):
It, it’s been a wonderful, wonderful long time. Yes,

Simon (07:09):
No, yeah, I think I think back to a lot of the things I learned from you back then. I still apply now, so, uh, and you too, Kearns. You too. I definitely, uh, between the two of you, uh, it’s been a great learning journey and a lot of last year, so it’s fun to be on your podcast.

Brad (07:25):
Yeah. We got into your head when you were a young athlete and, um, uh, informed you to do all the thing, uh, do as we say, not as we did. And I think it, uh, we, we take a lot of credit for your success cuz, you know, looking at these guys, I’m like, Now wait a sec, are you guys like 50 years old? And I’m like, No, dude, we’re 35. Come on, <laugh>. You know, we just trained too hard a little bit. But listeners, Simon, it was a young Canadian triathlete, very talented young athlete, uh, coming around to the, um, the turn of the century in 2000. And everyone in triathlon got the exciting news that it was going to become an Olympic sport debuting at the Sydney Olympic Games. And not only debuting, but being a centerpiece of the television coverage because they had the downtown theatrical setting on the waterfront and the Sydney Harbor.

Brad (08:11):
Um, and so triathlon was all of a sudden gonna come from an obscure sport that had its grassroots following in their magazines and there little races around, and now all of a sudden it was on the big stage. And so there were some leading athletes at the time, some of the Aussies and Germans and American guys that were, you know, bombing the circuit and had long careers leading up to that culmination of 2000. And you were kind of an up and coming guy. Um, but I don’t think anyone considered you a favorite going into that Sydney games. I mean, how many international victories had you had on the, on the IT circuit leading up to the Olympics?

Simon (08:47):
Oh, many in my head, but not on paper. Uh,

Brad (08:50):
Hold on the, the connection’s A little, a little scratchy. Did you say zero?

Simon (08:54):
I think zero. I think I may have had, Oh, no, that’s not true. I had, I’d had some, I had success, some success I’d had. I’d been second at a World Cup in, uh, in Rio actually to Dmitry Gag. And, uh, I believe in Cornerbrook also. So I, I understood that I could, I could run with the big boys, but, uh, I certainly hadn’t put down a result that that would line up someone to, uh, place a large bet on me, though. I hope, I hope, I hope Andrew MacNaughton did

Brad (09:22):
Good. I’d like to place a launch wage. Yeah, we flew to London and hit the bookmakers up. Um, so that’s setting the stage for going into this event. And, um, you’ve talked about it over and over, but these are listeners that might not be familiar with the 2000 Olympic triathlon. So I don’t know, maybe Andrew, as the storyteller could, could talk about what he saw that day on TV when tears were coming to his eyes when Simon crashed and thought that was it for him.

Andrew (09:48):
I remember that well, the way I do, uh, with my jaded and optimistic perspective on everything. Uh, I remember several things about that race and I, you know, you can, you can fill in how you thought, I remember you getting off your bike and thinking, Oh no, and then I was looking at you. It’s like, he is totally at peace with this. It’s not bothering him at all. And that was amazing to me. I was just wonderful to see.

Simon (10:14):
That was a funny What’s that? I have a funny memory of that crash because I have a exactly what you’re saying, a clarity of, uh, it, it, it becoming a moment, a galvanizing moment of around, wow, my fitness is there. And I, I felt so calm even when, when the crash, when people were crashing around me, that the path became very clear through the crash. And to get back up and to catch up to the lead group again, felt that it was that moment where I was, I really appreciated the fitness that I had brought to the event. And then the sense of calm, I didn’t panic. I didn’t have, uh, I didn’t let any kind of negative this is over or creep into my head. I just, I just, I was on a mission. So I, I made my way back to the lead pack.

Simon (10:54):
And that, uh, once I got there, I had that, that, that feeling of, Well, wait a minute, I’m, I’m in for something special today. Because that, that happened in a way in which I don’t know that that, that I would put, people would call it flow or what, whatever you wanted, that the zone. And, and, and as an athlete, you, you don’t necessarily acknowledge that moment when you’re in it. But, uh, coming back into the pack and realizing that I’d been able to come through a crash and, and get back up there, really set in my mind where that this was a special day and that I was embarking on, uh, really expressing my fitness and all the fitness and all the hard work I’d put into that, but also doing something that I, I could so clearly see in my mind’s eye of what, what re you know, what, what result I wanted to see out of this, how I pictured this so many times. And I had worked through the scenarios of a crash. So I simply followed a almost on an autopilot setting of, of calmly executing, getting back to the group and then putting myself in a position to be able to, to compete to, uh, hear the anthem.

Brad (11:55):
So listeners, just in case you were worried that this was gonna be an old time rehash of, uh, athletic events, the reason I wanted to get you on Simon and talk, uh, talk about a lot of things, but, you know, go through some of this stuff is cause I think right away we’re getting this perspective of what, uh, what, what a special athlete and what kind of a special perspective you brought to the sport rather than just this, you know, let foot on the gas pedal and train hard and kick ass. Um, you really had a thoughtful approach. And those are the kind of things that I believe, you know, bring magic to an athlete and, and being, being calm in the face of, you know, a disastrous crash in the bloody Olympics. So thanks for setting the, um, the tone and giving those comments. And now we’re gonna continue with the race recount.

Andrew (12:40):
Well, what I wanted to add was, one of the things that I noticed and learned from Simon is how open he was to other people’s input. And I never was, I wanted to figure it out by my myself, you know, and, and sort of do the puzzle in my head and Simon’s way smarter and much, much better approach than mine. He was always asking questions and wondering what other people did and, and say, Well, they’re, they, they have success. I wonder what they’re doing and what I can incor can, can I incorporate into my program so that, you know, maybe I can have more success. And that was one of your, you know, one of the things about you that makes you a genius.

Simon (13:18):
I’m a keen learner. I, I love, uh, I love finding out what people’s passion is and, and understanding what they do. Uh, I love playing the game, telling me about that. And it works, uh, both from a personal perspective in terms of, you know, the way in which you learn and the way in which you can apply what other people are doing to what you’re doing. Um, and it crosses all subjects. I, I don’t care whether it’s, uh, what subject it is. I love learning about what people’s passion is. And so my approach to racing and training and, and preparing myself for triathlon was, well, I, I saw very much like a game. I saw it very much like a, almost like a board game where you may strategic moves, you understood the tactics, and you understand how to learn and appreciate what other people were doing.

Simon (14:01):
And you, you said it before that, if you get into that, I know what I’m doing phase where you’re like, No, no, I’m good. I know exactly what I’m doing. There certainly is some confidence, the gain from that. And there’s a place for that. When, when you really, uh, ratchet down and focus in and you, you start to, you, you eliminate other inputs because at some point you do need to focus in. But there’s a period in all those Olympic cycles particularly, and for anybody, whatever they’re doing, they, they need to incorporate, I believe you need to incorporate that in is that learning phase where you’re just open to all new information. And I did that after every Olympics. I went to Hamish Carter after he won in Athens and sat down and said, What do you know? What are you doing? Tell me about it.

Simon (14:39):
And I was surprised. One of the things he told me was afterwards was like, nobody really asked him. Not a lot of athletes were sitting down. They kind of just assumed he, Okay, well that’s how Hamish does it, but this is how I do it. And by sitting down, and Amish actually asked me a couple times, he said, Well, even surely you mustn’t already know this stuff. I said, Yeah, yeah, I do. I know a lot of that. But to hear him say it again was validating for the way I was doing it. And then to pick into the, the nuances of what he was doing and the finer details and really be able to, to see in his approach ways in which I could do it, that that definitely helped. And I repeated that process all the way through my career, and at times it led me on paths that weren’t necessarily the most productive. I, it definitely led me on paths where later I, I kind of look back and think, ah, I went too far down that path. There was, there was too many flaws in that that I couldn’t see. And but that failure is part of that process as you refine, refine, refine and, and take a more, uh, systematic approach. But that continues to acknowledge that learning is the most important thing.

Andrew (15:36):
The other moment that I remember fondly in the 2000 Olympics was when you were running side by side with, I think it was Stephen Vukovich. Is that how he pronounce his name?

Simon (15:47):
Yeah, Vuko. Yeah.

Andrew (15:48):
And, um, he put in a surge and he started to pull away from you and your body language started to change, like, Oh, so close and now I’m gonna be second. And then he looked back and within a half a second, your body language, you started to stand up straighter and you’re like, Oh, I’m gonna win <laugh>.

Simon (16:09):
That’s self dialogue at that, that narrative. You, you know, your self narrative, it’s just incredible what it does to you. And you’re absolutely right that, that if, I bet you if Vuko could go back and do one thing, he wouldn’t do the look back because it, uh, it certainly changed the narrative in my head. I, I’d started to, to talk about in my head, Well, you know, second’s pretty good too. The silver medals awesome. I mean, I’ll be pretty cool. And I’m, this is all I I’m at my threshold. I can’t compete with this, this big strong German now. And that, that narrative starts to creep in. And I started thinking about Yuko behind me in third thinking, well, bronze would be good too. I mean, bronze is still a medal. And, uh, and then with Dmitry Gag coming, uh, one of the best closer in triathlon, and he was in, No, I don’t wanna come forth.

Simon (16:52):
And then to see Vuko look back for split second and, and realizing that he had taken, he hadn’t looked at the course properly and, and, and he was, he’d gone the long way. Coming down Macquarie Street, I, I made up a couple free meters. And then the most important, uh, learning there was that my narrative changed in my head. You know, I thought, well, you know, well silver’s good. Bronze is okay, but gold’s better. That’s better. I get to hear the anthem. And that’s that internal narrative. Just, you know, it, it lights you up. It it when you, uh, when you can really tap into a very positive and thoughtful, um, and concentrated, uh, internal narrative where you simply just let go and, and go. That’s where I got to. And, and I would say you’re right, there was that moment of where your body language changes, where you start to descend down, where you start to not, your structure changes. Your physical, your physical presence changes, but also your, the, the way in which your, your internal narrative is going is so critical in that moment really was, uh, was true to that.

Brad (17:49):
Listeners, you can go look at YouTube the Sydney Olympic Triathlon Men’s Final and see what we’re talking about visually. And I think it’s worth doing. You

Simon (18:01):
Can see it in a grainy, someone could capture that on their old cheap cell phone even better.

Brad (18:07):
Yeah, that’s right. And uploaded in, uh, 10, 10% of the time. Um, but what I noticed was so amazing was this guy had a huge royal lead. He was running to the gold medal and it was absolutely certain that, um, Vukovich was gonna win and you were so freaking far behind with one K left or something. I mean, there was no chance to make up that kind of gap. But then what the viewer sees is this guy in the lead of the Olympics about to win the gold medal, looking back, looking back again, looking back again, and you just launching into this unbelievable sprint where you would not be denied and you were gonna go, until the very last step of that race. And it was interesting in the aftermath to hear your comments, which you just expressed so nicely. Um, but the other athlete saying that he realized he was in the medals and he was so happy that he was going to win an Olympic medal. And that was sort of a contrasting mindset to you thinking about how nice gold would be. Um, and you know, sure enough, it kind of manifested that way because it was, it was shocking to see him lose that large of a lead in such a short period of time.

Simon (19:15):
It’s funny cuz I, I reapplied that logic in, in 2008 in Beijing when, uh, when I lay down all my cards figuring, well, people will settle for medals and if I take off early, they’ll, they’ll, despite the fact that I’ll be in an enormous amount of discomfort, they’ll give up. And, uh, I, you know, with Yen Roula run still running over top of me, he, he did it on a, on a big, on a big well prepared engine, but I think the other guy settled a little bit for, for different results. And it definitely plays that way. Your mind will play funny tricks on you and if you, uh, you will settle for things for sure. And so I learned the, I learned both sides of that lesson many times. But I would say in case of, in Sydney it was, you’re right, yeah.

Simon (19:59):
Um, Vukovic later said, you know, I I, I realized I was winning a silver medal. And then you, you see him running down the, the finishing shoot, he’s fully and utterly celebrating and it’s really a wonderful moment. As you know, we were two guys that had come up together on the circuit and had shared so much even the morning of the race. We’d shared a whole bunch of time together. And, and to be on that, on that podium together was pretty special. And, but you’re, you know, I’m actually glad for him. And I know, I know in years later he said he’s so glad he’s celebrated a second instead of, um, be moaning, uh, be moaning losing first. And I, and I appreciate that. I I, I certainly appreciate that we celebrate the results that we do get instead of bemoaning what we didn’t get.

Brad (20:37):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, people get so caught up in attachment to outcomes and go home disappointed and discouraged, and that’s a really tough way to go, go through life. And the athletes know that you can’t, uh, you know, you can’t operate in that manner and be happy, just totally attached to all the outcomes, so you celebrate whatever you get. Yeah. Um, so anyway, you crossed the line man, and all of a sudden you went from Simon Whitfield, one of the most famous triathletes in the entire Victoria, BC western area to a world celebrity. Canada doesn’t win a ton of Olympic gold medals at my, in my estimation. So tell us how your life changed, uh, after you crossed that finish line

Simon (21:20):
<laugh>, like world favorites. Um, no, I, I mean it changed a lot. It I’ve had moments where sometimes I wish that had happened a little later. My career was certainly, um, it’s an, it’s an odd experience to be 24 and, and go so quickly from, you know, working your way up towards the top to suddenly being, being at having Olympic gold medal. And in that case, now all of a sudden you have a target on your back. And that definitely changed the way in which I, I trained and approached my career after that and, and certainly came with so an incredible amount of how did I get here moments, whether it was having lunch with the Queen of England or Edman Hillary. But those things don’t necessarily draw you back to what made you successful, which is the love of sport. That’s, if you go through the career track trajectories of, of great a of any athlete or great athletes of anybody with, with successes, you really naar this, that the people who love it, the people who can truly love what they do, they stay at the top, they stay.

Simon (22:20):
And that cycle repeats the moment when they start to succumb to that pressure. And that that feeling of everybody around you just, just pulling in and pulling in and taking away, and, and that expectation is you start to lose the love of it and then the results follow. And that, that trend plays out over and over and over again with, with I’m sure across all spectrums. But in this case, athletics where when you love it, you get the most out of yourself. And when you start to not love it and it descends into that, we almost resentment where you’re like, resent that you do this and it’s the only thing you do, the results also follow that trajectory with, uh, downwards and, and that that plays out over and over again. And so I would, I would say that the lesson I have learned coming out of sport is that if you love it, you’ll find the most success. And if you, if you can’t find a way to love it, and you, and you focus in on the negatives, the fear of failure, then, then your results will follow that and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Andrew (23:16):
I think that’s, that’s the perfect description of my last couple of years is that, uh, the joy and the love was gone. It was a job, you know, I dreaded going to the races, I dreaded putting out the effort that you have to put out in the first half of the swim to stay in to stay with the lead group. And, uh, yeah. So consequently I started doing less well and, uh, lost interest and at 30 I was done.

Simon (23:41):
Yeah. And that plays out. You, you’ll hear that story play out over and over again. It’s finding, finding the love for it, and part of the fine love for it is keeping it within perspective, isn’t it? It’s not reaching that one step too far where you just continuously push yourself, not just physically, but mentally beyond where you’re, where eventually that little governor in your brain comes along and says, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Let’s, let’s take, uh, let’s take a step back here. We’re, we’re, we’re cashing chips we don’t necessarily have for later. And that, and your love of it starts to, as the pressure comes in and be other people’s expectations. And in my case, a lot of the politics of sport came into it. And that just, it degrades your experience and eventually degrades your results.

Andrew (24:21):
Yeah. The same sort of thing. I had that politics as well. So I got another thing to ask you is, um, are you mentoring any of the young athletes in Canada or Australia or any other country that would knock on your door or give you a ring?

Simon (24:38):
Yeah, I mean, I’m always open to having a chat and, and being part of that mentoring process as I learned so much from it. I haven’t been doing that within the world of trial form, simply cuz I, I feel like I needed a break. I think within Canada, Canadian traveler needed a break from me too. So that’s, that’s worked out well. And we come through this Olympic cycle and, and the athletes head into Rio. And I’ve had very little, if anything, to do with anyone’s preparation coming into that. Though I’ve spent time on the phone with some athletes and some coaches. Um, my, for me it’s been the, I’ve moved a little bit away from that mentoring role, and maybe it’s a mistake, but it’s in terms of just you, you know, you spend so much time in that world around high performance and, and all of the expectation and, and, and privilege that comes with it and taking time that, that time comes from somewhere.

Simon (25:29):
And so my mentoring time now is spent with my children and, and my family and the last three years have really been about rebuilding that relationship as the other side of being so committed and loving something so much as you put off, you, you often put so other things on, on to the side, you make sacrifices that you, that sometimes you have to pay for later. And so I’ve spent the last three years, uh, reconnecting with family and, and reconnecting with that mentoring role I play with my children and, and <laugh> and the teaching role that they play with me. And it’s, I’ve moved away from that a little bit and although it’s not something I’ll stay away from, but I have certainly enjoyed being able to focus in more on the needs of my, you know, the people, the closes to me.

Andrew (26:15):
But you know, from witnessing my experience that I did the same thing when I retired. I had to get away from it.

Simon (26:21):
Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Andrew (26:22):
Yeah. But it’s, but it’s fun. It’s fun to rehash and it’s fun to help young and new people, you know,

Simon (26:28):
And you learn so much from it, don’t you? It’s just sharing those experiences and sharing

Andrew (26:31):
Oh yeah. And, and it reignites your, your love of the sport. Because I remember when I was working with you and when I’m working now with people who are new to the sport, you get to see it again through fresh eyes, you know, and you remember all the things that you loved about it when you were new. And whether I wanna race every weekend, like some people wanna do, um, is probably never gonna happen. But the fact that I love to be in shape and I love to do it again, and I like talking about it and I like helping people, that is what’s new, which is fun. Cause I, like I said, I get to see it all and I, and I have my own memories and I have my memories that I went through with you, and I have my memories that I went through with other people that I’ve coached along the way. And it’s, yeah, it’s really quite, quite nice for me now.

Simon (27:16):
Yeah. Drawing on that and being able to share that experience, really, again, it’s, it teaches, we learn so much from it too, don’t we? As you, as you express something, you say, Oh yeah, that’s, that’s actually what I think about that. I hadn’t really thought about that <laugh> and I certainly, I’ve had many of those moments, or you’re asked hard questions and you have to really sit with it. And sometimes you’d always don’t always have the answer at that time, but you sit with it and sit with it, sit with it, and, and it comes to you. And a reflection of like, Oh, that’s why I behave like that. You know, as you’re giving an advice, not even advice is the wrong word, is you’re entering a discussion with someone and, and acknowledging their perspective and understanding where they’re coming from in terms of their own challenges and their own passions. And then it helps you understand yours. And I, I, yeah, I really enjoy that process.

Andrew (28:01):
I I do too. And, and that’s exactly the way I word it. I was like, I, I word it with, Well, I’ll share my perspective with

Simon (28:07):

Andrew (28:07):
Yeah. You know, and, uh, you can take it, you’re a different person, so take it or leave it. But, uh, it’s something to think about. But yeah, I love those questions where you, where you’re like, Hmm, I’ve never thought about it in that respect before. Let me take a moment, <laugh>. And

Brad (28:22):
I like how you guys, uh, caught yourself, Simon, when you, when you, um, said the word advice and then you caught yourself and reframed that. It’s very interesting because a lot of times we, um, fall into these modes where we have these all-knowing experts with, especially in this sporting world, where they, they brandish their resume around and they collect money for dispensing their expert advice. And that’s, you know, that’s the ultimate, uh, coaching relationship. And it, it, it’s, it’s missing a lot of elements. And so you guys being more thoughtful, um, you know, what Confucius said about giving advice to beware of giving advice wise, men don’t need it and fools won’t need it. So rather give, you know, sharing perspective, listening and engaging in a common interest, um, I, I really like how you guys, uh, frame that.

Simon (29:09):
It also re helps you reveal hard truths. And although hard truth come with sharp edges, they’re also the, the source of the greatest learning. And that’s, if you’re giving advice, you’re not, you’re, you’re most, you’re unlikely or if, if not, it’s impossible to, to reveal hard truths about yourself. And so having those discussions and being open to where other people have, uh, an input that’s either very specific to you or is speaking about them, but helps you reveal something about yourself, is those hard truths. And like I said, they, they don’t, they don’t come softly. They, those hard truths come with the, with sharp edges, but they also teach you the most. And if you are in an open discussion, then you, then you certainly open yourself up to, to be in a place to receive more of that. And, and that’s where the greatest learnings come from.

Simon (29:53):
And that’s, that self knowledge that leads to self efficacy is, is the most important thing. I believe the most important thing you can do is, is that personal development journey and the self knowledge that comes with that, that reinforces your own self-efficacy. And, and that’s the greatest place you can learn from, grow from. And it comes from not giving advice, but participating in discussion and, and, and inquisition and being, you know, being, being thoughtful and, and understanding what that other people have different perspectives and different needs and different troubles. And I’ve, I’ve enjoyed that process and the people who’ve who’ve helped me the most have, have let me come to those conclusions myself as they helped guide us through that, instead of just giving advice on, You should do that. And that’s really hard, you know, it’s a hard lesson to learn in itself.

Brad (30:34):
Wow. So for hard truths, I mean, um, when Scott Molina saw me on the beach in Bermuda in 1987, I was kind of burnt out and struggling. And you said, Hey, Kearns, you’re looking a little soft. Would, would that count as a hard truth you think? <laugh>? Yeah,

Simon (30:50):
Those are, sometimes those are hard truths. That’s an easy truth cuz there’s an easy solution to that. Yeah. Hard truths to usually relay on some, a behavior of the past or a way in which you interact with people where you’re like, Oh, I do do that. And <laugh>,

Brad (31:05):
I remember Peter Colson, uh, Peter Colson used to call me up in my last year of racing 94 after every race. And he’d, he’d say, um, Kearns, you suck, man. You should retire. I remember when you were fast, now you stink. And, um, he’s a, he’s a, uh, a funny guy and that’s sort of like what he would do. But you know, as the years have gone on, I’ve told him and told others like, I really appreciate his candor because he was right and I was off my best and I was never gonna get back to that point. And everyone around you, when you’re in this athletic realm and you’re, you have a support team and everybody’s, you know, cheering you on, um, a lot of times you don’t get those hard truths. And so you, you know, you exist in a vacuum where you don’t realize your frailties and your weaknesses cuz no one’s pointing them out.

Simon (31:52):
Oh, absolutely. And you’re almost encouraged to behave in a way in which other people in some places that you’re almost encouraged to behave in a way in which you continue to maybe demean yourself. And, but other people are adding to that list saying like, as they, as they become yes people to you, they’re not serving, uh, as, as great a function as they could because they’re not giving necessarily the greatest answers in terms of their, their priority isn’t always your long term happiness. A lot of it is just satisfying your short term, you know, uh, premadonna, this <laugh>

Brad (32:24):
<laugh> and perhaps, uh, making money off you. And Lance Armstrong has brought this up saying that, um, he didn’t have a lot of perspective in his world cuz he was the, he was the tyrant and everyone else was sucking up to him.

Simon (32:35):
Oh, I mean, he’s such a, he’s, he’s the classic example of that, isn’t it? You’ve got this whole, uh, industry that existed around him and nobody, and certainly I’m sure he’s not exactly letting people in and letting and being vulnerable, but people aren’t allowing him to be vulnerable either because they have an expectation of, of how a certain person will be and, and what they can get from that person. And it certainly not, doesn’t come without accountability. And I can relate very strong, very much so to that where you feel so much pressure, you feel so much expectation around, and you feel so much, you also feel that you, you can see these people kind of on the peripheral sitting there with an ax waiting to just chop that tree your tree down. And that becomes very difficult. It becomes a very difficult world to exist in when there’s not an open communication to that.

Simon (33:19):
And it starts with ourselves. Obviously we have to be open to that. But I would agree with him that, that when you’re treated like a tyrant, people behave often the way in which we, they don’t often, they, they behave in which the way in which we, we treat them and we see them. And in that case, you know, you’re almost, he’s, he’s seen it, you’re seen as a tyrant, so you’re treated like a tyrant. So funnily enough, you behave like a tyrant. I mean, this is a self-fulfilling thing where, where we take a step back and don’t necessarily label people with here like this, but we just accept them and their vulnerabilities then, then they continue to grow and in turn we continue to grow.

Andrew (33:53):
So another thing that I wanted to talk to about Simon was when I was competing, I was lucky to have a friend like Brad, and we shared all of our, our, all of our thinking and our philosophies, and we trained together most days. And, um, I tell took great pride in any race that he did well in. And I took great pride in any race that I did well in. And it was, you know, I gave us both credit for both of those. And I think that’s part of the reason I have this delusional belief that I probably did better than I actually did. Because in my head I’m taking credit for Brad’s successes as well, because I believe that I was such a huge part of them. Um, and I know you’ve spoken about this before with other people about the importance of team and not just looking at yourself, but looking at helping others and improving. And by that you see a different perspective and maybe learn something that’s valuable for yourself in your journey.

Simon (34:48):
Yeah. That’s sharing that with training partners and, and, uh, other athletes or other friends being, uh, that’s a big part of it, isn’t it? Um, avoiding that, was it sheddon, Freud, <laugh>, when you’re hoping the people around you don’t do well, so it reflects better on you. Um, that’s a dangerous and slippery slope. And so I did, I I took great pride in in the efforts and, and results of the people, the people in which I, I had discourse with that I had a kinship with. And, and I really enjoyed that part. I mean, I remember Ironman Canada when Jasper Blake won, just being absolutely, utterly ecstatic at seeing such a good friend do so well at something that they’ve poured their heart and soul into. And, and that reward is as good as, as so often is, is good if not better, in ways to share in that journey of someone else.

Simon (35:36):
And I will say that through, through four Olympics, if you look back at, if I were to look back at like, what was the common theme between success and failure, quote unquote success, quote unquote failure, I would say that as I was in a place where the knowledge was being shared and the journey was being shared, and people really understood their, their role in it, they really felt, uh, entrenched and empowered to, to make decisions and to be, you know, they understood what was let’s, what was in it for them, where their learnings would be and where, where their joy would be. And when we all shared in that we saw the greatest success, and I saw that in Sydney, and I saw that in Beijing, but between Athens and London, I saw the exact opposite. I I retrenched back to not sharing the journey with other people simply to making demands of others and not being parcel to their experience and not being, not putting, uh, power and weight into what, where, where they contributed. And it really affected the way in which, uh, our, our team operated. And ultimately the, the results showed that when the knowledge wasn’t being shared and, and people weren’t on the same page, success didn’t follow. And that would be the, I would say the, the greatest learning I gain, I gained from a comparison of that, you know, between quote unquote success and quote unquote failure.

Brad (36:49):
And we thought it was just your workout times that predicted your Olympic results. <laugh> incredible.

Simon (36:53):
Yeah. And there you go. I mean, I was in, I I was in great shape in Athens, I was in great shape in London, and both times didn’t have the results because I went into those races with a, with having self-sabotaged.

Brad (37:05):
Um, just, uh, briefly for the timeline, listeners might not be familiar with all the Olympics. Um, so Sydney was 2000. You burst onto the scene, you had that gold medal. Athens was 2004. Um, I would you get 13th or something?

Simon (37:19):
Uh, 11th, which is two, two

Brad (37:20):
Months. Oh, sorry, Simon.

Simon (37:21):
Back to back ones. That’s like two firsts.

Brad (37:25):
1, 1, 1. Okay. Athens was 11, then you came back to Beijing and by this time it’s 2008 and eight years is a long time to be in that, in that role. And so you were kind of on the, um, you know, on, on the other side of the rainbow at that point. And again, not a huge favorite. So your silver medal, there was a remarkable performance in many ways, right, Andrew,

Andrew (37:45):
But what he had going into Beijing, um, he’d regained the playfulness and the joy and the sport again. And he had fun playing with the other athletes and getting in their heads. And, and I think that, uh, that’s one of the things that Simon and I have in common that that’s part of the fun is the game. You know? And, um, and you were, you know, you were trying to figure out, okay, these people, um, you know, to do this, I I need to make sure that they’re at 97% in, in their belief that they can win. Because if they’re a hundred percent, there’s nothing I can do about it. You know? And so you were talking to them and being nice and smiley and <laugh> and just working a little bit away and, you know, it, it was, it was so much fun to, to watch, even from the distance that I was at. Um, and talk to you a little bit and, and yeah, and listen to what you talked, what you’ve said afterwards. It was, it was, it was fun. And that’s the way I like to do it. I remember going to races and looking at somebody’s, you know, gears and like, Oh, you’re really gonna use those gears, huh? That’s an interesting choice <laugh>.

Brad (38:47):

Andrew (38:47):
Just give them something to think about before the race starts.

Simon (38:50):
<laugh>. Yeah. That part of it. I I certainly enjoy that part of it. I also, that it’s a double edged sword. Cause I certainly know when the, I, I could absolutely pin the moment things change for me in that realm where when I tried to do that with a brown lane, put me back in my place and reminded me I was just an old wolf and to get back in my cave <laugh> and I didn’t have the fight to come out, You know, I didn’t have the, I kind of did the like, yeah, cool. I, it’s warm and comfortable in there. I’ll see you in a bit <laugh>. And, uh, that certainly changed for me. But I definitely, I enjoyed that, that part of it, that that mental preparation is everything. You know, you get that, that hilarious conversation. Is it 90% mental, you know, 10% physical is, you know, it’s a hundred percent mental. The entire exercise. Everything we do is a mental exercise. And in that case, there’s some fine tuning and some and some, uh, we’re gonna call them games, but they’re just part of the architecture of how you prepare. And I loved it. I love that part. I, I thrived on that part. And of course, like I said, it’s a double edged sword, but it’s, uh, an immense amount of learning that comes from, from playing that, that, that game. And I really enjoyed that. It was fun,

Andrew (39:56):
But it’s also fun to see who you have no effect on whatsoever. And it’s fun to see who you do have an effect on. I mean, it’s amazing that, you know, it, it, people are, are so sensitive to these things. And, and as, as someone who liked to play with people’s noggins, when I was competing, it was fun to witness the people who, who you, you’re like, Wow, I can’t believe that, that they’re actually listening to what I’m saying.

Simon (40:19):
And then there’s those that are, aren’t they

Brad (40:22):
<laugh>? Oh, Simon Andrew’s favorite technique for in, in racing or even in workouts was whenever he would make a really super strong aggressive pass on a hill, it would be in conjunction with taking a long leisurely sip of the water bottle <laugh> while passing the guy. And so you’re gripping the bars, you know, as hard as you can and trying to, trying to stay with this strong move. And he’s like sitting up on his tops and, and just taking a nice drink. Like, you know, he’s taking a break from his <laugh> his faster pace. And it, it messes with your head so bad. I mean, you can’t even, you can’t even believe

Simon (40:57):
It. I love it. That’s

Andrew (40:58):
Really, and you ask, uh, how are you doing? You want some water?

Brad (41:01):
<laugh> <laugh>,

Simon (41:03):
Uh, good for you. I like that. I like that a lot. <laugh>.

Andrew (41:07):
Yeah. It’s, uh, the good old days. So, so you seem to be fun and playful and, and, uh, full of energy these days. What are you, what are you doing that that keeps you going?

Simon (41:17):
Oh, man. Paddling, paddling and yoga, though, yoga’s so de hard that I don’t always go. Um, but I would say that that renewed, I mean, I really look at, and I, at times, I, I might have paid for this in the results spectrum, but I’m coached by my 80 year old self now. Um, and I really, I really try and look at things from a long term perspective of how do I respect and treat my body so that my, my 80 year old self doesn’t call back to my 40 year old self and say, What the were you doing? Don’t do that to me. <laugh>. So I think the best place for me, and I really, I mean, uh, I sometimes stand up paddling, it’s called sea sweeping, um, the brooms, brooms of the ocean, but, uh, a standup paddling and that connection to being out outside in, in, in amongst it, and the way in which it, it strengthens and your both your, your body and your mind.

Simon (42:10):
I can’t get enough paddling. So my sanity revolves, I mean, look, I just had my kids for five days. Uh, we’ve got three kids running around the house. It’s your, your amount of space and time by yourself is diminished down to virtually nothing. And, and I can survive that when I know that at the end of it, uh, not only am I gonna have had this cherish time with my kids, but also I’m gonna get out paddling. And so yesterday I dropped the kids off at school, headed out, drove out to where the ferry terminal is, and, and embarked on yet another monsters paddle. And I just, I cannot get enough, getting out there and finding a, I found my office yesterday was on the end of Cole Harbor Island. And, and I just bring my, I bring my book, bring my, my, uh, my work journal.

Simon (42:54):
I set up camp there for as many hours as I can sustain and, uh, and get work done with, with space around me and really immersed in it. And that keeps me sane. And when I don’t do it, I really struggle. I really struggle. And if I don’t get, if I don’t get that exercise and that sleep and that space, And I will say that one thing coming outta sport that just struck me was, I think actually I wasn’t good at sport. I was just, I, I loved being alone, <laugh>. And so having that space and, and really thriving on having your own space and being out there alone and immersed in your own thoughts and your own, uh, activity and your own preparation is, is such a joy. And I, uh, I don’t get enough in that now and when I, and I struggle when I don’t and when I truly do struggle when I, when I don’t get enough of that.

Simon (43:37):
But I also see the huge benefits of when I do, when I, when I’m able to get outside and truly get some space. And that o the ocean for me is the ultimate. There’s no, there’s no faking it out there. And in, in this case, you know, I can paddle out into the Straight of Juan de Fuca, seven K out, and you can sit on your board and you can see in every direction, not a soul. And that space to take a, a true deep, deep breath and, and do whatever you need to do. And that might include crying your eyes out. Uh, it it, that’s so powerful for me. And I cherish cherish cherish that time. What about the orcas, man? Oh, you see some orcas or you go out to the race rocks and, and, uh, you follow an angle around until it lands on a big rock of a big, big, uh, on a little island of moving rocks.

Simon (44:20):
And you think, Wait a minute, those aren’t moving rocks. Those are sea lion, and I gotta get the outta here, <laugh>. And so those moments too, I can’t get enough. I, uh, my future will, will entail living further up, uh, Vancouver Island in amongst desolation sound, in the br acapella and, and taking people on tours and, and really showing on, you know, exploring and seeing a place in a way of life that I just, I need and I, I love being out exploring. And so, uh, that will be, yeah, to orcas, to see sea lions, to see, to have a seal, you know, flip up and jump on your board. There’s a, one of the world’s best prone pile alerts, Jack Park, I paddled with him two years ago, and he had this incredible experience where a small baby seal left up on his board and just sat there. And, and to that, to be able to interact with nature in that way is so special, so, so special. And I, I think being on the ocean is my, is my place of reserve. It’s my best place.

Andrew (45:17):
That sounds delightful.

Simon (45:19):
Yeah. Come up anytime, man. <laugh>. I, I’ve

Andrew (45:22):
Never tried standup paddling. I don’t know if I could do it.

Simon (45:25):
You will be, I tell you, I really, I come back to this if I ca I wish I had stand up through my career, uh, that time and connection is such a unique medium where you’re, you know, you’re putting this paddle in the water and you’re connected with that. And that sense, people talk about, Oh, it’s good for your core, and they think of it in terms of a very simplistic view of your core. But as an over body, a full body workout where you’re so connected with, with something, it’s feels so unique. And it’s, it the strength that it builds and the coordination it builds as you strengthen your feet, as you st strengthen your perception of where the board is. And then you’re able to move around on the board in a way, uh, through choppy water. I mean, I, that’s basically, I do that.

Simon (46:07):
I do, yo I think yoga’s the most important thing people can do. But if you have an opportunity to get out and really get into paddling and, and narrow the board down, see you so it becomes more and more challenging, you can, the strength I find from that and the, and the ability, my ability to focus. I’ve had the most profound moments of focus and like everything coming into this very, very narrow window of, uh, this very narrow view of, of where I need to go and what I need to do. I, I’ve experienced that most profoundly out paddling. I’ve also scared myself the most out paddling, and I, I like that part <laugh>. Um, so I would say paddling is such a special place to be. It’s, it’s the last thing I’d ever give up. <laugh>.

Brad (46:45):
Wow. you know, Mark Sisson huge on the paddling and always has a chance to plug that and the books and the podcast. So that’s, that’s really cool. And, you should come down to Malibu sometime and try it in some warm water so when you fall, you don’t have to

Simon (46:58):
Be scared. Oh, I love it. Between se we, we do something called down winding. So we go out to William Head prison, which is out along the coast, uh, and it’s a straight shot at 17 kilometers to downtown Victoria. If you get a westerly, you’ll get a 30 knot tail wind. And you just, you, you set off from William Head prison and into downtown, and you are out there on, I mean, I, I’ll be out there with my, with my big buddy Dave, and he’s, and he is another big kid. And we have these moments out there. It’ll be you, you’re out there for two and a bit hours, and every move you make has to be, to be so precise as you’re, you’re in seven foot swell. There’s, uh, it’s unforgiving, it’s freezing cold. Wow. And it just, it brings out the most in you. And I can so vividly.

Simon (47:39):
I had a, I had an experience recently where you’re in a, you’re in a shipping lane, so you’re staying, you know, out of this, you’re trying to stay, You start, you’re on the edge of a shipping lane, but on a big storm day, often the ships don’t necessarily the container ships that are coming out through from Seattle and out Vancouver and out into the ocean. They, they don’t necessarily stay in that shipping lane And so I’ve had this experience where a large shipping containers moved into the path in which we were going, and I’m okay. I need to head away from that thing that I know that they, how quickly they move and how big they are. And to have the fo you know what topographic map, when you’re a kid, you see those topographic maps have the, the contours you can touch, you can feel, and you can see the numbers everywhere to say, Okay, well, this is 220, you know, it’s 2,200 meters high.

Simon (48:21):
This is 2,400 meters high. Whatever it is. That appeared in the ocean for me in terms of my, the focus narrowed in my peripheral turned into this wonderful, uh, blurb. But my, my intense focus of where I needed to go within each wave, it was almost, it wasn’t almost, it was, I could see that topographic map of, of the ocean in front of me and knew the exact path I needed to go. And after moving away, probably 20 minutes later, I was a absolutely an utterly spent. I had to just sit on my board for a while. But I was so invigorated by that, such a keen sense of like, Oh, that’s what that was. Everything slowed down. Everything just went so slowly. And I had absolute fine finite control of, of that dial of exactly where I needed to go. And the paths all through the water and the different okay, to that wave linked to that wave, that section of that wave that I need to be just left of that.

Simon (49:15):
Because every little minute detail came and all the textures of the water really illuminated it. It was, that was so much fun. And you know what, that’s like when you’re descending a big mountain, you’re on your bike and every detail just comes into such fine focus because your mind is nowhere else. And that’s paddling for me. And that’s then having those experiences down winding, and anyone who does downwind gets it where you’re just like, Oh, wow. It’s exhilarating because it’s also scary <laugh>. Um, but I also get into those moments where, you know, in that case I just had that most profound sense of like, Oh, wow, the world just slowed down. And I love that. I love that I play, when I play soccer, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for those moments where it’s, where you’re, you have the ball and you’re narrowing down their options and you’re, and everything slows down.

Simon (49:58):
And you’re saying, and your brain is able to do that. Very, very quick math of I’m gonna do this, You’re gonna do this, then I’m gonna do this, then you’re gonna do this, then I’m gonna present that. Then you’re gonna think that, and then I’m gonna go there. And that space, I love that space. That’s my favorite thing is when things slow down and, and you’re able to do all of the math, because that’s ultimately what it is, isn’t it? The whole thing is all about understanding the math and being able to see those numbers and appear, and whether that’s a texture to the surface you’re interacting with, or it’s the way in which you’re seeing the, the game around you. You’re understanding all the math. And I love that. I absolutely mean you can hear it. I love that part. That’s my favorite part is when you can see the math.

Brad (50:35):
I think the math teachers would agree with

Simon (50:37):
That. It’s all the math evaluation. It really is. I mean, Stephan Curry, what what he’s doing in the MBA right now is he understands the math. He understand to

Andrew (50:45):
Watch, isn’t

Simon (50:46):
It? What’s that?

Andrew (50:47):
He’s fun to watch.

Simon (50:48):
He’s so fun to watch. And what it you’re seeing is a, as a, as an athlete, just understand the math at such a high level that he can slow the game down where he’s got a and he’s got the whole grid of that, that that basketball court completely mapped in his brain, and he understands exactly where every person is and exactly every angle that everything needs to happen because he understands the math. And I, Oh, he’s so fun to watch.

Andrew (51:12):
It’s, and it’s, and it’s different than, than let’s say Kobe or a Michael Jordan who are more forceful and they sort of force their will. He basically, um, is with the river. He’s just going with the flow and, and, and taking the obvious because he can see it, you know? So

Simon (51:29):
I was like, Yeah, that’s right. I mean, they saw it in their way too. And, and they, uh, to me, that’s all. It’s, it’s someone went the same as they just, they at the highest level, whatever it is you do, whether it’s the, it is music, science, art, and in this case sport, you’re just, you see the math and, and the preparation for me is all about understanding the math, increasing your, your percentages essentially, and preparing yourself that at the highest level, at that finest moment when, when everything starts to collapse around other people, that you continue to see the math of, Okay, this is how I can get this done. And, uh, I love that part.

Andrew (52:03):
Me too. I remember doing that with skiing. And you go down a long ski slope with moguls and you, and just like you were with the waves, you can see your line, you know, three or four turns before you get there. And you know, you have to sort of veer this way because that’s where you’re gonna wanna be four or five turns down the road, you know? Uh, and, and no matter how fast you went, it just felt peaceful and slow. You know,

Simon (52:28):
If you, the chance read, I mean, I can’t recommend it more. Josh Waitzkin book, uh, The Art of Learning, I think I said this to you before, is when we were, when it was down in la, It is the most remarkable book. And he just articulates in a way, some a language that, that you both will understand. You both will be, I, I I, you’ll read it and you’ll go, Oh, that’s yes, exactly that. Josh Waitzkin, this unbelievably accomplished chess player. And now martial arts, uh, world champion has explained in a book called Art of Learning. He’s, he’s articulated just in the most remarkable way that that right there, that, that ability to slow it down, that ability to see it ahead and, and how he, how he accomplished it, and how he not only predicts that, but also manufactures that. It’s a remarkable, remarkable book.

Andrew (53:15):
I already have it. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I got it

Simon (53:18):
Already. Remarkable book. Absolutely remarkable.

Brad (53:21):
Well, Simon Whitfield, listeners, I told you this was gonna be a wild ride, and I really appreciate you spending time with us and coughing up nothing like the typical straightforward, um, you know, robotic athlete type of mindset. And it’s just been so fun to follow your career for all these years, you know, dating back to the early nineties, and, um, just seeing that, that special, uh, force and application that yeah, that you, you brought to a grueling and pretty straightforward and simple sport like triathlon, but you made it into an art and had such great success and now sharing these thoughts with other people, I think it’s really valuable. How can we keep in touch with you with the nice blog post and Twitter and all that? You wanna give some, some stats up?

Simon (54:07):
Some stats? Oh, uh,

Brad (54:09):
Contact info.

Simon (54:10):
Oh, you, I, I don’t know. You can follow me on Twitter. Um, we’ll

Brad (54:13):
Publish your email address if you want. Cause I know you changed it every three weeks back in the day after you won the gold medal, like getting these bounce messages like, wait a second. It worked a few weeks ago.

Simon (54:25):
It’s my life. I call it my life with too many inputs. Um, yeah, you know, you can, I guess you could go to Twitter. Uh, that’s where I, I I mostly reside sometimes on Instagram and I don’t know Yeah. Those places. But you, you could say hi to mu assistant for me and tell ’em that, uh, that what everybody’s doing with Primal Nutrition is great. I, it’s one of the, the staples of, of the talks I do is when people ask me about nutrition, health, and wellness, I often will start by saying, Well, the first thing you can know is go to Mark’sadaily and you’ll, and you’ll get some wonderful information there. And then from there, this, this, and this. But, uh, I, what you guys are doing with Primal and, and then to be able to reconnect with you guys today, it’s great. I really appreciate it. I, uh, it’s fun to chat through and play back the flashbacks of something that happened so long ago, yet it’s plays such a funny, prominent role in my life at times.

Brad (55:12):
Simon Whitfield from Victoria, British Columbia on the line with Andrew McNaught and Brad Kerns. Thank you so much for listening to the Primal Blueprint podcast.

Simon (55:22):
Love You brothers. Talk to you soon.

Brad (55:24):
Duh, duh, duh.

Brad (55:26):
I hope you enjoy this episode and encourage you to check out the Primal Endurance Mastery course at This is the ultimate online educational experience where you can learn from the world’s great coaches and trainers, diet, peak performance and recovery experts, as well as lengthy one on one interviews from several of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, not published anywhere else. It’s a major educational experience with hundreds of videos, but you can get free access to a mini course with an e-book summary of the Primal Endurance approach, and nine step-by-step videos on how to become a primal endurance athlete. This mini course will help you develop a strong, basic understanding of this all-encompassing approach to endurance training that includes primal aligned eating to escape carbohydrate dependency and enhanced fat metabolism, building an aerobic base with comfortably paced workouts, strategically introducing high intensity strength and sprint workouts, emphasizing rest, recovery, and annual periodization, And finally, cultivating an intuitive approach to training. Instead of the usual robotic approach of fixed weekly workout schedules, just head over to Primal and learn all about the course and how we can help you go faster and preserve your health while you’re at it.

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