Find out the secrets behind Michael’s consistent training and performance including celebrating post race with 17 slices of pizza!
How was your first Ironman in Port Macquarie?
Fantastic! I really enjoyed the day and the feeling I got when I crossed the finish line was just incredible. I loved seeing other MP athletes on the course and the support they gave me on the run was amazing, it really helped me get around.
I started because my sister and her husband were doing them (they have done more than 10 IM between them!) and they helped me out with the kit that was required and what to do on the day. I was running before triathlon, but now I enjoy the other two disciplines so much I couldn’t imagine only going back to running.
What was your first tri? And how did your performance compare to now?
My first triathlon was a sprint in London about five years ago. It was the first time I had ever been on a road bike, so no clipless pedals or padded cycling shorts for that matter! Needless to say I didn’t get the fastest time but I enjoyed the race and that sparked my interest in the sport to keep me coming back for more.
What was your best race?
It would have to be the Ironman at Port. The culmination of all that training and the feeling I got when I crossed the line was so good. I’m hooked on long distance racing now and would love to do another one.
What do you put your improvements down to?
Increasing my training volume from the odd run, swim or bike here and there to a much more focussed week equating to around 15 hours of training. The biggest jump I found was increasing my swimming from twice a week to three times. Training with Lisa was amazing, I really noticed a difference and found myself much less fatigued at the end of each set.
Never take your hands off the handlebars! Coming out of T1 in Port I very nearly crashed because I was fiddling with my bento bag and took both hands off to try and open it. It could have been the end of my race after just 10m of cycling! Thankfully I managed to catch the bike, keep pedalling and then safely stop on the side of the road to open the Ziploc bag for my food then start cycling again.
What’s your favourite meal pre-race?
The night before I’ll have lots of pasta with a very plain tomato sauce. Easy carbs to absorb and equally easy on the stomach. Race morning I’ll have an espresso and a few pieces of toast with peanut butter.
What are your nutrition tips during a race?
Nothing new and lots of water on the bike!
I think a lot of people (me included) fear that they won’t have enough energy for the run so over-fuel themselves on the bike and start the run with stomach issues. I’d say just take a little and often approach to food to ensure you don’t overdo it and be careful mixing carb drinks with solid food or gels.
How do you keep motivated to get up at 5am or finish a gruelling set?
Set two alarms and make sure you have promised someone else you will be there so you can’t let them down. Throughout my training I was up three times a week before 5am and it did take its toll so I’d recommend resting when required.
What is your favourite ride/run/or swim?
I like the Thursday La Perouse rides as they are always so fast and frantic. I’m usually just trying to hold on to the wheel in front with tired legs from track the night before.
Have you had to overcome any injuries and how did you do it?
With five weeks to go to Port I fell off my bike, flipping over the handlebars ending up wedged underneath a parked car. Somehow I survived with just a few cuts and bruises; resulting in just a few days of missed training I was very lucky.
Dave Daffey once said to me “train hard, race easy” and I didn’t really understand what It meant until I finished Port and felt really good. It’s a great mantra and helps you feel less stressed on race day.
Why do you like training with Danny / the Moore Performance squad?
Training with the brilliant group of people at MP got me to the finish line at Port. There is so much knowledge and support in the squad it’s just fantastic. The sessions are always varied and I never found myself getting bored, despite the amount of time I spent at Kurnell!
What did you do before triathlon?
I played racquet sports like squash and badminton as well as running a few marathons. I wish I had kept up my swimming from my school days though, would have made the transition into triathlon a lot easier.
Which athletes inspire you?
The Brownlee brothers are an amazing duo. I’ve been following Alistair’s step up to 70.3 with interest, seeing how fast they can race that distance is just incredible.
What you like to do post-race celebrations?
After Port I enjoyed a hard earned beer at the finish line with my girlfriend before going on to eat seventeen (15 x savoury, 2 x Nutella) slices of Pizza at Vino e Cucina in Paddington on the Monday night- the staff couldn’t believe it!
What’s your ideal training weekend?
Friday lunchtime swim with Lisa in the sunshine, long ride on the Saturday through the National Park then a solid run through Centennial on the Sunday with a big breakfast. All this coupled with lots of napping on the sofa and not going anywhere near Kurnell.
If you could be anywhere right now in the world where would that be?
Mallorca Spain, cycling. It’s my favourite place in the world where the roads are just perfect for cycling, incredible mountain climbs and rolling flats through the orange groves. My dream is to spend a month there in a few years and just ride every day.
What’s something about you we didn’t know before?
I broke my leg two years ago racing a Tough Mudder obstacle course. Ironically I wasn’t even on an obstacle when I did it, just running down a muddy hill. I told the doctors and my physio about my plans to get back to marathon training and ultimately Ironman and they were pretty sceptical. Thankfully I proved them wrong and I don’t have any pain in my leg at all- very lucky!