SMP 98: Why Ironmen Are Mental
Today’s guest is Michelle Duffield, a professional endurance athlete from Perth, Australia. She competed in her first triathlon at age 18. She used an $80 bike from Kmart and came in close to last. That didn’t dampen her spirit. In 2009, she won her first triathlon title for her age group. She moved on to Ironman events and finished second in the event in Hawaii. She now races as a professional athlete through Triathlon Australia.
Michelle’s twin sister Katy also competes in races and Ironman competitions with her. Having a running partner and fellow competitor has got to be an inspiration. These two became the first Australian twins to go head to head at an Ironman World Championship. Michelle and Katy are two of the youngest professionals racing on the International Endurance Circuit. Michelle is currently training in Thailand.
Today’s topics include:
- Michelle is fortunate to be training and racing full-time in 2016
- She loves the satisfaction of the challenge
- To complete these long races it takes some serious dedication
- Accept that you are in it for the long haul and never give up
- On the $80 bike, Michelle remembers going down a hill and peddling and it felt like she was going nowhere as people on expensive bikes were gliding by her
- To qualify for a triathlon, you need to win an event in your age group, in order for Katy and Michelle to compete at the triathlon, they had to compete in different races to qualify for the Triathlon
- They both qualified and where not only able to train together, but they got to race together
- It was pretty special sharing the Ironman Championship with her twin
- They are both professional racers and the compete for the same titles and the prize money
- They manage it the best they can, they also train separately now, because training together can create too much pressure, and possibly self-doubt
- They are physically similar, but unique and what works best for them isn’t identical
- Michelle approaches marathons in 10km blocks and focuses on nutrition
- In a race, you need to care for yourself and not pass an aid station, saving time without eating or drinking isn’t a benefit
- The sheer determination of mind over matter is amazing in these races
- Every human being has the physical capability to do it, it’s just the mental drive of really wanting it that makes a difference
- Marathon runners need a lot of food to fuel their race, Michelle eats very clean during training
- Tips for transitioning from running to biking in an Ironman Competition and transitioning from swimming to the next transition, baby oil to feet and wetsuit are some clever techniques to make the transition easier
- Not all races start at the same time now, there are timed events with staggered starts and you don’t know where you finish until later on in the event
- Michelle prefers a real race where everyone starts together and it is obvious to know where you stand
- Starting a race treading water, waiting for a cannon to fire to begin the race takes a lot out of you
- Racing is serious business
- Advice for beginners getting involved is to start small for a very long time
- Find a good coach or training group to help you, the people attracted to the sport are incredible and inspiring
- Michelle has multiple Ironman races lined up for this year
- Take a look at your daily habits, that is where you will find your long term results
- Over time things add up and compound interest kicks in
Links and resources:
“I definitely found my niche in the eight plus hour events, and I stuck to it” Michelle Duffield
“I have spent the last three years racing around the world in elite rankings” Michelle Duffield
“The satisfaction that I get from overcoming that physical and mental challenge I find extremely rewarding” Michelle Duffield
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