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ICS Learn fitness tutor and long-time triathlete Michael Hindmarch recently placed 1st Brit and 9th in his age group in the Kitzbühel ETU European Triathlon Championships. We couldn’t be prouder to have him on our team, so we caught up with him to find out about his journey to the top.

 

This will be my 9th year competing in Triathlon, starting back in 2008 by entering Ripon Standard Distance. 

I’ve always been into fitness having worked as a Fitness Instructor for years, so I entered mainly for the challenge of wanting to do something a bit different. 

I was reasonably fit from teaching indoor cycling and I could run a 10k in an OK time but I wasn’t specifically fit. By that I mean I’d only swum regularly on holiday and I’d never done cycling, running and swimming together. 

Anyway I entered it, finished it, and came about 240th - but the main thing was I loved it. 

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Over time it became more and more serious. My kit got better as did my training and my results.  I joined a local Tri and running club and really got into it. 

Now I’m at the point where I race most of the summer over sprint, standard and half ironman distance. I’ve picked up some good results locally, winning my first tri last year, winning the North East grand prix last year and competing for GBR at the European champs.

I think as a fitness professional setting yourself a goal is really important. (This is part of the syllabus in the Level 2 Fitness Instructor and Level 3 Personal Trainer courses that I teach). For 2017, my main focus has been building and training for the Kitzbühel European Championships over the standard distance (1500km swim, 40km bike, 10km run).

I have raced at Kitzbühel before in 2014 in the European Sprint championships (750m swim, 20km bike ad 5km run) coming 6th in my age group, so I wanted to return for what I deem as the proper distance. 

Qualification

Liverpool Triathlon was my main goal for 2016 as this doubled as the National Championship and the qualifier for Kitzbühel.  This event is held in August and attracts a massive field. 

I finished in 20th overall and 6th in my age group which allowed me to qualify for the Euros in 2017.

 

Winter training

Triathlon training isn’t the easiest thing in the world as it’s very time consuming and can turn you into a very selfish person. 

You need to keep the balance right between the 3 disciplines. I tend to swim about 10km a week, cycle 3 times (turbo trainer and outdoors), and run around 25 miles a week. I’m a member of a club but tend to train alone purely because of working shifts. 

 

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Of course, it all depends on how seriously you want to take it, but it can become very addictive. 

The Personal Trainer course teaches you about periodisation and writing programmes, so for anyone interested, my Tri training programme tends to be over 6 months preparing for the next season.

 

Kitzbühel pre-race

I arrived in Kitzbühel on the 14th June with the race being on the 18th.  This gave me plenty of time to ride the bike route, swim in the lake and run around the course.

The event was over 5 days with Elites, Juniors, Para-triathletes and Age Groupers all taking part.

Austria is an amazing place with fantastic scenery, spectacular views and even the roads are a pleasure to cycle on (not a pot hole in sight!) It lends itself to being a perfect venue for triathlon with the lake being a temperature of 22 degrees.

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Race day

Bike racking was completed the previous night, so there wasn’t a mad dash to get to the venue. However, I was still up at 6am as the race started at 8am.  I managed to eat some cornflakes and had some energy drink on the way to the venue. 

I managed to eat some cornflakes and had some energy drink on the way to the venue. 

My bike was still there (thank god) so I just had the finishing touches to complete for transitions i.e. setting my trainers up with talc in, preparing my helmet for a speedy changeover and placing my bike shoes on my bike with elastic bands to keep them upright. Transition is the 4th discipline of Tri - these also need to be quick. 

The race was completed in age groups from 7:30am with the 50-55 year olds off first. I was in the 35-39 year olds so I went off at 7:55am.  I was quietly confident for my swimming as I’ve been going well lately.

The race started on time and I exited the water with a personal best time of 19 minutes 48 seconds which I was over the moon with. 

The bike route was a fantastic course, out fast to a hill which was a steady incline for approximately a mile completing 3 laps altogether.

I’m quite small and light so cycling is usually my weakest part of the race but due to the hill the course suited me much better. In fact, I passed a lot of people on the hill which put me in a good position for the run. 

The bike section was also very congested with lots of people racing therefore you had to be careful not to get stuck in packs where you could get penalties for drafting. Luckily I didn’t.

The run was again very hilly and a little longer than 10km. I had managed to have two energy gels on the bike so I felt great when I started. The temperature was about 25 degrees by now which was great. 

At this time, I knew I was fairly high up so I was trying to hold on and push up a bit higher. The hills took their toll and I crossed the finish line in 9th overall, but I was 1st Brit which I was over the moon with. 

The experience, atmosphere and race organisation was first rate. With ICS Learn backing and family support I couldn’t have been happier to share my result. Great day!

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What next?

I have entered a few local races and plan on competing in the National relays with my Muckle CC Tri team then maybe fit in a half Ironman distance race in September. After that, who knows - maybe a full distance Ironman? Watch this space!

 

Inspired by Michael's story? You can read his top 5 triathlon training tips here.



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