Q&A with UK Triathlete Michelle Hartley

Posted August 8th, 2013 by Brian Hock

I came in contact with Michelle Hartley on a running log/social media site called Dailymile.com. While the site helps facilitate relationships through logging workouts and creating connections it is ultimately up to each athlete to reach out and really build a meaningful network of people that share your passions and/or interests. While I have many athletes in my circle of friends it was Michelle that always was quick with an encouraging comment or there to provide motivation. I also came to realize that she is a pretty good triathlete. I hope you enjoy our interview with Michelle.

Q. How is running/training in England or specifically in the area you live?

A. I live in an area of the country which is known as a health and fitness black spot. Most people I know are very fit, but the area I live in doesn’t have that reputation.

Q. How did you get into triathlons?

A. A girl I used to work with invited me along to her tri club.

Q. What about triathlons do you love?

A. The sense of achievement when you finish a race. I also like the variety in training – I’d be so bored if all I did was run!

Q. You started doing triathlons in your early 30s, what advice would you give to those athletes that have come to the sport of triathlon later in life?

A. It’s never too late! I’m still improving at my age and I think there’s still more to come.

Q. In 2011 you qualified to represent Great Britain in your age group at the Triathlon World Championships in Beijing, China, in the sprint distance but were unable to attend.
- What was the race and time it took to qualify?
- Why couldn’t you attend the World Champs and how did it affect you?

A. The qualifying race was the QE2 open water sprint, held in Ashington: 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run. My time was 1h28 and I finished 2nd in my age group. Basically I couldn’t go to the World Champs because I wasn’t a member of the British Triathlon Federation. If I’d known the rules beforehand I could’ve joined prior to the race, but I would have thought that I didn’t have a chance and wouldn’t have joined anyway. It really annoyed me that I couldn’t go. I offered to join the BTF, pay whatever they needed etc. to make it right but they wouldn’t bend. They didn’t even go with a full squad, the cost was too prohibitive.

Q. You’re attempting to qualify again this year. How is your training going and what is your goal race?

A. (The race took place in June). Prior to the race, I knew I’d have to do around 1h06 or less to be in with a chance. The race is the open water sprint taking place in Nottingham.

Q. Having completed a half Ironman, do you have a desire to do an Ironman triathlon? If yes, why?

A. I really want to do an Ironman! It’s one of the toughest events out there, mentally as well as physically. I need to show myself what I can do.

Q. What are your personal bests at various distances and also please list top race performances with place?

A. 5K – 22.58
10K – 48.12
Half marathon – 1.48
Marathon – 3.52
Pool based Sprint Tri – 1.14 (400m swim)
Open Water Sprint Tri – 1.16 (750m swim)
Standard Tri – 2.37
Half Iron distance – 5.23
I don’t tend to place very well, I’m usually middle – back of the pack. My best place was QE2 at Ashington in 2011 when I was 2nd in my age group.

Q. What person(s) in triathlon inspire(s) you?

A. The obvious big names like Chrissie Wellington and the Brownlee brothers. Closer to home, my friend Ali. She was run over on a training ride and sustained terrible injuries; she was kept in intensive care for a week. Less than 3 months later she was back competing even though she still had some broken ribs. She’s a warrior.

Q. What is your favorite triathlon and why?

A. I like my local triathlon. It’s the first one I ever competed in, I know the route like the back of my hand and it’s close to home.

Q. What triathlon or race would you like to compete in one day?

A. An Ironman. I’m hoping to do Ironman UK in 2014 and sometime after that I’d like to do a nice hot one – maybe Lanzarote.

Q. What is a typical week of training for you?

A. It depends on what race I’m training for, but generally:
Monday: run interval session and swim
Tuesday: double turbo or circuit session and turbo
Wednesday: strength and conditioning and turbo or tempo run
Thursday: turbo and swim
Friday: rest day
Saturday: long run
Sunday: long bike

Q. How does training impact your family?

A. I’m married and have a very supportive husband. It helps that he plays golf whilst I’m doing my run bike/run sessions!

Q. Please give three words to describe you as a competitor?

A. Nervous. Encouraging. Disciplined.

Q. What was your reaction to seeing the Simple Hydration Bottle for the first time?

A. I’d never seen anything like it before, I didn’t completely get how it was supposed to work!

Q. What was your reaction to the Simple Hydration Bottle after using it?

A. I love it! It’s so easy to use, I often forget it’s there! A brilliant design.

Q. How do you use your Simple Hydration Bottle?

A. I wear it in my waistband. Sometimes I carry it by hand too, it’s so versatile.

Q. What races do you have planned for the rest of the 2013 season?

A. I have a sprint triathlon in August, half Iron distance in September and a half marathon in September.

Q. Anything else you’d like to add about yourself?

A. If I can do it, anybody can do it. I’m proof of that.