For our first interview here at Top Fitness, we wanted to talk to someone who, like us, is new to the game but coming strong out of the gates. Michael Bradbury is a 24 year-old triathlete and soldier from the United Kingdom representing the Great Britain AG team. He’s been racing in triathlons for only two years but is quickly making big headway internationally. With goals of joining the Elite tiers of the professional triathlon world, his palpable energy, drive, and enthusiasm is destined to get him there. Michael was kind enough to join us for an interview.
TFM: Tell us a bit about your background.
MB: I was brought up in Cannock, Staffordshire just outside of Birmingham, England. I lived there until I decided to join the Armed Forces at 16 years old. After successful completion of training I was posted to Germany and served there for 6 years. I have just recently been posted back to the UK.
TFM: How did your triathlon journey begin?
MB: In 2012, I raced for the Army Cycling Development Team and got hooked on road racing. When a member from my regiment needed an extra person to form a triathlon team, my name was put forward. At the time, I made it clear that I had a distinct lack of swimming ability. Also, my life saving skills in the water were nil. Regardless, I could bike and everyone can run to some extent. So I joined the team and raced my first triathlon at an Army event. I placed 3rd Male in my Corp. I also gathered enough points to win First Team. I was hooked! If only I could swim…
TFM: That’s a strong start. What’s your biggest accomplishment in your triathlon career so far?
MB: To date my biggest accomplishment is placing 14th at the Sprint Distance Triathlon National Championships in my age group and being selected to race for Great Britain at the International Triathlon Union Sprint Distance – Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton, Canada after a mere 10 months of training.
TFM: What part of your racing is strongest?
MB: My strongest point is my bike split on a qualification race in Nottingham. I came in 1st for my age group and 7th out of over 998 athletes.
TFM: Do you have any advice for those who need help improving their swimming?
MB: As far as swimming goes, again, consistency is key, as it takes 80,000 revolutions of a single movement to cement it into muscle memory. A big mistake that novice swimmers make, myself included, is dropping the lead hand too early rather than gliding forward and recovering enough with a high elbow and swift hip rotation.
Try using this drill to help master your technique:
Catch Up (Superman Position): Do not pull thru until hand has stretched past the other outstretched hand. Use a slow movement, catching as much water as possible.
This drill alone over a 3-week period took 11 secs off my 100m PB and average splits. This drill works!
TFM: Good advice. What is your biggest challenge right now in racing?
MB: My biggest problem I currently have is plantar fasciitis. It’s a condition on the underfoot which is so painful it sometimes hurts to walk, never mind full time training.
TFM: What do you do to combat that problem?
MB: There are plenty of methods I use to keep this at bay:
1. Foam rolling the side of the tibia (shin bone)
2. Get a foot hold (this keeps your foot on permanent stretch for a few minutes at a time)
3. Strength and conditioning is key. I do lots of calf raises to strengthen the associated area
4. Rest and recovery are just as important as training. Without this our muscles do not grow or recover.
MB: I think what sets me apart from other triathletes is my nervous approach. My wife will second this. The day before an important race, I’m a wreck, and I mean I can’t sleep, drink, eat (yes, eat). It’s a nightmare. I can’t relax. It’s just of those things but I’m working on it.
TFM: Who are you inspired by as a triathlete?
MB: My inspirations, like many others, are the Brownlee Brothers merely for their hard work, dedication and natural talent. However there are many more Elites I look up to who haven’t quite got the natural talent but work extremely hard to keep their professional status and Elite license.
TFM: What is the next big race you’re training for?
MB: I’m currently training for both the Inter-services standard distance and the European Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships in Geneva, Switzerland (ETU) both in July.
TFM: Are you doing anything different to train these days?
MB: The way I’m training is vastly different to last year as training last time was really minimal. This year being consistent with training, as I mentioned before, and plenty of swimming. I’m working on my weaknesses while strengthening my bike split and sorting my technique out on my run. I’m hoping the early morning and late nights will pay off.
TFM: Best of luck with the training and the races. To wrap up, what is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
MB: Best advice I have ever been given is consistency is key. Also, wear your wetsuit the right way round – it’s more aero. ☺
Want to know more? You can get involved and support Michael’s journey here at PledgeSports.org.