Michael Raelert was arguably the in-form triathlete of 2010. Wins at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, 70.3 Germany and California (amongst others) showed the world just how good he is. And let’s not get us started on his brother Andreas (second at Kona in 2010). In this extract from an interview he did with us last month, Michael talks 70.3, Andreas, and stepping up to Ironman.
What are the best and worst things about having a brother who is also one of the world’s top triathletes? Are you two competitive with one another?
Are we competitive? All the time. Not only in sport, but even just in our daily routine—like who can chew gum longer or calculate numbers faster. But seriously, our situation is unique in our sport and a big advantage for both of us. And it goes in every life direction. Every success and every loss we celebrate or take care of each other. Of course we sometimes fight like brothers but always hug in the end—most times after five minutes.
Do you think you will make the jump up to Ironman racing? If so, will you race Kona in 2011 against Andreas?
I will definitely race Ironman and, of course, Kona 2011. Andy and I will compete at the same race, but not against each other. If Andy has his perfect day I will also have my perfect day, even if I finish last. Nobody holds back for another competitor in such an important race.
What tips do you have for planning a training week and nailing key workouts without going into them tired from each day’s training?
Andy and I always plan in advance. Before key sessions or key weeks we make sure to be fresh. I always try to be prepared as best as I can for a key session with all the things I can influence (sleep, nutrition, etc.). When the session still gets ugly I cannot really be upset because I tried my best. And when everything goes wrong I can still blame Andy.
What is a typical meal after training hard?
Fresh cooked veggies with whole-grain noodles or rice and fresh poached fish. If I am too tired I just grab some Powerbars and protein powder for an icy shake.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Nothing is impossible. You write your own story, set your own goals and your own limits (advice from Andy Raelert).
Who are your role models in both sport and life?
My brother Andy. And maybe my dog, Jenna. She is so happy just to chase a tennis ball.
What would you be if you weren’t a pro triathlete?
There’s a tonne of things I am interested in and would like to explore. Politics is one. There are few politicians who have vision and believe in a better world and want to change something. It is really competitive as well. Or a primary school teacher. Or even a farmer and look after my own cows and corn.
What is your favourite piece of training gear?
Does Andy count? Otherwise my house clock for riding. I mostly see it after twoand- a-half hours when I leave and come back again. It doesn’t freak me out during the training.
How many hours per week did you train in your preparations for Clearwater?
There are two ways of counting training hours. One is the net time (just training time) and the other gross time (driving to the pool, changing clothes, shower, etc.). The net time is between 30 and 35 hours per week and the gross time is between 50 and 65 hours. I swim five to six times, ride five to six times and run six to nine times (which includes two speed sessions).
What do you eat/drink before and during a 70.3 race?
Three days before a race I eat a lot of carbohydrates, such as noodles, rice, pizza. On race morning, mostly gummy bears, Power Gels and a lot of water, coffee and some energy drinks. During the race, I eat four to eight gels and drink one water bottle with a bit of salt. If it’s getting really ugly during the run, I look for a Coke.
What are your goals for 2011?
Stay healthy and happy. Help Andy for his perfect day in Kona. Be on the podium in Kona as well. Defend my world title in Las Vegas.
Any training advice for those looking to make the jump from Olympic racing to half-iron distance? What’s a good 70.3 race course you recommend?
Get mentally prepared. Four to six hours is a long time, and the race is only over at the finish line. Know that when it hurts, you are not the only one hurting. Look toward the goal, and don’t get stressed out between the start and finish. There are so many cool races, but a really good race is Ironman 70.3 Switzerland in Rapperswil. Two laps of hilly riding and flat running make it really entertaining.