I had the pleasure of interviewing Matt for this edition of the Bindi Athlete Interview series. Matt is a hard-working and honest athlete, who often works 14-16 hour days and still manages to qualify for Kona. He achieves the impossible every day and here is how he does it….
Hi, I’m Matt and I am a triathlete from Western Australia. I compete primarily in Ironman distance events and my next goals are to compete at the Ironman World Championships in Kona and in the Rottnest 20km Channel Swim.
I work in the gas industry as an Independent Gas Inspector, which involves travelling all over Western Australia. I have owned my own business since 2018 and a standard week often involves me working 7 days and travelling to mine sites or regional towns on 4-5 of those. I am often awake very early (at 2-3am) to train before travelling or doing my best to train where I can on the sites or towns I am in.
How did you get into triathlon?
I got into Triathlon back in 2012 after being in London for the Olympics. I was looking for a challenge after giving up playing Aussie Rules Football, so thought about doing a Half Ironman to get fit again after travelling.
I didn’t take the sport of triathlon seriously to start with and soon realised my results were not what I wanted them to be! So, I made the commitment to myself to train harder and qualify for the 70.3 World Championships.
Since 2016, I have managed to qualify multiple times and had several podiums in my Age Group, with some solid results in the overall standings too.
Tell us about your first experience racing Ironman distance?
I gave the full ironman distance a go in Cairns in 2018. I ended up not finishing due to stomach issues and not keeping my nutrition down which was disappointing. My good mate, who is also my coach, and I decided to have a go again at Busselton (IMWA) in December 2018. I had a good day but also injured my hip flexor during the marathon.
I still managed to qualify for Kona in a time of 9hrs 32mins. I didn’t accept my spot due to having purchased a business the year before and I regretted not racing. So, I decided to prepare again for Busselton Ironman in 2019.
SETBACKS ARE COMMON IN TRIATHLON – WHAT HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED?
In late October leading into Ironman Western Australia, I tore my medial meniscus in my right knee. I continued to train and decided to race. However, I pulled out of the marathon at the 15km mark as my right knee was not in a good way.
I had my knee operated on and was in a full leg brace for 12 weeks. My rehab was hindered due to the COVID 19 Pandemic as I had limited access to my physio and a gym for rehab. I didn’t really start running until September 2020, which didn’t allow me to race how I wanted to in the Busselton Half Ironman in October 2020 and also in May 2021.
My lead up to IMWA 2021 wasn’t ideal due to work, but I made sure I didn’t miss my big training sessions and made them count. I did sacrifice many social things too, but I know that most people often do leading up to an Ironman.
Nevertheless, my Ironman race was the result I was looking for. I felt comfortable most of the day. The third lap of the bike was tough as the heat and wind increased. The marathon was a controlled run, but the heat was the hardest factor as it started to take its toll on me.
Finishing third in my age group and tenth overall in the age groupers was unexpected but I was stoked with it.
What advice do you have for other athletes who are self-employed or working long hours and trying to fit in their training?
In my job, I have many long days (14 – 16hrs) and early starts at the airport. Training for Ironman races on top of this is a challenge and huge commitment.
My advice for anyone else out there is to keep your main sessions and make sure you target them. Also, bear in mind that if you miss a session, for whatever reason, understand that it isn’t going to impact you on race day. I find if travel a long day and have to miss a session, I can use it as an opportunity to rest.
Instead of thinking about what I have missed, I make sure I am using the time while travelling to rest, hydrate and get myself ready for the weekend when I can put in the hours I need to. If you miss a session, it isn’t the end of the world.
What motivates you on race day or when times get tough?
To be honest I put a lot of pressure on myself, because you put a lot of hours into your work and your training and so you want that satisfaction to coincide with the effort you have put in on race day. When times get tough, I am motivated to make the people that support me proud.
I really respect Ironman racing and the people from all walks of life who do it and the group of friends who I train with help motivate each other to stay fit, lead a healthy lifestyle and maintain longevity in the sport.
Why do you choose Bindi?
I have tried a few products in the past which haven’t sat well with my stomach, so a friend suggested Bindi Nutrition. I tried a sample pack and all the products worked really well for me.
I use them every day, especially while travelling. Most days when I am travelling, I am in 40 degrees plus, so hydration is really important. I’ve actually found a product that I feel is working!