In this week’s issue of the Bindi Athlete Interview Series, I had a chat with Brenden Wheeler, a long course triathlete who also works in the Air Force. Brenden did his first triathlon on a whim back in 2018 and was hooked from there.
Read on to hear more about how Brenden has handled the challenges of travel, racing and working in the armed forces during the pandemic and these unpredictable times.
Hi, I’m Brenden and I’m 29 years old and currently based in Brisbane, QLD. I am a Loadmaster in the Air Force and have been part of it since I left school.
I found triathlon in 2018 and quickly became addicted. After my first triathlon, I immediately signed up to do Busselton 70.3 that same year and that was also where I was first introduced to Bindi Nutrition!
The last year has been very challenging race-wise due to work and covid. Having moved into a new role at work, I am away almost 4-6 months of the year. Much of it has involved international trips, which this year resulted in a lot of home isolation.
My past year has involved many unforgiving Kickr sessions and treadmill runs and unfortunately a lot of cancelled races because of being in isolation. However, I’ve still managed to maintain my fitness and look forward to racing again soon.
Tell us more about how you got into triathlon and racing long course events?
I was posted two hours north of Broome, in a small base with only four people, and I read an article about the Broome triathlon, which was coming up. So I decided to give it a go then was hooked!
I am always looking for a challenge. If I do something once, I always like to go out and top it. After Broome, I decided to enter Busselton 70.3, which ended up being a crazy experience but one of the best days I’ve had.
I raced on bike 2 sizes too big for me and with dodgy rims resulting in 5 flats on the course! However, I still finished the race, and it was one of the best days of my life.
Not long after, I found my coach Ryan Miller of 2Wolves Coaching and his partner Ash Thomas. I have formed a great friendship and understanding with them both and have gone from strength to strength.
What motivates you and inspires you to put in the hard yards?
I am always trying to beat what I have done previously. I’m always looking for ways to keep improving and I’ll often see someone else do something crazy, for example 500km on the Wahoo Kickr, then I’ll decide to do the same!
The question for me is always, “What’s next?”
What does a typical training week look like?
The pandemic has made it hard to establish a typical routine, with the pools having been closed and the various lockdowns. However, my typical volume would be around 15-20 hours per week.
My coach is brilliant at adapting my training around what is going on and we talk almost daily, so fortunately I have still managed to maintain overall structure, in spite of the changes we have experienced.
What are your long-term goals in the sport?
I would love to do an Ironman and qualify for Kona or a World Championship. I am very competitive and would love to race against the best in the world.
How do you juggle working in the Air Force and training for an endurance sport?
I put in a lot of hours of training and have to make some sacrifices here and there. I put in some big hours over the weekends and am grateful for my partner being very understanding.
As long as my work is being done, the Air Force are fortunately very flexible. So I can often fit in my training around work. Sometimes when I am away, it can be difficult, but my coach Ryan Miller is very creative and resourceful, and always adapts my training to suit the circumstances.
What would be your top tips for other athletes looking to take up long course triathlon?
To go out and do it!
Triathlon is one of those sports where there can be a lot of anticipation and fear around the unknown elements of it, but you’ve just got to get out there and do it on the day, and that’s what matters.
Why did you choose Bindi?
It’s got to be the flavour for sure – I found Bindi over in Busselton at the 70.3 and tried their samples. I left the stall with 5 tubs of electrolytes!
I have also never had any gut issues with their products, and since taking the Super Greens, I have felt like I have had more clarity and energy.
I feel like their products are rejuvenating!