Michael Hawkes

I’m from Oxford originally but moved to Portsmouth when I joined the Royal Navy in 1989.  I’m married to my childhood sweetheart Sian and we have two girls Seren (18) and Freya (11).  I left the RN in 2014 and now I work for Safran Helicopter Engines in Fareham.  Outside of tri I like to go on holiday with the family, reading, and playing the guitar (badly).

1 At what age did you do your first multi-sport event and what/where was it?  First event was the Royal Navy Duathlon champs in 2009.  The race was around Southwick Park (HMS Dryad).  I was on course at BRNC Dartmouth and signing up for the race meant I got to come home a day early ☺.

2 Tell us about your triathlon experience to date?  What are your major accomplishments?  – My first triathlon was the Wiggle Portsmouth Olympic distance in 2013; it was brilliant, I loved it.  I remember smiling so much when I finished; there’s nothing like finishing your first triathlon.  After that, I mainly focused on IM distance.  My major accomplishment is qualifying for the GB age group 2018 ETU Long Distance champs to be held as part of Challenge Madrid.  My favorite race was my first IM in Wales.  The sea was a bit rough and loads of people were complaining.  I was nervous, but I thought they ought to try swimming in Southsea.  If you can swim on a rough day in the Solent, you can handle anything.

3 What are your target races for the next couple of seasons? I am focusing my training on Staffordshire 70.3 because I want to try and qualify for GB at ½ IM distance (either 2018 or 2019).  After that I’ll shift focus to getting ready for Madrid; the training isn’t really that different as far as I can tell from the programme I’m following.

4 Describe your favorite workout. As sad as it sounds, I really like turbo training on Zwift.  I like doing the speed sets with a smart trainer set on ERG mode.  Zwift knows your FTP, so there’s no hiding place!  It’s always a honking, difficult, sweaty workout.

5 What’s the worst triathlon advice someone ever gave you? I’ve never been given bad triathlon advice by anyone, but I have made some silly mistakes all on my own.  It’s all part of the fun, when you pick up a new skill and get it right on race day.

6 What has been your greatest race experience until today? When I was on the last lap at my first Ironman; I knew I was going to be able to finish and the last lap 10k was brilliant.  The atmosphere in Tenby is the best I have experienced in all of the long races I’ve completed.

7 Any pre-race rituals? Lots of time in the toilet, at one of the pompey duathlon races a couple of years ago, I was still in there when the race started!!

8 What’s your favorite discipline in triathlon and your favorite race distance? Definitely the bike, ideal distance for me is 70.3, plenty of time on the bike to make up for my crappy swimming and I can keep enough in the tank for a good run too.

9 What advice would you offer to members who wish to improve in the sport of triathlon? Most important, have fun, and if you want to improve you have to train/practice lots.  We have fantastic coaches in the club running loads of sessions throughout the week, so go along.

10 Any favorite post-race /training indulgence? Cakes and lattes from Southsea Coffee.