As many people know, Michelle is a 2x Olympian (representing GB in triathlon at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics), and a former World and European champion, who was famed for her aggressive approach on the bike and fearsome run speed. (And for running we are talking about a 31.40 10km PB - definitely something to be feared by her competitors!)
The weekend started off with some drinks and chat at Ian's house on the Thursday night, where the participants got to have a chat to Michelle and her assistant coach Perry Agass, ask questions, explain what they wanted out of the weekend, and set out what their triathlon goals were.
Everyone had a relative lie-in the next morning (by Dubai triathletes' standards!) and met at Safa Park for opening time.
We then had a run technique session, and first off we found out how to activate the glutes before running (lots of clenching went on!). From there Michelle and Perry took the team through several drills in order to learn, and then run with, the running style that Michelle promised would make us more efficient, quicker, and less likely to get injured. What's not to like about that?!
That afternoon, the group met at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort, for an open water swim session in the sea. The wind had got up a bit, and there was a certain amount of chop around, so it served to show the important of having a high arm turnover in the water in order to keep moving through it. Everyone practised entrys in and exits out of the water, race starts and sighting, before a number of sprints and a team race to finish everyone off nicely. Other than a couple of cut feet from some sharp rocks, it all worked out great. Michelle then gave a talk about set up for transition, wetsuit removal, and then took the group through a stretching session.
The next morning, everyone set up their bikes on turbo trainers next to the running track at the Dubai Mens College. People were aware that it might be a hard session, but perhaps not ready for it to be quite as hard as it was!
We started off again with the glute exercises - with Michelle and Perry lending a hand!
After a warm-up, we were then into the first set: a 1km run; 10 min hard bike; 1km run session. Did most people go out too hard on the first 1km run? (Yes!)
Michelle and Perry explaining the next set to the group:
From then on we had another couple of nasty sets that involved 2 things: (a) running fast and (b) biking hard.
Perry shouting at the group: "You can still push harder! This is where it counts! Come on - work it!". It really hurt.
Michelle explaining what we were going to do next:
The final session of the day was a swim technique session in the pool at Kings School (thanks a lot to Dubai Masters Swimming Club for sorting this out for us!). Here Perry took us through the "no-glide" open water technique - essentially moving away from front-quadrant swimming, and teaching the group a stroke that should be more efficient in open water (and specifically in choppy open water). After the technique work, the group was then kindly given a main set of 20 x 50m (hard!) to finish off. And finish the group off it did!
That evening the group met for dinner at the Westin, with Gary and Jess getting the "best performance" awards (and some Team Dillon kit to show for their efforts!)
Thanks to Michelle and Perry for a fantastic weekend. You can see more photos from the weekend here.