Michelle was first involved with sport at a young age when she discovered her love for running at primary school only 11 years old. She would race the other students both boys and girls and beat them all in track and cross country running events.
She continued to race all distances from 800, through to 3,000m on the track until the age of 21 years old where she began racing over 10,000m and qualified at the 10,000m for the Commonwealth Games. After many years of injuries Michelle decided to give triathlons a go in the hope that cross training would help with the injuries. Not being able to swim was tough but learnt very quickly and fast became one of the athletes to watch out for. Biggest achievements in running were:
31.40 for 10km on the road
Commonwealth Games 10,000m 1994
Australian Cross Country champion 3 times
3rd in the World Championships triathlon 2002
1st British Champs Triathlon 2003
1st European champs Triathlon 2001
1st World cups, Salford & Noosa
2nd world cups, Ishigaki x2, Nice, Renne, New york,
1st World Duathlon Champs 2005
2nd World Duathlon Champs 1997, 2001, 2007
6th 2004 Olympic Games Athens
Exclusive interview (2011)
Triathlon World : You were an international level runner before to start competing in Triarthlon events.
Michelle Dillon : Yes I was running for Australia at the Commonwealth Games 10,000m in 1994 and also at the World Cross Country champs as a junior, I also competed at international relays across the world.
We have seen you in a couple of races to struggle at the swim event – remember you at the Lausanne 2000 World Cup that you were last out of the water- and then “suddenly” you made the podium at the world championships in Cancun (2002?).
Yes it took me a few years to pick up my swimming, coming from a running background and not swimming as a kid was the reason it took me a while to pick it up. I had to change my body shape and do the work in the pool in order to bring my swimming up and get me back into the race.
Could you please describe in brief what you did in order to improve as a triathlete and to have these amazing results?
I trained very hard and worked extremely hard on my swimming to bring it up to the level I got to. I sometimes swam 10km per day, it was broken into two sessions of 5km to try to bring my times down and it worked!
Triathlon World :Team Dillon : What is all about? Is a triathlon team, training services company,….
Michelle Dillon : Team Dillon coaching is my coaching business that I formed in 2008 after retiring from the sport due to back surgery, I wanted to give back to the sport what I had learned over the years and I love my job and what I do and its all working really well and Team Dillon is growing each year.
Triathlon World : What is your main philosophy as a coach?
Michelle Dillon :I work on the mental aspect with my athletes to help them believe in themselves and to try to have no fear when they race. Many athletes might have the ability but the thing that can hold them back is self belief so I work hard on this approach as well as training consistently hard, then you have the whole package!
Triathlon World :What is your “competitive” advantage as a coach?
Michelle Dillon :I was a World Class athlete myself and won major races and championship events in both triathlon and running. This can be a big advantage over other coaches who have never experienced that. Experience speaks for so much in anything we do in life, we always learn from others that have been there. I know I do!
Triathlon World :How hard for a woman to coach/ guide male elite and age group athletes?
Michelle Dillon :I find working with Male athletes or female athletes fairly similar you just have to understand what makes an athlete tick and once you have worked that out you can get the best out of them. It can come down to personality and as long as your athletes respect you they will always listen to what you have to say. That is a very important part of coach/athlete relationship.
Triathlon World :Can you name and present the elite athletes that you coach ? What are their goals for 2011 and 2012?
Michelle Dillon :I currently coach Stu Hayes – he hopes to make the Olympic team for 2012
I also coach Will Clarke – He has the same goal as Stu looking for an Olympic spot.
I coach Jodie Stimpson – She would like to make her first Olympic Games in London 2012.
Hollie Avil I coach and she is coming back from injury, but I believe she too will be in the running for a spot.
Kathy Tremblay – who is one of my international athletes and she is going for an Canadian Olympic Spot
I have a few other athletes which I have coming across but cannot announce them just yet.
Triathlon World :As most triathletes love to read the training schedules of the elite athletes could you please give us a weekly schedule of one of the “Team Dillon” elite athlete?
Michelle Dillon :Well that would be giving away our secrets! But what I can tell you is that my elite squad train up to 30km in the pool, 350km per week on the bike, and 120km per week on the run in our base months. So very long and hard training to get them ready for the season ahead.
Triathlon World :Do you offer coaching services to age group athletes? How do you work with them and what do you offer them?
Michelle Dillon :Yes I work with age groupers as well as my elites and I also have other coaches who work with me and Team Dillon to offer age group athletes programs online. We work with each athletes on the email and phone to individualize each program for them depending on their goals.
Triathlon World :Could you please give to our readers – age groupers- some tips for a fast improvement ?
Michelle Dillon :1. Never make the same mistake twice
2 Recover well after each session with the right nutrition
3. Try using salt tablets in races if you cramp often
4. Seek a coach if you feel you have no direction and need help with oyur goals see www.teamdilloncoaching.com
5 .Make sure you have the right advice on equipment like bikes, bike set up, wetsuit and kit for racing as it can really make a big difference to your performance.
Triathlon World :What are the most common mistakes that most age group athletes are repeating/ doing?
Michelle Dillon :The most common mistakes people make is not eating or drinking enough during races, its hard to get this one right so practice in training regular and in the conditions you will be racing in so you know exactly what you should be taking in for you. Remember everyone is different so what works for you might not work for someone else and vice versa!