The Tuff'n'up Tri Squad athletes are all ages, with varying levels of experience and differing expectations. Click on the tabs to read what some of the Tuff'n'up Tri Squad crew have to say - their goals, personal experiences and race results on training wth Mick Bray.

My name is Ben Bray and Mick is the person that got me into swimming and triathlon from the age of about 5. His dedication to everything he does is what has made me into the athlete I am today. I have swam under Mick since the age of 5 and in that time I have succeeded with a silver medal at nationals and some top finishes in Olympic distance and sprint distance triathlons. I also got my first half ironman finish under him. A solo finish to Rotto at the age of 13 shows just how well he coached me. All I can say is what a legend of coaching, without this man I wouldn't have done anything near this capacity. So thankyou Mick ever so much for your dedication and for making me who I am today.

I am currently in training to complete my 4th Ironman W.A. and this is the first time that I have chosen to complete my preparation under the guidance of a personal coach. Mick has an in depth understanding of and a great level of expertise in all three triathlon disciplines both as a professional coach and a competitor. He acknowledges that each athlete has their own strengths and weaknesses and tailors each training session to meet individual needs. Mick has boundless energy and enthusiasm whether he is coaching elite athletes vying for glory at an international level or health conscious individuals who just like to stay fit, compete and finish an Ironman (as I do). While he does not expect the same out of each athlete he will push and work hard to get the best out of each person. Tuff'N'Up Tri Squad led by Mick Bray is inspiring and motivating and he will help you achieve your full potential.

My name is Hailey and I started swimming when I was 11 years old. When I first joined swimming club I was a little unsure if I wanted to swim and if it was a sport I really wanted to do. But thanks to Mick's Hard working attitude, that never lets you give up and passion for swimming, I found out how much I actually love swimming and how much it's a part of me. I still swim with Mick and I am now 20 years old.

Mike coached me for 4 years of my swimming career. He was always a dedicated coach who showed up early to every swimming session whether it was rain, sunshine or otherwise. He always provided new sets for us to do, he knew when to change modes from serious to fun coach. He always had a great sense of balance between letting us enjoy the sport and work hard at the same time. Most importantly I feel as well as developing our skills and strength in the water, he knew how to create a tight knit community that every swimmer of the club could feel a part of, and that was a vital part of maintaining my interest in the sport throughout the stressful times of year 11 and 12 of high school.

Having trained with Tuff'n'up Tri Squad for 3 seasons, I've completed multiple sprint distance triathlons, 3 Ironman 70.3 and am now training for my first Ironman. Not only does Mick write awesome programs, he's one of the most positive and mentally strong dudes I've met!

I thought I knew how to train properly but since joining Mick's squad 18 months ago my Ironman times have dropped 1 hour 24 minutes and Half Ironman times by 20 minutes. Mick's emphasis is getting the job done but with having a laugh along the way. He is a great coach and has an awesome crew to train with.

' Pain is just weakness leaving your body.'  These words have endeared me to the coaching style of Michael Bray.  Never one to give you the easy option, Mick makes sure you have every opportunity to perform at your optimum levels. if that is what you're seeking from your effort.

Personally, Mick has helped me achieve many long distance 20km swim efforts. His training programs have rekindled my passion for the sport of swimming, and have helped me achieve solidly in internationally recognized swims, such as the Rottnest Channel Swim.

Mick has competed in many Ironman events throughout his career, and has an intimate knowledge on Race day, and the training necessary to make it to the starting line in the first place.

If you are still in the early stages of your training development, Mick has an absolute understanding of the technical side of swimming. Stroke correction is of the upmost, and any inefficiencies within your technique will be analyzed and corrected. This is most important.

Away from being a hard barstard at the pool, Mick is actually an alright bloke. He has a healthy coffee addiction due to the fact that he doesn't mind a chat, so don't be afraid to shoot the breeze with him over a cuppa.

My name is Steve Anstee --I've been coached by Mick for the last few years.  I started off as a sprint triathlete and now I am an Ironman.  With Mick's guidance and support, I have had many great results in short and long coarse triathlon, including qualifing for Hawaii Ironman world champs 2011.  Without him this would have been very difficult, so I thank him immensely for his dedication and support that he has given me, even when I'm tired and grumpy.

Irontime

By Dan Talbot

At 6.00 am on Sunday December 9, 1200 people will begin an extraordinary event which, for most, will be the culmination of an exhaustive regime of physical training that has taken up a major portion of their life for the past year - the Ironman Triathlon, an event based on absurdity which starts with a 3.8 km swim, followed by 180 km cycle and finished with a 42 kilometre marathon run.

news-irontimeMost will have been juggling training with family and professional commitments. Some will have been injured, indeed, some will still be carrying injuries associated with over-training, as they stand in ankle-deep water awaiting the starter's gun.

In terms of endurance sports, Ironman ranks with the harshest of events. Once confined to the truly fanatical sportsmen and women, the event has now become the proclivity of part-time athletes from around the world with events being sold out quicker than rock concerts. One morning last December, the 1200 positions for Ironman WA were sold out in a record one and a half hours, each competitor handing over almost $800 for the privilege of thrashing their body for between nine and 17 hours.

So where has the growth come from? Consider first that Ironman is very much a solitary sport, enjoyed most by those that compete. Not a huge spectator sport, Ironman is purely the athlete extending his or her personal achievements, an existential pursuit of epic proportions. At least that is how the athlete sees it and, in the chase for ultimate sporting success, the person will need to realise previously unimaginable objectives.

In reaching these objectives, a competitor will need to squeeze 15 to 20 hours of hard, physical training into an already busy week ...

In reaching these objectives a competitor will need to squeeze 15 to 20 hours of hard, physical training into an already busy week, which takes significant dedication. For that dedication the rewards are many; weight-loss, increased strength, increased wellbeing and, most importantly, a significant improvement in the classic existential trilogy of body, mind and spirit. The term spirit is used here to depict an essence and enthusiasm for life. It must be present in the athlete at the beginning, and through all stages of the Ironman journey – right to the finish line, for without it there will be no Ironman finish.

At the risk of stating the obvious, endurance sports require great commitment, both physically and psychologically. Certainly, some individuals may be able to complete a single endurance sporting event with little or no training, but, to finish the Ironman, which is three endurance sporting events wrapped up into a single day, a person must prepare for the event. Such preparation will take months, even years, of training amidst conflicting emotions of a battle between quitting and continuing, between spending time with loved-ones and a training squad or between loving what they do and hating it.

Stay with the program long enough and eventually it's Irontime, the day of the event. It is an extraordinary day. Through the hours of the competition the athlete must keep moving forward, pushing, making gains through each of the disciplines, swimming, cycling, running, dealing with setbacks, pain and injury. In some cases, among the Iron-elite, athletes will be striding forward, others will be managing to make progress whilst many more will succumb to the shear impossibility of an Ironman finish, frequently at the behest of the medical team.

When it's over, hour upon hour of physical endurance stops within metres of the finish line, it's time to relax. At least it should be, but relaxing doesn't come easily. Peristaltic waves of pain, normally confined to the gut, wrack through the entire body. It helps to double over, to lean into the pain of exertion, drawing breath.

With the head dropped the ceremonial hanging of the medal around the neck is made easier. That strength of character, the essence that has been carrying the athlete though the event seeps from the body, replaced with overwhelming emotions of relief and celebration. Paradoxically, through the aches and pain of a body with far too much lactic acid flooding the muscles, thoughts will turn towards doing it again - because sometimes simply finishing isn't quite enough. Break out the credit card because in a few weeks it will be time to sign up for next year.

triathlon, swim bike run



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