Qwik Kiwi: Congratulations on qualifying for Kona as a Pro for the second time. It must have been a nail biting end to the qualifying process as you waited for results to come in from IM Hamburg.
You’ve managed to qualify and race at Kona as a Pro back in 2014. What has been different in your build up this time?
Melanie Burke: This time I’ve had a bit more of a build up having qualified in the first cut rather than the final. I also didn’t need to race as many IMs to qualify. I’ve been trying to do more swim training, and also have been doing a few indoor bike sessions on Zwift which I didn’t previously do. You can always rely on a good workout indoors!
QK: You are a life time athlete (with injury and illness exceptions), having been a top level athlete in rowing, cycling and marathon running prior to making the move to become a duathlete and triathlete. What are some of your career highlights?
MB: Top of the list would have to be winning the World Long Distance Duathlon Champs – can’t complain with being a world champion Also 4th at the World Rowing Champs, winning the Club National Cycling Champs, 26th at the New York Marathon, and 2nd at Cairns IM.
QK: In the last couple of years you’ve been struck down with glandular fever (among other things). My step-daughter has also struggled this year with glandular fever diagnosed back in February. Do you have any advice for people making a come back whether from glandular fever or some other injury or illness?
MB: I would say don’t rush back into it. Make sure you’re feeling 100 % for a while before restarting. Then ease into it slowly. A break can be great for you. I have definitely come back stronger after a year of doing nothing.
QK: You aren’t known as a strong swimmer, but I understand you’ve made some solid improvement with your swimming over winter. Is there a key swim set that has led to this improvement?
MB: Possibly doing multiple 100m’s at the pace I want to race at has helped – getting the body used to swimming at that speed.
QK: Do you train with a power meter? If so, what type?
MB: Yes, I have an SRM. I haven’t always used power, but I find it definitely helps.
QK: What is your favourite bike session?
MB: I enjoy long efforts rather than short, holding certain watts for an hour or so.
QK: Do you have a particular run session that is your go to?
MB: I think a bit of speed helps along with the longer runs. A few 1k reps at a fast pace is always good.
QK: You’ve had a podium finish at IM Australia earlier in the year and then followed that up with a 5th at IM Cairns with a sharp time. Which of these races was the most satisfying for you (or was IM Switzerland more satisfying)?
MB: I think Cairns was more satisfying as it was Asia Pacific Champs and the field was pretty strong! I changed positions several times during the bike and run which made for an exciting race
QK: I don’t think anyone is expecting you to win in Hawaii the time around (fingers crossed for you that they are all wrong). What are you aiming to achieve (not necessarily results wise but learning/experience wise) in Kona?
MB: I’m definitely hoping to improve on my swim, then just race to the best of my ability and leave it all out there! I’ll be pacing the run well so I can finish strong.
QK: Unlike a number of athletes in the pro field you hold down a ‘normal’ job. What are the challenges managing your training time around work? Do you have any tips for others trying to balance training and working?
MB: It is definitely a challenge at times! I train before and after work, with the odd run at lunch if it’s short enough. I just have to be time efficient, and get ready for sessions as quickly as possible. Along with spending quite a bit of time on weekends training.
QK: All the best for the big dance next weekend Melanie, we’ll all be watching the live stream back here to watch your progress.
Melanie is sponsored by:
You can follow Melanie on Strava here: https://www.strava.com/athletes/7750235?oq=melanie%20b
Get more of the Pre-Kona series of Qwik Interview with other top level athletes (including Braden Currie, Callum Millward, amongst others) here: