November 18, 2019

“I Am TriDot”

In this official podcast launch episode, we’ll dig into the origins of optimized triathlon training and some fundamental insights for how it is revolutionizing triathlon training. We’ll talk all about how and why TriDot came to be and what it means when we say “I AM TriDot.” #IAMTriDot

TriDot Podcast .01: “I Am TriDot” This is the TriDot Podcast. TriDot uses your training data and genetic profile combined with predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you better results in less time with fewer injuries. Our podcast is here to educate, inspire, and entertain. We'll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches and special guests. Join the conversation and let's improve together. Andrew: Coming to you from TriDot headquarters in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Welcome to episode one of the TriDot Podcast. All of us here at TriDot are excited out of our minds to launch this new avenue for quality triathlon conversation. Now, I won't always open the show with this much fanfare but it's episode one, people. So, may the stories we tell be engaging, may the questions we answer be helpful, may the jokes we tell not be too corny, and may the insight our coaches give change everything for you and your triathlon journey. Let's get to it. Today on the show, I'm joined by TriDot founder and CEO, Jeff Booher. Jeff is our lead data lover and heads the team of engineers that are the brains behind the software that drives TriDot’s training. Jeff, welcome to the show. Jeff: Thank you very much, Andrew. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. We've got some really amazing coaches and they have a wealth of expertise that they're just eager to share. So, I know from the data analytics side, we're going to share some insights that will really just fundamentally change the way our listeners approach the sport of triathlon. They're going to achieve more, they're going to understand more, and they're just going be more satisfied, get more fulfillment out of sports. So, I'm just so happy to be launching this. Andrew: Also here in the TriDot studio is coach John Mayfield. John is a five-time Ironman finisher who has coached athletes to finishes at every U.S. Ironman event. From first-timers to Kona qualifiers, John has insight for athletes of every ability. John, thanks for joining us for episode one. John: Yeah. Hey, we're excited for this. We've just got a whole lot of information and experience from working with athletes of all abilities at all race distances. We've been doing this for a number of years, so we're just excited to share some of those insights, and increase enjoyment of triathlon for all the athletes out there. Andrew: All right. And who am I? I'm your host, Andrew, the average triathlete, voice of the people and captain of the mid pack. Listen, every good workout starts with a warmup, peaks with the main set, and concludes with a nice refreshing cooldown. And that is exactly what you can expect from the TriDot podcast. I will offer up a warmup talking point to today's guests and then we'll dive deep into today's main set before finishing things off with our cooldown topic. Time to warm up. Let's get moving. Andrew: For today's warmup, I've got a fun one for you. In the sport of triathlon, we are blessed to have dozens and dozens of pro athletes who are great competitors, and all around quality people to admire. So, the question today, who is your all-time favorite pro triathlete? Jeff: So, you're right, there are lots of great professional athletes in the sport. We have a great history of athletes going back several decades. Lots of great ones to choose from, but I'm going to say my favorite professional triathlete is a good friend of mine, Kurt Madden. Kurt was one of the original triathletes who raced in Hawaii the first time in 1980, prior to the move to Kona. And as I've gotten to know Kurt over the last several years. He's just been a great wealth of information, sharing on the history of the sport, as well as the progression of where it started and where it's going, and he's a fantastic storyteller. So, he's just been a great friend and even mentor to me, as we've worked together at a lot of these races. So, I have to say Kurt's my favorite professional triathlete. John: Yeah, I guess it's my turn. Well, that's a great question, Andrew. I know there's a lot of just amazing competitors out there, pros. I've had the privilege of working with coaching a lot of great pro athletes are all just wonderful people to a person, just people that I admire and respect and have grown to love and developed great friendships. So, asking me to say which is my favorite out of those is kind of like a parent choosing a favorite child, so I'm going to steer clear of that. They're all my favorite. But to pick someone, I guess I'd say Barb Lindquist would be my favorite. And when you ask the question, you know, great competitors, just all around quality people, she just came to mind. She's just amazing. She's a 2004 Olympian, Hall of Fame, USAT Hall of Fame, World Number One for I think a couple years. It was the longest at the time, I think the longest any male or female had been number one ranked in the world, just amazing. I got to know her probably 10-12 years ago when she started up the collegiate recruitment program. Got to work with her, she works with some of my athletes as well, and just got to be friends with her, see her help my athletes. And I just really respect the way that she was just so genuine, humble, just so giving, sharing, just quality character, her faith, her family. Just you know, the total package. A wonderful person, just really admire her lot, consider her a mentor, learned so much from her. Yeah, so Barb Lindquist would be my favorite pro. Andrew: It's funny how both of you shared somebody that you've had personal interaction with, right. It's amazing how in the modern day we can follow these athletes on social media, you can feel like you know a lot about them but never meet them. But when you meet them, they can make all the difference in who you like to root for. I know for me, my wife and I were in Washington, D.C., just on a little December weekend getaway, let's go explore a new city. And we're walking down the mall area, and I see a guy running in the distance. And you can kind of see the blue Nike shoes, and you can see this person was clearly in very, very good shape. And I remember thinking to myself because I follow several pro triathletes on social media. I remember thinking, that guy looks a little bit like Ben Hoffman. But he doesn't live in Washington, D.C., so I didn't think it would be him. And the closer he got to us on his training run, the more I was like, that's been Hoffman. And so he runs by us and for a split second I wanted to say his name and see if he turned around, but I didn't. I didn’t want to bother whoever it was running. And so I turned my wife and I'm like, I'm pretty sure that was pro triathlete Ben Hoffman. And she goes, “Who?” Now, my wife is very supportive of my triathlon hobby but she's not up to date with the who's who of the triathlon world. And so I had to explain to her “Hey, he's a Kona top finisher, one of the top Americans of Kona every single year, you know, great, great triathlete.” And so now in the Harley household, from that day, we refer to Ben Hoffman as “celebrity triathlete Ben Hoffman.” Because I joke that in the triathlon world, he's a celebrity and to her that doesn't count as being an actual celebrity. And so sure enough, later on, on social media he had shared “Hey, here's a picture of me from in front of the statue of Abraham Lincoln for my training run.” And I was like, “That was Ben Hoffman. That was him.” So, I just shot him a little direct message. And he replied back. I told him the story of me recognizing him and my wife having no idea who he was. And he thought it was really, really funny. So, even that scale of interaction, I now find myself when I'm watching Kona, when I'm watching these guys at Ironman events, and I have them in the tracker. I find myself rooting for Ben Hoffman, just from the one time he passed by me in Washington, DC. On to the main set. Andrew: Today our main set is brought to you by TriBike Transport. If you are traveling for an upcoming race, let TriBike Transport ensure that your bike gets there race ready and stress free. TriBike Transport is the original, fully assembled bike transport service for cyclists and triathletes. I love traveling for a race, and after registering the first thing I do is book TriBike Transport for my bike. You start by using the easy online reservation form to guarantee space for your bike. Then about one week out from the race, you will drop off your bike fully assembled at one of their conveniently located partner shops. Your bike will enjoy a smooth ride all the way to the race site, where you will pick it up near T1, ready to race with your bike fit position untouched. Thousands of athletes have trusted their gear to TriBike Transport and you can too. Learn how by heading to TriBikeTransport.com, and as a friend of the podcast use coupon code TRIDOT POD for $25 off your next booking. Now, I want to be very clear, most of the time on the show we will be talking about multi-sport topics without specifically focusing on TriDot. We are here for all triathletes whether you use TriDot or not for your training. But from time to time we will unapologetically focus in on a specific feature of TriDot. Today is one of those days as we will be talking about how TriDot got started, and what it means when we say, “I am TriDot.” When I first heard how TriDot came to be, it gave me so much confidence that I had chosen the right training program for me. In a lot of ways, TriDot was founded because there's nothing else on the market quite like it. Jeff, take us back to the beginning. What was your inspiration for TriDot? Jeff: Well, my inspiration, I've been a triathlete for almost 20 years now. I got really competitive and just like everyone else, you get the bug, you get sucked into the sport and you want to do well. Andrew: It happens so easy. Jeff: Yes. So, I was really competitive. But then I was looking around seeing these triathletes training for 20-plus hours and wanting to do well. And I said okay, I want to do well, but I'm not doing that at the expense of my family, service work, my career, all that kind of stuff. So, I really went on a kind of a passion project just to educate myself on training to figure out okay, how can I train more effectively? I’ve got so many hours I want to use; how do I do that better? And I got certified in everything; USA track and field, cycling, triathlon, absorbed every book, webinar, everything. Andrew: So, you got really obsessed, you got really into it? Jeff: I did. I spent probably two years just learning everything with no intention of coaching or anything else. It was all self-serving, very selfish. And what I found was, the further I got into that I found experts, world champions, coaches, all these accolades and accomplishments, but they're saying conflicting things. They're saying literally polar opposite approaches, philosophies and how you should train and what you should do. And I realized that there was no data-driven training. We really misuse the word today, data-driven. But they weren't using data to drive the training. They're pointing to data. But it was all coach centric, it was philosophies and templates and trial and error. And so I had a background and I'd run several companies, but I started my career as an MIS. I was a software architect, supply chain management software. So, I had an appreciation for technology, understood it, so I started seeing an application here. So, I just started doing my own research and seeing what things worked, how I could design algorithms that would most effectively train myself. As I started going through that, very soon I got probably 20 or 30 training buddies and people in a group I was in to start giving me their data, and started watching it. They're all pretty much the same, so it was a relatively homogeneous, I thought at that time, group. I started training that and gradually began to hone those algorithms and then from season to season, pull in more people, wider age groups, different ability levels and just really learn. What people think of now as data driven, they look at data, but it's all descriptive, historical data. They're looking at the past. There's nothing predicting the future. So that's what I set on a quest to do back then, it was about 2005 or so. It took several years. So, looking forward to your training, how do you optimize that future training? Now, looking at tens of thousands of athletes, over 15 years, tens of millions of prescribed training sessions, we’re able to pull in all things from training data to health data, even genetics now. So, we're fine tuning and optimizing your training based on all of that data, based on algorithms that were just a constant incremental improvement for more than 15 years. Andrew: So, it's come a long way in terms of how many files you're looking at. So, for you and all of those early adopters, what difference did you see in your training when you started to dial back the volume, you started to incorporate what you were learning from the data. What difference did you see in everyone's training? Jeff: Well, very quickly, I realized that it is not really about dialing back the training necessarily. That was my initial selfish goal, how can I achieve the most. But it's making the most of whatever time you have. If you have 20 hours a week, maybe that's good, maybe it's not good. But knowing the incremental improvement and the cost, there's an increase, there's marginal analysis there to do every additional unit of training that you do. Stress, hours, whatever it is, pounding, it increase risks. So, benefits go up, risks also go up. So it's evaluating that and optimizing for it. So, I saw that the focus shifted, my focus shifted, and later what would become TriDot moved away from the accumulation metrics. And so you stop looking at how many miles, how many minutes, how many, all of that stuff, and asking yourself if you’re just doing more work or if you’re doing the right work, and are you doing the right work right? So, that led to the big gains. So, we saw better results, more sustainable ability to stay in the sport longer, because you're healthier. It's a lifestyle that can be balanced. And so you don't feel guilty for not training, you're achieving better results. Andrew: Yeah, because that's most people. Most people are exactly in that place of I'm a triathlete, I want to do the best I can on race day, but I still have my family, I still have my job, I still have other hobbies on the side, and other events I have to go to. And so how can I maximize the time that I have for training to get faster? So, that literally was what birthed TriDot? Jeff: Yeah, for me selfishly. And then for others and then to get the affirmation as we started looking at the data and seeing what's happening, being able to track specifically and measure the incremental gains from doing this type of training versus that type of training, pulling the different training levers and the intensity, the duration, the frequency, all of those things. If you do different training for different people, you get different results. And so seeing athletes that were in their 60s and had been doing triathlons for 20 years, and telling me that they're racing better and faster than when they were in their 40s. They were doing their best back then, they're doing their best now, and they're performing better 20 years older, and to see that over and over and over. That was probably around 2010-11, so a few years into it, seeing that at this broader application, that's when we really started saying, okay, we need to repurpose this beyond just a few hundred training buddies and friends and smaller community as word spreads. Andrew: So, there are two slogans for TriDot training that I often see. The first one is, “it's about time,” and the second one is “insight changes everything.” Can you guys unpack both of those statements a little for us? John: So, “it's about time” really speaks to several things. Primarily, it's your time on the racecourse, so your results, your training time, how many hours are you spending each week engaging in these activities to set up those results on race day, and then your downtime as well. So, each of these metrics are real important for triathletes. We all want to perform at our best, we want to realize our full potential, we want to make sure the time we're investing in our training is beneficial. We're not wasting time, we're not investing more hours away from home, that is going to produce gains for us. And none of us want to have downtime due to injury. So, that's kind of the threefold objective of TriDot: better results, optimize training time, fewer injuries. So, it's a time-based aspect. And then “it's about time” is we've been collecting this data for decades now. Andrew: Which is a lot of time. John: There are future athletes out there that are not recording data in every session that they do. However, as Jeff mentioned, prior to TriDot it was all kind of going into a vast black hole of nothing. We didn't have a system like this where we could truly leverage this data to produce these results of better results, less training and less downtime due to injury. Andrew: When I first came into TriDot as a user, I kind of always thought that “it's about time” was like, it's about time someone produced a training program like this. So, from the athlete, if you're out there and you've been searching for the best training program and maybe you've tried to coach, maybe you've tried a cookie-cutter, paper plan from the internet or maybe you're coaching yourself, and just winging it. I took it as like, oh man, it's about time I found TriDot because it's made all the difference. So, it's cool to hear the different layers of ways that TriDot is effectively trying to maximize people's time. So, Jeff, what about “insight changes everything,” what's the deeper meaning behind that? Jeff: Yeah, it's pretty self-explanatory I guess, insight does change everything, changes the way you look at things. Going all the way back to, you know, without TriDot, when you're only looking at your descriptive data, looking backwards. You look at it, you apply your theory, your philosophy, your trial and error, whatever you're doing, and then you make decisions going forward. And so every coach is out there with different philosophies, different experience, what worked for them, what didn't work for them. And so when I was doing that initial research, and I still hear people say, “everyone responds to training differently.” So, they're talking with their coach, they’re talking with other athletes, and I'm doing this, you're doing that, it's working for me, and they go, “Well everybody responds to training differently.” So, it was this generally accepted saying that I say is flat out wrong. But people say, well, how's it wrong because I know that I do different training and so and so. Andrew: It feels like it should be right on the surface. Jeff: That everyone responds differently? Andrew: Yeah, like, of course they do. Jeff: Right. But just break down the sentence. If you're actually looking at the words: “everybody,” one word, right, responds to training differently. So, the focus when we say it in that way, you're focusing on the response being different. But you're saying “everybody,” like there's just people, and there's this homogeneous person. But if you switch the emphasis on the difference, from “respond,” so they're not responding different, but you say “every” “body” responds to training differently, that's false. Because as long as you have the same body and the body can be quantified and measured, then the response is predictable and the same every time. So, it's not “everyone's response is different.” It's everyone's body is different. So, when you start taking body differences, how long have you been doing the sport, look at your genetics, your body composition, your age, your performance level, in each different sport, on all these different metrics, you put all those things, then you start quantifying, and having this insight into everyone's body, and what their potential is, and what their risks are, and what their performance improvement capabilities are. When you articulate that and compare apples to apples, all of the same type of body, the more narrowly and granularly you can find those, then the responses are very predictable. And that's how you have the repeatable results. And without that, you're just shooting blind. And so that's why insight is what changes everything. Without the insight, without knowing all of that, without having tens of thousands of athletes that are measured in a way that standardized, normalized where you can do that apples-to-apples comparison, you're just going blind. And you're wasting a lot of time, high injury, risk, all those things that we fight against. Andrew: Guys, this is why I love TriDot because I love that there are people out there like Jeff and John who are way smarter than me on the analytics, know way more than me about big data, and have done all this thinking for me. What you're saying is for everybody that's a part of TriDot that is like me, who has a similar body composition to me, who has a similar experience in all three sports as I do, their training results and my training results should be pretty similar and pretty predictable. Jeff: Absolutely. And there's another thing that changes. So, you have athletes out there that'll go from coach to coach to coach. And then this coach works, you know all this one. Well, they've just gone to the philosophy that happens to fit them at the moment. So, when an athlete tries to learn, you’re learning how to train yourself and to successfully get from point A to point B. Well, when you're at point B, you have all the learnings before, for you, if you're tracking everything and doing that analysis, but now you're a different person. Your body composition is different, your performance level is different, how long you've been doing the sports, all of those things change. So, that's one of the things to consider. Andrew: So, Jeff, from those early days, when you first founded TriDot, how has the program evolved to the application that we see today? Jeff: Yeah, it's been slow, painful, expensive, but obviously, joyous and rewarding and fun to do with the team that we've been working with. Early on as I mentioned, it was just a selfish endeavor, and it was just gradual incremental improvements. And as I realized more opportunity, more void of something like this or this type of approach in the application that we could have and then got a vision, the technology is not a replacement for coaches at all. It is a replacement for designing your training. So, the role of a coach just like the role of doctors and other professions. As technology comes along, the services they provide are different, they're supported by machines. MRIs do things that doctors used to do, but you still need doctors. So, TriDot technology does stuff that coaches cannot do. They cannot produce an optimized training plan like we can, not even close. But there's 100 things that coaches can do that we could never do Andrew: They can help the athlete implement that training plan. Jeff: Absolutely. The technology works with the data. The coach works with the human being, the person. The technology can't care, can’t empathize, can't all of those things that are required human to human. And so we just make a coach much more productive and deliver much higher- level value. So, early days, I was tracking things in spreadsheets and figuring out normalization standards, all of these kind of things, and building some technologies that normalize results so I can compare all of these things. Andrew: And so you're just doing it yourself for all of your athletes. Jeff: Exactly. Yeah, 30, something like that. And then gradually went to a database, started after I got the standards, the normalization to some correlation analysis, all that, then eventually exploited that database, had a company design a front end. So, probably in 2010 or 2011, we launched that where it’s basically a simple front end where someone could log into a website, look at their training, complete the training, and submit their results. It was just an exchange of their data files and - Andrew: Oh right, they’re online instead of - Jeff: Correct. But it was just very fundamental and I tried actually to go to other companies that were out there that had an online calendar, tracking and logging, and they had no capacity to do any custom values. It was just very, very, very basic. All the coaches that use that platform were just using templates. They’d upload 15-20 templates, and they’d copy and paste them into athletes’ accounts and just tweak them. And that's what they still do, that’s what that technology still is. Whereas, ours was very, very different and just adapting all the time, in real time. So, we did that, we added the environment normalization, we added just a whole bunch of other [features]. Most recently, we added the genetics component where we're actually pulling your genome. And that's a more recent thing with 23andMe and others doing this genome typing. Andrew: We’ll do a whole podcast just talking about the way someone's actual specific genetics can impact their training. Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. And so that's recently. Probably another big milestone was back in 2014, and that genetics work started 2016. So, we've been working on that for quite a long time. Most of the stuff that we develop has many years before it'll ever, we’ll ever talk about it. So, we're looking, checking, and validating. We went to the current analytics engine we have back in 2015, so kind of just turbocharged everything. And there's a team of developers working on that. One of the ones they had, a PhD in mechanical engineering told me, the engine they developed, he said that he actually was tracking when an average phase was being optimized, built, generated within our system. He said he tracked at one point—he was just fascinated by how much was going on and how many different things were being considered. He said there were more than 11,000 simultaneous calculations occurring at one time during that training phase. Andrew: My goodness. Jeff: So, it was just instant. So, a person can't do that, and a person can't design that overnight. That was 10 years into the work. Andrew: And an individual coach doesn't have the depth of data files and the amount of data files you have to hone in that training like that over time. Jeff: Correct. Absolutely. Andrew: So, John, how has the user base of athletes grown over time? John: So, I was actually one of those early users that Jeff described. My first TriDot training plans were emailed via Excel spread. And so I have a great reference. I've been here for each step along the way, and actually had very little, if anything to do with the development of the technology side, that's not what I do. But one thing I've been very fortunate to be involved in is the development of the community. So, we have the opportunity to work with athletes all across the country and around the world. And almost as a byproduct of the technology we've been able to create a community of athletes that come together under the moniker of “I Am TriDot,” which has been really cool to be a part of and to witness, and have the opportunity to go to basically any race across the country and meet TriDot athletes, and see there that just organically they're connecting with one another, they're encouraging one another. We have a vibrant Facebook group that is a great resource for support and education. And so along with these technology developments we've had this fantastic development of people that have come along with that, which has been great to be a part of. Jeff: I will say when you're out on a race course and whether you know the person or not, when you see somebody else wearing a TriDot visor, a TriDot hat, a TriDot tri suit, it really does make a difference. You see each other, you acknowledge each other, and you fist pump each other, whatever, but having that community and being a part of it really does make a huge difference. Andrew: Yeah, I want you, John, in a second, I want you to elaborate on how that phrase, “I Am TriDot” came to be. I thought that was really cool. One of the things we don't always recognize, there's so many people out there that are TriDot, and it's never been a goal to create a club, a team. But we wanted anyone on any team in any community, whatever their local group is, whoever they're training with, the people that they do live with train and use triathlon, we want to support you in that group. Jeff: There are entire clubs that use TriDot. Andrew: Absolutely. Yeah, they don't wear the kit, they don't do any of that stuff. But they're raving fans as far as what it can do for their training. And so that's very liberating for them. They can focus on their social, their culture, and their community, and all the relational stuff and don't have to worry about what training they should do this morning. But John, why don't you share that? I thought that was great, the story of the first time you heard how that resonated. John: So, if our roles here are somewhat defined, I would say Jeff is more the technology guy. I'm more of the athlete, engagement-with-athletes/support guy. Andrew: I’m the podcast guy. John: And we got the podcast guy. So, a couple of years ago, I was at a race like I am on most weekends, and we had our tent set up. And there were lots of people coming by on the run course, they would see the tent and they would just holler out, “Hey, I'm TriDot!” And I got that every few minutes somebody was running by and hollering out, “Hey, I'm TriDot, I'm TriDot.” So, we had kind of a debriefing the next day, I was telling how things went at the onsite event out there at the race. And I shared that story how all these athletes were coming by and how it was just really cool that these athletes were identifying with us, and identifying themselves as a tribe. And that's where I think it just clicked with Jeff of, yeah, that's really cool, and there's really a lot of depth to it. So, it's kind of become our thing and it's such an honor, I think, that these athletes do identify with us that they are saying that “I am TriDot.” Jeff: They’re so appreciative of the role that TriDot plays in their triathlon journey and they want to identify with. John: Yeah. To have people say that, it means the world to me, and I know it means the world to Jeff and the rest of the team that these athletes are part of us and we're all in this together, we are TriDot. Andrew: Yeah and I know I've seen all over social media people post that. There's several of our athletes that have “I Am TriDot” on their Instagram and Facebook profile pictures, even. And as fun as it is to post a little workout selfie, you're sweaty, you just crushed for two hours on the bike, you want to post a selfie to show off the hard work you just put in, and people post those pictures and they hashtag “I Am TriDot.” And I think they kind of have a surface level understanding of “Oh, I'm a part of the training program. This is what I use.” But the meaning of “I Am TriDot” goes way deeper than that. Can you guys elaborate on that? Jeff: Absolutely, Andrew. When John first said that story, the first thing I noticed from it is that they don’t say I use TriDot or I’m a TriDot user, it’s “I Am TriDot.” I'm TriDot. And it struck with me, that that's my heart, too, to not make it something you use, like this thing, but you're part of it, you are part of TriDot. Your data goes in with other people's data and they're benefiting from your performance, your training. TriDot gets smarter the more people use it. And so you're helping other people get better and all those other people out there are helping you get better. As we grow and develop new technologies and gain new insights from more users, we just keep advancing the ball down the field and it gets better and better, better. Plus from a community standpoint, people taking ownership. I know when I hear one of our new customer support people, Cindy, she's amazing, talking with athletes, they’re some that will call to cancel their subscription, they're going through a sickness, it could be a job change, all kinds of stuff. And she's reaching out to them six months later after they're no longer even using our software, reaching out, “How did it go? How are you doing?” You know that kind of personal care and connection to people, that they are part of the family, that we're in this to help each other. The triathlon community is that way in a large part. There's so many people out there just so giving and helping and whatnot, but we really take that to heart. So, from a data standpoint, we see that, from a community relational standpoint, and then from our team, I look that internally as we talk, we all have different roles, just like John said. He's more got a face for the public and I have a face for technology. And we play our different roles, but each one of us in our role, just like an athlete, beginner, elite, all different levels, and types, and bodies, everything, differences. But we all have a role to play. So, each member of that team, that family is part of TriDot, and we make it what it is today. And bringing on the podcast guy is a huge part of advancing that and benefiting for all of our athletes. Andrew: Yeah. So, let's talk about that a little bit because after years and years and years of helping athletes optimize their training, kind of fine tuning the algorithms, fine tuning the data that works behind the scenes, we've got the community built. You know, why now is TriDot looking to get into the podcast game? Jeff: Well, I think we always lead with the technology, the technology is very advanced, more than we’ll ever share. I heard something about Jack Welch, the famous GE CEO, he’s always talking about how come you're so forthcoming with what you're sharing about the things that you're doing, the things that make you successful. And he said, “Oh, we're only sharing the things that we did two years ago. The current stuff, the secret stuff is still under wraps.” And so, the answer to “Why now?” is we've always led with technology and always lagged with explaining, and helping people understand and educate. So, that's the point now of helping athletes understand and engage more quickly, understand what they're doing, and why they're doing it. I think you get better results when athletes understand. Some people can wake up and just take their medicine and just do the workout and go and those athletes get phenomenal results. Other people just aren’t wired that way. They question, they want to understand or they have trouble implementing unless they can see it. So, that's what it is, education. I would encourage people actually, if they're that kind of person that needs to understand and you don't, to back off of an hour of training, and invest that hour in listening to podcasts, watching videos, learning about the sport, this podcast, doing that while you're on the trainer, that would be more beneficial. There's a famous Abraham Lincoln quote, where he said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening my axe.” And that can be so true. You understand what you're doing, you're not going to have all that waste of time. People continue to do things that are just these theories, these myths, just what their body does, all of this training, they waste so much, they get injured, they're out of the sport. Far more waste and inefficiency is present just because some people don't understand what they're doing. So, if you're listening, and you're one of those people that seeks to understand or that's a little apprehensive about doing something that's different than what you've always done, I'd encourage you to be like Abraham Lincoln and invest in education and understanding. We've been doing that for 15 years trying to understand and gain the insights and we certainly want to share them, so that's what this podcast is primarily for. Andrew: John, for the athletes who are going to tune in and listen and we're always going to have different coaches, different experts and guests on talking about different things, but for you as kind of one of our lead coaches who are going to be a voice, when people tune in and they listen to my wonderful voice and your wonderful voice, what are you hoping they get out of this podcast? John: Well, for me, early on in my triathlon career, like many triathletes or I would almost venture to say all triathletes, there's just a wealth of a new world of information, and there's this hunger to know and to learn. And that's really what kind of took me from a first-time, sprint triathlete as I progressed through performance level and distance as I gained. That's what took me from an athlete to a coach and now a full-time member of the TriDot team. It's been this ongoing growth and learning experience for me. And one of the resources I really probably primarily used early on as an athlete and a coach was listening to podcasts. And there were several really great podcasts that were being produced ten-plus years ago. Andrew: And podcasts weren't even as popular then as they are now. John: Yeah, there weren't nearly as many, they were kind of few and far between, but there were some good ones that I learned a ton from. They were just a great source of information of new studies and that sort of thing that I really enjoyed, and really kind of helped develop my own understanding and philosophy around coaching and working with athletes, race execution, all these things. I learned a ton from podcasts. So, that's what I hope that we're able to do is provide a very high quality avenue for triathletes of all levels, for coaches to learn and expand their horizons so that they can enjoy the sport, so they can extend their time in the sport, so they can do away with wasted and ineffective time, prevent injuries, all those things that we're looking to do. My ambition for the podcast is that athletes look forward to this and really find it valuable at the end of every episode. Andrew: Yeah, I really personally hope that it just becomes an extension of the community we've already built. We have a community of athletes that are using TriDot and feel like they're part of the community. But whether someone's out there who's just found the podcast and isn't training with us, cool, you're still part of the family, you're still part of this group that's all trying to learn and get better together. So, John, for athletes, since you're just so in tune with them and always communicating with them, for athletes when they first come on with TriDot and they start using the program, what are some of the initial reactions you hear to them using TriDot? John: They really vary because new triathletes come from such a diverse background. We have a lot of athletes that come to TriDot that have never done any type of structured training. Andrew: That was me, for the record. John: So, their experience is different. They're learning what it is to have this structured training, to have a structured session that as I mentioned earlier, the warmup, the main set, the cooldown to have training that is thought out, and considers things like duration, intensity, frequency sequence, and how all these things work together to produce these adaptations that are going to pay off on race day. So, their experience is different from the person that's been doing structured training for maybe decades. But at the end of the day, as Jeff mentioned prior, it's all optimized specifically for each individual. So, no two training plans look alike because no two people look alike. Jeff: No bodies are alike. John: No two bodies. And so the initial reactions are different. But once we get them in the funnel, the sentiment is the same: the athletes perform better they see their performance go up. It's very common for those athletes see a reduction in the amount of time that they're training. And really what provides me with satisfaction is again when their overall enjoyment of triathlon goes up. When they say I set a PR, or even better when they say I see my spouse and kids more often because I'm not spending my entire weekend out on the road. That's hugely fulfilling for me. Andrew: I was talking to a triathlete literally just this week, he went and raced and did his first half Ironman, and he'd been training for it. Brand new triathlete, this is his first year in the sport, all year had been working up to this half Ironman. And I was talking to him about his race and he told me along those lines, he was like, “Yeah, I did the race, I loved it. It was a blast, I'm totally hooked, I'm gonna keep doing tri’s. But after that race, I just had to take four weeks off, like I just had to take some time and just not train, reconnect with my family, get back to other priorities in my life.” And it made me realize, like, I've never felt that way with TriDot. I've never gotten on the backside of race day and felt like there were things in my life I had neglected during my training, that there were things I had to get back to because of my training, that I hadn't seen friends and family because of my training. I hadn't really thought about in those terms, but raising athlete enjoyment of the sport, like you don't get to the backside of race day feeling burnout if you're training appropriately on the front end for the race, right? So, that's absolutely critical to hear. But TriDot’s come a long way from where it started, and I know we're all excited for the future, we’re all excited for where the possibilities are for this community of athletes. Jeff, as the founder, when you look ahead, what is your vision? What are you seeing in the future for TriDot? Jeff: One is just to have an open mind. Same as with the data, a lot of old coach-centric or trial-and-error training from a long time ago, someone would espouse a viewpoint or an approach to training and they were stuck with that, then they wrote a book on it. And so they're kind of stuck in that dogma. Where we've always taken a very agnostic approach, where the data goes, we’ll go. If this is better, then that's what we'll do, and that's what the software will do. And so looking and not knowing what is ahead is kind of a cool thing, but what I do know is that I want for TriDot to become, and it is becoming this for many people, that it is just the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training, both for athletes and for coaches. If you're doing a triathlon. Andrew: What why would you do anything else? Jeff: It doesn't make sense. Andrew: Yeah. Why would you train with something else? Jeff: Correct. If you're traveling across town, I use the driving example, would you ever pull out a Mapsco or just kind of try to figure out how to get from point A to B? Or are you going to pull out your smartphone and put in Google Maps or whatever you're going to use, say here's where I'm at, here's where I need to go, and it maps your route. What more efficient way is there to get from point A to point B than that? And so with our data and technology, I want to be that for everyone. Andrew: A lot of times I can get myself somewhere, but it's not always pretty, and I'm not always happy about the many turns I have to make. Jeff: Yeah. And so that's what we do and then we'll continually adapt and improve. But the ultimate goal is to help people improve their health and their fitness and their enjoyment of sports, to stay in the sport longer, be able to make it work with family, stay injury free, and just get more satisfaction. Whatever satisfaction means, completing more races, going faster at those races, whatever their goal is help them attain that in the most efficient, healthy way possible. Andrew: Now, we're not always going to overtly have TriDot ads on this podcast. Again, we're here for the community. We're here for all the athletes. But I think we would be remiss to talk so much about this program we believe in without telling people the best way to get involved with TriDot training. So, John, for anybody listening right now who's like, “This makes a lot of sense, I really want to give training with TriDot a shot,” what was the best way for them to get involved? John: We're passionate about what we do, that promise of better results and fewer training hours with less injury, we want that for everyone. Anyone that desires to be a triathlete or continue on their triathlon career, we want that for them. So, we want to make TriDot as approachable and viable for everyone. So, the first thing we do is offer a free test drive. So, athletes can go to TriDot.com, sign up for the test drive, and it gets them through the onboarding process, gets them setup and they can actually start their training at no cost at all. So, they can actually see exactly what their TriDot training plan is and actually start training with that training plan. And then from there, we also want it to be approachable from the financial aspect. So, we actually have subscriptions starting in just $9.99 per month. So, we want to remove all those barriers as best we can. Andrew: I mean that's so doable, right? Jeff: And that's fully optimized training. So, your training for a single race is $9.99, less than 10 bucks. Andrew: Training plan: here's what you need to do every single day, yeah. It's reading your data, it's evolving your training calendar according to how you're doing. Yeah, that's incredible and I will say this because I know myself, I'm so hesitant to, you know, you get an email from something that looks really cool and you want to check it out, whether it's triathlon based or not, and you go to somebody's website and they start asking you for information, right? And we're all so hesitant to start punching in our information. If you are interested in trying TriDot and you get on there, you do exactly what John said, you pull up the free test drive, you're going to have to put in your information because the training program, just like Jeff was talking about earlier, it needs to know who you are, it needs to know how old you are. Jeff: We had a lot of people that were coming on, this is a few years back, doesn't happen quite as much anymore. But they were coming on and entering their information, they were just entering stuff like, “What is your 15 miles on the bike?” An hour. And then, “What is your 5K?” An hour. And so they're putting in this kind of stuff and how much you train and they just put in stuff. And then they get to the Season Planner and try to add a race and it says you can't add that race, it’s an Ironman and it's eight weeks away. And they're like, “Why can't I? Andrew: You told us your 5K takes you an hour. Jeff: Yeah. So, they weren't used to actually having software that was actually driven by the training. Andrew: It needs to know those data points. Jeff: Correct. And so when they corrected those things, then it worked. And so they were used to just entering, and those were people that had been using other coaches and other things where they could enter just anything, and it's not going to affect their training. And so that was kind of a funny thing. That's how it really is used as you onboard, just enter the best you can, as close as you can, it's not down to the second or the minute on those times, but just the best effort, the most accurate you got. Great set everyone. Let's cool down. Andrew: No workout is complete without a proper cooldown and today we're going to get things cooled down with an inspiring story straight from one of our TriDot athletes. This is Christie from Garland, Texas and she dropped by to share with us her story of overcoming cancer and getting back to the Ironman race course. Take it away, Christie. Christie: My name is Christie and I am from Garland, Texas. Just like our wonderful sport, my personal story can be told in three parts. So, my first introduction to the sport was about nine years ago. I was in my office and two of my co-workers came in and said, “Hey, we want to do a sprint triathlon and we want you to ride the bike.” I borrowed a bike, and I only remember two things from that race. The first thing was that feeling the first time I went around the first corner just a little bit too fast, and that feeling of exhilaration and, oh my gosh, that was so cool. I want to do that over and over again. And then I also remember thinking after it was over with, I think I can do this all by myself, all three of these things, but I don't know how to swim. So, that was my first step, I had to learn how to swim. I went to masters swim classes at the gym, and finally learned how to get from one end of the pool to the other end without gasping for breath and holding on to the edge for dear life. I signed up for my first sprint triathlon. I was still on my borrowed bike, but I went and bought a bike. I was in the parking lot test driving it. And you know, by this time, I was pretty cool because I even had shoes that I could clip in and out of pedals on the spin bike at the gym. And so I decided I would use them on my first tri in the parking lot at the bike store. And yes, you know what happened? I fell and I fractured my wrist. So, I was in the emergency room, booing like crazy when the nurse said to me, “Oh sweetie, I'm so sorry. The pain medicine is going to start working in a minute.” And I said, “It's not the pain. I'm going to miss my first triathlon competition.” And so yes, I did miss my first race. Three months later, my cast was off and I was back in the game again. So, we all know what the first triathlon does to you, it causes you to get in there and keep going. So, I call the second phase of my triathlon history as my midlife crisis. Yes, I was nearing 50 and I wanted to do an Ironman before I turned 50. Of course, at the time when I thought that, everyone around me thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy. But every day when you just put one foot more in front of the other one, before you know it, you are ready for an Ironman. Over the next three years, I did three Ironmans. Well, I was just about to do my third Ironman in Florida when I knew something was not quite right. I was doing one of those self-exams that all women should be doing and found a lump that wasn't there the month before. So, I told myself, I'm about four weeks away from an Ironman, I am not going to take care of this right now. I will wait and do it afterwards. So, sure enough, three, four weeks after I finished that Ironman, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And that was pretty much what I consider the third phase of my triathlon lifespan. It was a really tough time. I had a lot of pain, not from running anymore because it was hard to run, but pain from chemo, lots of joint issues, lots of different surgeries with reconstructive surgeries. And every time I would start to train again, I would get knocked back down again from some sort of injury again. It's kind of like chemo impacts every part of your body that was ever injured before in your past, but it does it all at one time. So, training was really, really difficult. And at this point in my life, I had pretty much decided and pretty much determined that an Ironman was never going to ever be in my future again. Well, one day I was sitting at my computer and just randomly clicked on a link that took me to Core Sports, and a kit that they had for sale that said, “Not today, cancer.” And I just had one of those moments, all of a sudden sitting there by myself looking at my computer screen. I knew I was going to do another Ironman again. And then with friends and my husband and family encouraging me and TriDot Coach, Elizabeth James, who really kind of got me started back up again and said, “You know, I think I can help you with this. I think I can individualize your program so that you will be able to do this injury free, and pain free.” And it was completely different from any plan that I've ever had in the past, but it worked. Sure enough, two years after being cancer free, I just recently did my fourth Ironman. So, actually my story ends with a new beginning. At this point in my life, I can pretty much do whatever I want to do. I have the fitness level for it, I may do another Ironman, I may not do another Ironman. But regardless, all of you out there who are listening, just know that you really can do whatever you want to do. If you want to be involved in a triathlon or if you want to train, TriDot is a fantastic program that can get you there. I will never ever be able to thank Elizabeth enough for where she has gotten me and where I am today. You know, family friends, my own stubbornness, and Elizabeth with TriDot pretty much are the trifecta that has gotten me here today. So, keep going, keep moving forward one foot in front of the other, and you can do it. Andrew: Jeff as the founder of TriDot when you hear stories like this, how does it make you feel? Jeff: Well, it just never ceases to amaze me. As we've talked about before, I'm so much engrossed in the technology sometimes, and when I hear the human stories and the difference that it makes in people's lives, it just inspires me to continue with a long hours and the investment that we make in the technology, in our community, in our athletes, and coaches just to deliver the highest value possible. Andrew: John, if someone out there is listening, and we already kind of told people how to get involved, but if they haven't given TriDot a try, and they're really thinking about doing it, what would you say to encourage them to do so? John: Well, something I hear very frequently among athletes that are completing their first race or maybe completing their first season training with TriDot is they wish they'd have found it sooner. It's one of those things where they really do see a difference. And all those things that we've talked about, over and over, it's they're performing better, they're training less, they're experiencing less injury, they're enjoying triathlon more. So, something they wish is, like, I wish I could have gone back to my first triathlon season. I wish I could have gone back to my first Ironman. I would have performed better, train less, my spouse would have been happier, it would have been much easier to sign up for the second one because my spouse didn't hate triathlon. So, for me, it's almost like a moral obligation to share this with the triathlon community is for me, it's a passion and desire for me that these athletes would achieve those things that they're able to achieve through TriDot. So, it's one of those things, really, the sooner the better. The sooner you get in, the sooner you can achieve all those things. Andrew: Well, that's it for today. Folks, I want to personally thank TriDot CEO, Jeff Booher, and coach, John Mayfield for taking us on a journey deep into the core of TriDot. Shout out to our friends at TriBike Transport for bringing us today's show. If you are traveling for an upcoming race, let TriBike Transport ensure that your bike gets there race ready and stress free. Head to TriBikeTransport.com and use coupon code, TRIDOT POD to book for your next race. For all my TriDot users out there, I hope you gained a little insight into the heart of the training program you know and love. If you've never used TriDot and you want to give data optimized training a try, head over TriDot.com and start your free test drive today. Enjoying the podcast? Have any triathlon questions or topics you want to hear us talk about? Email us at Podcast@TriDot.com and let us know what you're thinking. As your host I always want to be the voice of the people, and the more I'm hearing from you, the better I can talk about the things you care about. So, again, drop me a line at Podcast@TriDot.com. We'll have a new show coming your way very soon. Until then, happy training. Thanks for joining us. Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot Podcast with your triathlon crew. For more great tri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Ready to optimize your training? Head to TriDot.com and start your free trial today. TriDot, the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.
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