August 15, 2022

Then & Now: Tales of Triathlon’s Evolution

From a small group of athletes in California, to the expansion into a worldwide sport, the popularity of triathlon has grown tremendously. Today’s episode brings together the Greatest Endurance Athlete of All-Time, TriDot Coach Mark Allen, and a behind-the-scenes visionary who has contributed greatly to triathlon’s growth, Scott Zagarino. These two remarkable athletes, having been on the triathlon scene in the earlier stages, offer insight into the evolution of the sport. Hear Mark and Scott discuss the changes in the events, gear, technology, and training philosophies through the decades.

Big thanks to Precision Fuel & Hydration for partnering with us on this episode! Head over to precisionfuelandhydration.com and check out the Fuel Planner to get your free personalized fuel and hydration strategy. Use the code TRI10 to get 10% off your first order.

Get to know the world’s best triathlon training! Join a live demo of TriDot with podcast host Andrew Harley. Visit https://tridot.com/demo-tridot/ for more details. 

And don’t forget to sign up to get updates and early access to the TriDot Mark Allen Edition to be released Fall 2022: https://tridot.com/mark-allen-signup/

Mark Allen: [Singing] We don’t need no education; We don’t need no thought control! Andrew Harley: We’re still recording you, thankfully! Mark: [Singing] No dark sarcasm in the classroom; Teacher leave us kids alone! Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone! All in all we’re just a…nother brick in the wall! All in all we’re just a…nother brick in the wall! Andrew: Is that like your go to karaoke song? Intro: 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: Hey y’all! Welcome to the show! We have a great combo lined up for today. We have two gentlemen joining us today who have been around the sport of triathlon almost from Day One. They’ve seen a lot of things, they’ve raced a lot of races, and we’re going to talk about how triathlon has evolved over the years as a sport. And we’ll get their take on the current state of the multisport industry. Our first guest joining us today is triathlon and TriDot coach Mark Allen. Mark is the most successful triathlete of all time, having won the Ironman Triathlon World Championships six times, the Nice International Triathlon ten times, and the first recognized Olympic-distance triathlon championship. He went undefeated in 21 straight races for an astounding two-year winning streak from late 1988 to 1990. He’s been inducted into the Halls of Fame for Ironman, USA Triathlon, and the International Triathlon Union. ESPN named Mark as the Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time. Mark, welcome back to the TriDot podcast! Mark: Well, you know Andrew, the last time I was on I was Mark Allen the coach, now I am Mark Allen the TRIDOT coach. Andrew: Yes you are! Mark: Which is super-exciting for me. We’ve been working behind the scenes for a little while now to get to know each other, and for me to be able to see how amazing TriDot is and just go, “Oh my god, this is something that I want to be a part of. This is where I want to park my coaching for the rest of my life.” So it’s super exciting that we can actually announce it and say, “Hey, I’m a TriDot coach, and here we go!” Ready to go! Andrew: Also joining us today is Scott Zagarino. Scott is the CEO of Mark Allen Sports and wow, what a sports life he has led! He grew up in Miami, Florida sailing Olympic-class sailboats and moved on to ocean racing sailboats when he moved to California. He also qualified for the USA Junior Olympic Trials in wrestling. Along the way, he moved into the sport of triathlon, where he qualified for the Age Group World Championship Team. He has a 10:19 Ironman on his tri résumé. Scott was elected Vice President of the Board of Directors of the United States Triathlon Federation, and was elected by the top triathletes in the world to form a group to represent the interests of professional triathletes worldwide. Scott, welcome to the show! Scott Zagarino: Wow. My résumé pales in comparison to our other guest though. Andrew: Not true! Scott: Thanks Andrew! It’s great to be here! Andrew: I'm Andrew the Average Triathlete, Voice of the People and Captain of the Middle of the Pack. As always we'll roll through our warmup question, settle in for our main set conversation, and then wind things down with our cooldown. I’m a company man, so a quick, shameless TriDot plug: We know that we have a lot of listeners who train with TriDot, and we have a lot of listeners who do not train with TriDot. All good, totally cool, the more the merrier. We really do try to make sure our podcast content is helpful no matter what you use to train. With that said, if you are not a TriDot user, but maybe you’ve thought about checking out our training platform, I will now be hosting occasional live TriDot demos where I’ll be showing folks around the platform and giving you a peek at what the training looks like. When I was signing up for the Pre Season Project back in late 2018, that was my primary curiosity: What is this thing called TriDot and what does it even look like? My first live demo will be on Wednesday, August 24, 8:00 p.m. Central Time. So head to tridot.com/demo-tridot to get more information and to register. Warm up theme: Time to warm up! Let’s get moving. Andrew: Athletes with big time accomplishments or big time personalities often take on a nickname at some point in their career. Across all of sports and all of sports history, there have been some good frickin’ nicknames over the years. Sometimes they are pretty on the nose like hockey’s Wayne Gretzky just being called, “The Great One”. Sometimes they are name-based, like baseball legend Alex Rodriguez being known as “A-Rod”. Sometimes they are just plain fun, like football’s William “The Refrigerator” Perry. And sometimes they are based on accomplishment, like this guy Mark Allen being known as “The Grip”. Scott, Mark, from the wide world of sports, what pro athlete do you think has the greatest nickname of all time? Scott: Well you know, Andrew, I’m pretty disposed to “The Grip”, because I think that’s one of the great nicknames in sports. Sticking with triathlon, my favorite nickname goes back a ways. In reaching back, Scott Molina’s nickname was “Skid”, and the legend has it that after multiple crashes on the Wednesday rides, due to the fact that triathletes didn’t ride real well back then, his nickname from Scott Tinley was “Skid”, and he has forevermore been Skid. Andrew: So Mark, from the wide world of sports, who do you think has the best nickname of all time? Mark: Well, I think the greatest nickname of all time comes from the greatest himself, Muhammed Ali. He said, “I Am The Greatest!” and he followed up with that. Some people thought it was boastful, but he was honest. He was the greatest. Probably the only guy who actually gave himself the nickname of who he is, but one that I just think is amazing. I actually got to meet Muhammed at a Super Bowl a number of years ago, and his Parkinson’s had developed to the point where he couldn’t really speak, but I was introduced to him, and you could see he started to try to grip his hands a little bit like he would. He would put them up, and – Andrew: He still had that spirit in him. Mark: Yeah, he started to move his hands just a little bit, and he did this little thing where his head rocked a little bit, and he kind of squinted and gave this little shake of the head, and it was just this sweet moment. He’s still in there. Andrew: That’s so cool. Mark: He just can’t communicate, but super cool guy. Andrew: One of the few people who can give himself the nickname The Greatest, and not have it be bragging or braggadocious, just having it be accurate in this case, right? Mark: Yeah, the Greatest of All Time, Muhammed Ali. Andrew: Mark, I do have to say, there’s a little bit of humility in here, because your nickname “The Grip” is a super cool one in sports lore. You could have gone with that and no one would have blamed you. Instead, you went with Muhammed Ali. But for any of our listeners who aren’t aware of the backstory, how did you get called “The Grip”? Mark: There was one year early in my career where I’d made a huge jump in my cycling ability, and there was a group ride in San Diego that we would do every Wednesday. There was usually somewhere between 50 and 100 people, and it just got pretty big and sometimes unruly. Anyway, the first miles of it, everybody was just kind of going slow – Andrew: Getting warmed up… Mark: – BS’ing, finishing their donuts or bagel or whatever they had, their banana. And literally, like a few minutes into it, I’m like, “I’m ready to go.” This was back before aerobars, this was when you actually had cycling handlebars, so when you really started to go hard, you’d get down on the drops. So right away on this one ride, a couple minutes into it I’m like, “I’m done, I’m ready to get the work going.” I got down in the drops, and this guy Murphy Reinschreiber goes, “Uh oh, he’s got the grip, hold on! The Grip of Death, here we go!” And he kept calling me “The Grip” the whole ride, and it just stuck. Now there’s people that only call me “Grip”. They go, “Hey Grip, how’s it going?” and now actually the people who still call me that, it’s almost like a term of endearment. Obviously in the sport I did some stuff that was pretty cool, but “The Grip” to them is more like an affirmation of them knowing my life and knowing that there was stuff personally that I’ve had to overcome throughout the years, just like everybody else. That I’ve always hung in there and never given up, and somehow been able to come out the other side through persistence and hard work, and oftentimes surrender and going through periods where things were not ideal for me. So “The Grip” has I guess a deeper meaning than just some guy that can go hard in a bike workout with people. Andrew: I definitely love, Mark, the deeper meaning there behind you being called “The Grip”. I’m going to give a quick shout-out to Daniela Ryf. Her nickname is “Angry Bird”. That’s probably my favorite one in the pro tri field. If I’m going the wide world of sports, my favorite one, it’s so fun, David Ortiz from the Boston Red Sox being called “Big Poppy”. It fits his personality, it fit how much he meant to that organization over the years playing for them. So “Big Poppy” David Ortiz is my answer here. Guys, we’re going to throw this question out to you, our audience, as we always do. Make sure you’re a part of the I AM TriDot Facebook group. Every single Monday when a new show comes out, we put this question out to y’all our audience. The question today: From the whole wide world of sports, what athlete do you think has the best nickname? I can’t wait to see what you have to say. Main set theme: On to the main set. Going in 3…2…1… Andrew: We’ve spoken to sports scientist Andy Blow during several episodes of the podcast to help you nail your hydration and fueling strategy for training and racing. The big takeaway from those episodes is that there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to race nutrition. And that’s why Andy and the team at Precision Fuel and Hydration have developed the Fuel Planner. Head over to Precision Fuel and Hydration to take the Fuel Planner and get your free personalized fuel and hydration strategy. The plan provides guidelines for how much carbohydrate, sodium, and fluid you should be aiming to consume so that you know your numbers for your next race. You can then hit those numbers by using the Precision Fuel and Hydration product range, which is designed to make it easier for you to keep track of your intake during your training and racing, as the carb and sodium content per serving is smack bang right there on the front of the packaging. As a TriDot listener, you can use the code TRI10 to get 10% off your first order of PF&H electrolytes and fueling products. That’s a brand new code for us, so I’ll say it again. It is TRI10 for 10% off your first order. The multisport industry we know today is a very updated version of the grassroots sport early triathletes started racing decades ago. Some things are still very much the same. For example, we still swim, bike, and run in that order. But the sport has very clearly evolved in many ways. And here to reflect on what they’ve seen, where we’ve come, and where we’re going is Mark Allen and Scott Zagarino. Scott, our audience got to know Mark a little bit on Podcast Episode .144, so I want to start today getting to know you a little bit. I mentioned in your intro your personal athletic evolution from sailor to wrestler to triathlete. Where did you first catch wind of this new sport triathlon, and what was your first race? Scott: Before I answer that, Andrew, I want to go back to your introduction, because you know there are milestones when you reach a certain station in life. One of them is when you go to get your mail and your AARP card shows up. You think, “I can’t be that old!” Another one is when people start referring to the beginning of triathlon and you think it was ten years ago, and you realize that it was ancient, ancient history. It made me think about my first triathlon. I can tell you how I got there, but I feel a little creaky when I hear the introduction. So I was racing sailboats at the time, but I was exercising for fitness. I had a friend who got a bike, and I went to his house one day and he had probably the first or second issue of Triathlete Magazine. And I looked at the magazine and thought, “Well, I could do that if someone told me where it is.” And I was one of the few people, I have to say, who wasn’t influenced by Julie Moss. Had I seen that before I saw the magazine, I might’ve thought twice. Andrew: Sure. Scott: Who knows how history would have evolved after that. So I asked a friend to borrow his bike, went out and rode it wearing cut-off sweatpants, his cleats which were two sizes too big but had leather straps, and I don’t even think we had helmets back then. And I thought, “I can do this.” So I used to sneak between these two condominiums in Santa Monica that had a 20 yard pool, and just swim back and forth for as long as I thought it would take to complete a triathlon, and I rode the bike a little bit, and ran a little bit, then I looked for a race. At that time, I think there were only three or four races in California. There might have been more, but that was all I could find. There was one at the beginning in Bonelli Park, to this lake in the middle of nowhere. I entered, and I went, and I don’t have any of the pictures but I can tell you that I was wearing Ray Ban sunglasses and tube socks and leather shoes, and it was horrendous. But I met some really fun people, and I think there were two or three hundred people in the race, and it was so much fun. The worst thing that can happen to a beginner triathlete happened to me. I think I finished 15th, and I thought, “Wow, I can do this!” which is the beginning of the end. It’s better to finish towards the back, when you go, “That was fun. I’m going back to racing sailboats!” Andrew: Yeah, you gotta’ have room to improve, Scott! Scott: Well, it was not a good thing. I can’t imagine being Mark. Mark has to send a card to his mom every once in a while just thanking her for the genes. I unfortunately didn’t have those. Andrew: Yeah, as Andrew the Average Triathlete, I certainly don’t have those either. I think a lot of pros these days owe their parents those same thank-you cards. Scott, you’ve been behind the scenes for a lot of that. You’ve been behind the scenes helping Mark in coaching other athletes. How did you make that transition from being an active triathlete who is racing in your younger days to being behind the scenes as an industry influencer? Scott: That is an interesting choice, and it has a lot to do with, looking back, how I’ve been sort of thrust into this role that I’m very comfortable in, and that’s the philanthropic role. I can tell you, there was a really pivotal event for me. When I was racing, I was really sort of overcome constantly with gratitude. It wasn’t because I was with the faster people or that I was athletically gifted, but I would find myself one day especially way up in a canyon watching the sun come up over the Pacific, and I was just struck by how lucky I am. I had two legs that would power me up a hill to get to that spot on a bicycle. To some extent it was my calling. And there crept in this little seed of, “I’m not this fortunate because of my sparkling personality. It’s not because I’m such a wonderful, exemplary person that I deserve these gifts. It’s because there’s something I’m supposed to be doing with them. Clearly it’s not doing what Mark was doing, but I really wanted to give something back. And I found myself standing in Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. To this day I don’t know how I got there. It was sort of I got in my car, I drove there, and said, “I want to volunteer.” There was a lot of red tape at that point, so I was sort of wandering around the halls, and I came to a place in the children’s ward near the oncology ward, and it was all hazard-taped-off. I went and looked in the window, and no one was watching me and I hadn’t really done anything yet, and I looked and there were these kids. They were playing board games and watching TV, and some were sicker than others, but clearly they were all pretty sick. I went in and I just started talking to them, figuring that somebody would show up. Somebody comes racing in not too long after and herds me out, and tells me that they haven’t labeled the ward yet, but it’s kids who have a life-threatening illness. They were not quite sure what it was, and they’re not quite sure how they caught it, they think it was something to do with blood supply. At the time, that was the pediatric AIDS ward. So I kind of went, “Look, here’s what I can give back.” If I go to a race, and it doesn’t matter to some minor sponsor or somebody who needs me to be there, what if I entered in one of these kids’ names. And if I did well or got a trophy or my name was mentioned in the paper –these were little races, not where anybody good was showing up – maybe that would be something. So I went to a race, and there was a kid, Jimmy Nolton. And let me know if I’m rambling on, because this is the story. Andrew: No please, keep sharing. Scott: His name was Jimmy Nolton, and he had what they were just beginning to understand was AIDS, and he’d gotten it from the blood supply. So I went to this race and I finished third, and I got a trophy, but I’d filled out the entry with his name. I’m sorry, I haven’t told this story in a while. I got a trophy, and the next day in the paper they published the results. This was somewhere in Nevada. So I went back to the hospital, and I felt like I’d done this amazing thing. I had a trophy, I had an article from the paper, I had a T shirt, I had all that stuff and I was going to give it to him and say, “Look what we did together!” No one knew what I was doing at the time, no one knew much about it. I went back, and his mom was there, and they were excited way past anything I could have projected. I was just doing it because I thought I should do something, and in my creative brain that’s what occurred to me. I felt great, they felt great, I wanted to do it again. This is the short edition. The head of Children’s Hospital, the head of pediatric oncology at the time was Dr. Stuart Siegel, and he went on to head the hospital. He took me by the arm and walked me out that day and said, “Look, I appreciate what you’re doing. We’re going to look the other way, because nobody’s supposed to be working with these kids. I want to tell you that we had a guy come here with all of the oncology background that you could possibly have. He’d been a surgeon at Boston General, he graduated from a top med school.” He said, “He was here six weeks, and these kids died. He revved up his new car in the parking garage and ran into a wall about eight weeks ago. So before you start this, I want you to know that this is a good place to get off. Everybody’s happy, they’ve got the glow. We’re going to let you do this because nobody else is doing it, but I want you to know what the consequences could be.” And I’m an idiot. It just didn’t sink in. Sure enough, the next time I tried it, I went back and the bed was empty. That kind of rocked me, and I started with 20 kids. So this is where the answer to the question how it segued into business. There had never been a non vertical factory team. By that I mean in triathlon there weren’t many companies who did anything but make tires and frames and wrenches and things like that. And maybe I was naïve, but I cooked up a proposal and said, “Look. This is a cause-related sponsorship. What I want to do is take some of the top pros and put them in my shoes. Get them to visit the hospitals with me, get them to take this whole thing up a notch for these kids, and in the meantime we’ll make people aware of what’s happening with pediatric AIDS.” So I circulated a proposal, and I followed up. And this was long before you could do this all on the internet. This was done with a typewriter and Kinko’s. About the third week after I was sending out the last of my hundred proposals, I got a call from Pioneer Electronics. They were in Long Beach, and they had me in, and I made my presentation. At that time there weren’t any cause-related sponsorships. There just wasn’t anything like it. They sort of married the idea of triathletes and doing some social good, and somehow we cooked up a deal, and the next year we had the Pioneer Electronics Triathlon Team with eight of the top triathletes in the world. We were hugely successful, both in racing and it was really the first factory team in triathlon, and that’s how I found I was really good at seeing the sport from a perspective that companies that weren’t involved in the sport could buy into. Finding the angle rather than – and I don’t mean to disparage anyone – the idea that triathletes are rich. It’s a brilliant demographic, and you should buy in because they might buy some small portion of the products that you sell. But everything that I have done since then in sports has been cause-related. In fact, for about five years I created all the sports fundraising for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Andrew: Very cool. Scott: Yeah, that’s the answer. I have never been able to motivate myself if it wasn’t doing some good for somebody else. Andrew: Scott, a few episodes ago with Mark we got to hear how excited he is to work with his athletes through TriDot and to train his athletes through TriDot. Scott, I know you’ve seen over the years just a bunch of different ways to do triathlon training. What was your impression of TriDot when you and Mark first discovered it? Scott: I’m an inveterate reader. I just read everything, and I saw a blurb somewhere about the TriDot model, and I started chasing down the thread. And the more deeply I got in the thread, I started talking to Mark about it. At the beginning it was difficult because I had no background in the TriDot world to describe it to him, and I found just in figuring it out and being able to describe it to him, without really delving deep in the company at that time, I was getting more and more interested. I was thinking there’s been this evolution in coaching, in moving from written calendars to spreadsheets to plans and programs, and I’ve thought there’s a ceiling on this. There are a couple of ceilings. One is it’s difficult for anyone to one on-one coach enough people to make it sustainable. And two, it’s difficult to coach a swimmer, it’s difficult enough to coach an Olympic-class runner, but even more difficult when you start trying to meld the three sports together. And you don’t really have a feeder system so every one of these people that you’re coaching is also maintaining a personal life. I was working a part-time job when I was in triathlon, and you have to balance all of this. So there’s that whole set of inputs that have nothing to do with racing, but have everything to do with it in terms of how well can you recover, how much time can you put into travel, etc. All of those things that every triathlete has to consider. And I could see maybe maxing out on a very small number of people in a coach’s brain, or even in a semi-automated system. There is only so much you can do before you are maxed on your ability to take all that data in and then spit out programs that were infinitely adjustable, and not just “do this every day and hope you don’t break”. So when I got to TriDot, right at the onset I said, “This is it. This is what happens next.” That was actually the bulb going in my head. I wasn’t sure there was something next. I was just thinking this whole system has now reached its limits. And there it was. It was the next thing. The algorithmic intelligence and the ability to process all of these inputs and then update them in almost real-time, then push out data based on what the inputs are feeding it, and then the coach’s input on top of that. So it’s not just an AI system that’s spitting out data based on the past, it’s actually somebody like Mark reaching into it and saying, “And we need to make these adjustments.” Mark has fed in those adjustments, and the system learns from Mark. The long and short of it was, the more deep that I got into it, after I started talking to Jeff [Booher], and when I was able to brief Mark on what I had found, we both arrived at the same thing. This is what’s next, and everybody’s going to be here, so we should be out in front of this. Andrew: I want to go back to a littler earlier in the show when we were talking about nicknames. I feel like this is very important to bring up, because at Mark Allen Sports, the two of you have a nickname, and it is “Beauty and the Beast”. That is what you refer to yourselves as. So I’m just curious, two things: one, how did you guys come together to form Mark Allen Sports and start doing business together, and beyond that, who’s the beauty and who’s the beast? Mark: Well, I’ll leave that part to Scott, but I’ll share the story on how we came together. Let me back way up. I have known Scott since the 80’s when we were in the very beginnings of the sport, and seeing him working in various aspects of the sport, such as working for the International Triathlon Union, working at the first World Championships to ensure there was equal prize money for men and women. They were going to pull the women’s prize purse right at the eleventh hour, and Scott got all the athletes together and said, “You guys need to go to Congress, bust in there, and tell them you’re not racing unless the prize money is equal.” That set the standard for our sport, and so many aspects of the sport like that. And when he started Pioneer Racing, that was groundbreaking. So anyway, six or seven years ago Scott called me up kind of out of the blue. We would communicate once in a while over the years, but nothing really formal, and he goes, “How’s your coaching doing? How are you doing?” I go, “I’m doing great!” And he goes, “I don’t think you are.” Andrew: Gee, thanks! Mark: I’m like, “Dude, come on, I’m doing great.” He’s like, “I don’t think you are.” Andrew: It sounds kind of like he’s the Beast. Mark: Yeah, a little bit. Scott: Oh yeah, we’re coming to that! Mark: Yeah, we’re coming to that. We’re getting there. And he goes, “Let me just tell you why I’m feeling that.” He said, “I was just searching on the internet, typing your name in and seeing where you came up and what’s going on.” And he goes, “It’s like you’ve disappeared off the face of the earth.” I didn’t come up in any search engines, you had to go down four or five pages before you even found Mark Allen Coaching or what I was doing. Andrew: Not even a Wikipedia mark? Mark: Not even the faintest story of me. And he goes, “So much time has passed since you raced that probably there’s a lot of people now that may have heard your name in 1989, but they don’t know a whole lot about you.” So he was, “I’d love to just help you out.” So I was his next charity case. He’s like, “This dude needs some rehabilitation. He’s on his last breath unless I do something right now, there’s no way he’s going to be able to revive his presence and legacy in the sport.” So Scott really spent about four or five years just slowly redeveloping awareness of me. What I did, how I did it, the stories of not just 1989, but my entire career. He came up with 1 6 21 Infinity. He sends me these numbers, “1 6 21 Infinity”, and he goes, “What are these?” and I go, “I don’t know, maybe it’s code for the end of the earth or something.” And he goes, “This is your résumé.” It took a lot of work, a lot of painful phone calls, like Scott going, “You’re not holding up your end here, you’re not telling enough of the stories. Give me five more.” I’m like, “Oh dang, okay.” Andrew: The Beast. Mark: Yeah, cracking the whip and getting me moving. Which I am eternally grateful for, because I had gotten lazy. I had just gone, “Oh well, I guess this is it. I’ll just coach some athletes and let the next one come along.” No, Scott was not willing to let that happen, because he goes, “Legacy in sports should be remembered, and there’s experience that can be gained from anybody who’s been around something for a long time that should be shared. It’s time for you to really start sharing this stuff with other people, and putting yourself out there, and not being afraid to speak your mind. Maybe what you’re thinking and feeling based on many years of experience is not going to be the most popular thing. But people need to hear that, and they need to trust the person who’s saying these things about where the sport is, or where it might be going, or how it could be improved.” So it’s been a great journey, and I don’t think there’s anybody else on the planet who knew me well enough to be able to bring it through this whole evolution to end up as we are here today, talking as a TriDot coach. Andrew: Sure, yes. Scott, I’m wondering if we can even rebrand this final chapter that Mark is beginning to write, coaching with TriDot, as “Infinity and Beyond”. So you have the “1 6 21 Infinity and Beyond”, and the “Beyond” portion would be all the athletes that begin training with Mark on TriDot, and become the part of your legacy that continues on for years and years and years as they train on the Mark Allen edition of TriDot. What do you think about that, Scott, adding a little Buzz Lightyear “Infinity and Beyond” to the end of that equation? Scott: My first thought is we’re going to have a trademark issue. Andrew: So guys, we hear about the early days of triathlon, and we hear how it started as a small sport in California. We hear the stories of the first Ironman races in Hawaii. We hear how the ABC Wide World of Sports coverage helped the sport gain attention and get more athletes participating. Being on the scene in those earlier stages, did you have any inkling that this sport could explode worldwide, or did it feel like tri would always be this wacky little niche? What was the sense back then? Mark: For me, I was involved with a number of pretty big companies who sponsored me, like Nike and Oakley. And even though the number of people participating in the sport was not huge – it wasn’t in every country on every continent like it is now – there was a magic about it. It really felt like it had a mystique that transcended the size of the number of people who participated in it. It’s interesting, because a lot of the advertising that Nike did back in the 80’s was utilizing me as a triathlete with their products. And it wasn’t just saying, “Use these shoes, you’re going to run fast.” They went very creative. They had George Lucas create an ad campaign with video. Andrew: Oh wow, that’s so cool. Mark: They had Ridley Scott, who was the director of Blade Runner and a million movies. He did this whole futuristic video ad campaign for some of the products, and they used me in this. Their most popular Super Bowl ad of all time, it’s called the Heritage, was a minute and a half Super Bowl ad, and it was projecting all of these images of Nike’s stars – like André Agassi and Michael Jordan, you name it at that time – on the buildings in downtown Los Angeles at night with this gigantic camera that looked like a cannon, projecting on the buildings, and then me running through the streets. I was the thread that ran through the streets of LA in the nighttime. It was seven nights of filming this. Anyway, so there was this real creative, mystical, magical, “This is the pinnacle of what human beings can dream to do. Maybe someday, some of you, you can attain it if you try.” It had this attraction that had nothing to do with numbers, but about the image of it. Now, sometimes it’s almost like, “Oh yeah, I did three Ironmans this year, and I’m going to do four 70.3’s, and maybe after that I’ll go write a novel or something.” It’s sort of like it’s become a little bit more normalized in that sense. I mean, it still has a mystique. It still has, “I did an Ironman.” That has a ring to it. Andrew: It’s still a huge accomplishment, for the individual accomplishing it. Mark: It’s a huge accomplishment. Yeah, absolutely. So it was a very different kind of feel, I guess you’d say. Andrew: Okay. Scott, do you agree with that, do you have any further perspective there? Scott: I did, but for entirely different reasons. It seems that the powers that be keep coming to the conclusion that it’s the athletic part of triathlon that’s going to put it over the top and sell it. To some extent that worked with the Olympic games, but that’s a brand that also encompasses modern pentathlon. So they really define athleticism in a different paradigm than the rest of the sports world does. But for me – and this goes back to the beginning for me – this sport impacts people. It hits them in the heart. It doesn’t necessarily make them want to go out and buy run shoes. It’s not like other sports. It’s not like tennis that happens on a court. It’s not like golf that happens in that environment, where the rules are there and the grass is pretty and it’s always relatively the same. It hits them in the heart. This is the “Beast” part. If you go back to the beginning, more people were influenced by Julie Moss’s heart than had ever been influenced by Mark Allen’s speed. I give Mark the same props, that if you look at these turning points in the history of this sport – and all respect to Dave Scott – it was Mark’s heart in 1989 that made this sport turn, the same that Julie Moss’s heart made it turn in 1982. But we keep going back to the well of, “It’s the performance, it’s the performance.” And we ignore the age-group athletes. For them, the stories I see to this day on Monday morning after their first 70.3 or their tenth Ironman, is heart, heart, heart. Andrew: Oh my gosh, absolutely. Scott: And we can discuss this later, I hope we can discuss this later. But the thing about this sport is that it takes everybody involved, whether it’s their first sprint or their 20th Ironman, out over this line where there’s nothing left but you. Your spirit, your heart, everybody from Jan Frodeno to the last place finisher has to examine themselves in triathlon. That’s the ticket. You can’t get go without a ticket, and that’s the ticket. You have to meet yourself somewhere, where everything in your being is saying, “Give up. Quit.” Whether it’s going to the pool at 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning or it’s finishing a race when you’re walking. Everybody in this sport has to pay admission. And I don’t think that that has ever translated into the image of this sport. Andrew: I’ve said many times on the podcast, Scott, that I think that the heartbeat of triathlon is the average age-groupers that are out there in the middle of the pack. The pros obviously get the headlines, social media posts from Ironman and all that, but the heartbeat is the mid packers and the back-of-the-packers out there. That’s why you’re out there, is for that heart. Mark, I know you actually prefer to coach mid-pack and amateur athletes and not pros, for that reason. I never get tired of going to the races and seeing our athletes on course fly by, giving high fives, getting pictures of them as they go toward the finish line. I never get tired of logging onto Facebook on Monday morning and – just what you said Scott – seeing everybody’s posts, whether it was their local sprint, maybe it was a PR, whatever they accomplished that weekend. Or maybe it was their first Ironman that they finally finished, in their post. I never get tired of reading those race reports. Honestly, there’s only so many different variations of a race report. There’s only so many different things that can happen to you out there. But I still never get tired of reading them, because even though you might be the 100th person to have that type of race day, to you it’s the first time you went through that, and it was no less real to you just because someone else has gone through it before. So I always enjoy reading them. Mark, what is it about age group athletes for you that make them your favorite people to coach to the finish line? Scott: Mark, before you go, can I just jump in? I feel like I’ve got to put an end to that thought or I’ll lose it. I need to add one thing to it. I don’t care – and I think Mark would agree with this – if you’re running sub-5:00 pace at the end of an Olympic distance, or you’re running sub 15:00 pace. Both of those people are experiencing the exact same emotions and feelings, sprinting at a world cup race. They’re down there. There is nothing in the tank, there is nothing in the brain, there’s voices screaming at you, and that person that’s been out there forever is experiencing the exact same thing, and I think that’s the heart of this sport. Everybody relates to everybody, because it’s like everything else. Once you’ve done something really hard and finished it, you’re a different person. Mark: Position yourself at the finish line of an Ironman, let’s say – or at THE Ironman, it doesn’t matter – and you watch people come across the line. Maybe one every seventh or eighth or tenth pro will be really psyched, but nine out of ten age groupers when they cross that line are psyched. It’s seeing people who probably in the beginning may have considered themselves kind of ordinary in terms of athletics or their capabilities, to do something as extraordinary as that. But they cross that line and they feel like they did something truly extraordinary, which they did, and they wear that emotion on the outside,. It’s just so fulfilling to see so many people with that smile on their face, like, “I did it. I made it.” And age groupers have that a lot more, I think, than pros. Some of the most amazing moments that I’ve experienced and witnessed in triathlon are those last finishers, the final ones who have had those conversations with themselves for close to 15, 16, 17 hours. That’s a long time. That’s a much longer time. I always say what I did in some ways was easy. I only had to be out there eight hours and change. I didn’t have to be out there alone at night in the dark, trying to find my way from aid station to aid station. I didn’t have as many moments where I had to talk myself down off the ledge to keep going. But those moments when people do that, it does something that fundamentally changes their experience of themselves. It gives them a sense of something deeper that they never would have been able to experience had they just sat on the couch, had they done something that was safe, or had they done something that was more guaranteed. You start a triathlon, maybe a sprint race thinking, “Okay, I’m pretty guaranteed, I think I can finish it.” But it’s still tough, and an Olympic is a little bit more of that, and a 70.3 is a little bit more of that. Then an Ironman of course is even more of that. The age group athletes, they’re in many ways ordinary people doing extraordinary things. That is extraordinary. A top pro who has all day long to train, and who has this genetic toolbox that’s top notch, they don’t have much weakness going on there. That’s cool to see. But like Scott said, you can see somebody running a 5:00 pace, that’s no more inspiring than seeing somebody who’s walking and jogging and walking and jogging and really focused on getting to that finish line. It’s 100 meters away, then it’s 50 meters, then it’s 25 meters, and it’s dark, and they’ve been out there for hours, and all of a sudden the sort of blank look on their face, they light up because they see a family member or friend who’s waiting for them at the finish line, and that bond of both of them knowing what that person went through to make that day take place, and to complete it, and to cross that finish line, that’s the magic that triathlon still has. Andrew: We’re kind of wiggling from the evolution of triathlon to the deeper meaning of triathlon, so to wiggle back to its evolution: Scott, kind of what you alluded to, you’ve played a huge role in marketing the sport of tri over the years, and getting brands to recognize the value of the sport. You mentioned earlier you founded the first non endemic sponsorship in triathlon with Pioneer Electronics Team. You’ve brought more than $9 million into the sport in sponsorship over the years, Gatorade being a huge player there early on. What role has business enterprise played in the evolution of triathlon as a sport? Scott: There’s always going to be room for innovation in this sport. I think the one tool that I’m really blessed with is I can assume the perspective of the benefit that it would have to a brand or to a company, to see where that intersection of heart is, and convince people that that’s the nature of this sport. It’s not the number of people who participate. It’s not the number of people who can buy BMWs. It’s not any of those things that are in traditional sponsorships. It’s being able to translate something that will mesh with their brand values in a way that transcends sport. I think it’s really an important thing that I don’t think that, and this is the “Beast” part. I don’t think a lot of people from the marketing standpoint have really embraced that this sport has everything absolutely backwards, and has always had everything absolutely backwards. When you talk about golf, tennis, any other sport, they have a weeding out process as you progress. Like when I was wrestling. You reach a certain point that’s as far as you’re going to go, and then you become a spectator, or an enthusiastic amateur that bats a ball around somewhere. This sport allows you to enter when you’re 45, 50, 55 years old, and have the exact same experience that elite athletes have. It’s the same course. The goal is to complete it as fast as you can. For a few people, that’s as fast as anybody can, but for everybody else, it’s as fast as you can. Look out at the world of sport, is there any other sport where you can do that? They don’t let you step on the court at Wimbledon just because you love tennis. Andrew: Unfortunately. Scott: They don’t let you in a Formula One racecar. No, this is the sport where a 30 something, or a sick person, or a person who’s overcoming something physically, or a person who’s got some kind of challenge, can step in, toe it up on the same course, and the value structure is the exact same. Because you go, “Okay, we’ve all got some speed, we’ve all got some ability to propel ourselves forward. That’s great, you’re all moving forward. Now it really hurts.” Well, everybody ran up against the same wall. Now it really hurts, and you really want to quit. But to finish a triathlon, you don’t quit. That’s the value. When I first brought a cause-related program to Pioneer, they were sort of confused about how does this pediatric AIDS thing fit in with it. I said, “Heart, man. It’s heart.” These kids got heart, they’re in there battling every day just to be alive another day, and nobody even knows what they have. And the world’s sort of against them.” Show me a triathlete that doesn’t embrace those values. Andrew: Very, very true. Something else I wanted to ask both you guys about, because you’re both a huge part of bringing triathlon to the Olympic games, which is not always an easy task, to get a growing sport into the favor of the IOC. Scott, Mark, what did the IOC first think of tri when you were pitching it for Olympic inclusion? Scott: For me, the first thing that always has to be spoken at the top of every sentence is “Les McDonald”. No Les McDonald, no Olympics. The way into the Olympics – this this is all Les McDonald, the way he thought – was there are some sports that are very expensive and not too popular. The IOC is looking for a way to pare down sports and to bring in more popular sports, and they didn’t want to include a new sport that didn’t have its own national organizing, that didn’t have the 15 years of work it took to meet the Olympic parameters worldwide. So Les went to the heads of the Modern Pentathlon Association and said, “You guys are one of those not too-popular, very expensive sports. We’d like to come in under your aegis.” That’s how he got us introduced to the IOC. But the very first meeting we were in that was an IOC meeting – with everybody with the headphones, and multiple translations that looked like the United Nations – the head of the Modern Pentathlon Association, who was Russian at the time, took the dais and said, “We’re proud to be associated with this new emerging sport, triathlon. We’ve just made a few adjustments in the format, and then we’re really looking forward to moving forward with it. Here’s the adjustment: swim day one, bike day two, run day three.” Andrew: Well that’s a little odd! Mark: I thought that’s how they must have done it in the beginning, from when I was watching Ironman that first year. Scott: Exactly! And I have to share this anecdote. Where the World [Triathlon Championship] came together, it was in France, it was in this historical city, it was beautiful. The IOC gathered there to watch us put on our race. That was our coming-out party. We had been working for years and years, and flying, sleeping four people to a room in a tiny hotel to get it there, with that original cast. Then Mark won the race, and the IOC was there. We were almost there, all we had to do was the awards ceremony. It’s in this beautiful stone amphitheater, and the sun is going down, and Mark gets up and does his acceptance speech in French. At first the place was silent, and then it just – it’s one of the most magical moments I’ve ever seen – the IOC guys from Korea, from Japan, from Germany, from South America were on their feet. The French went crazy. The media went crazy. Andrew: Way to go, Mark! Scott: It was one of the most magical moments I’ve ever seen. The sun was going down, he’s accepting the first World Championship trophy in French, and I am just bawling like a little girl. Nothing against little girls! Andrew: Of course! Mark: I felt so honored to be able to participate in the event that became the first true cornerstone to get it into the Olympics, which took place in Sydney in 2000. There was only going to be one first-ever ITU Olympic-distance world championship, and to win it in France where I also had such a great history of racing – Andrew: They loved racing, yeah. Mark: – was so amazing. Then to have the three men – it was myself, Glen Cook, and Rick Wells, so it was myself, an athlete from the UK, and an athlete from New Zealand, three different countries – nobody dominated. Three different men that I had raced against many times over the years, respected both of them, along with the other 150 guys that were in that race. Then as Scott said, the setting was in the Palais des Papes, which was like the Pope’s palace amphitheater, and you could just feel this sort of ancient human history that had taken place in that area. The Pope lived there for a while, and was he the real Pope, and all this whole story in history. Then I go, “I can’t do this English, because I’m in France, and I need to honor this place where this race took place.” So I gave it in French, and that was pretty cool. Andrew: It sounds very, very cool. So now the sport has gone beyond being recognized as an Olympic sport. Triathlon is beginning to grow now in other ways. There of course are Ironman events all over the world. There are local races all over the world. Every single weekend there’s brands that are starting to emerge and put on world-class races like Challenge Family, Clash, Super League Tri is bringing short-course racing to our televisions and our livestreams. PTO is trying to advance the experience for the pro field beyond just the top household names, we mentioned them already. There’s a lot of great stuff happening for the sport right now. From all of it, what gets you guys the most excited when you survey the tri scene as it is right now? Mark: For me, the thing that excites me is seeing that there are new opportunities going on out there, where people are trying different evolutions and renditions of what a triathlon race can be. A lot of that obviously is taking place on the pro end, like with the PTO races and with Super League. But I think ultimately it still goes back to the age group athletes. It’s a synergy. When there’s heroes in a sport, it draws people to it. They want to be able to taste and feel and experience some of that same magic that they see in the top people that they’re rooting for. The other side of that is – Scott alluded to this earlier – one of the things that has gotten a little bit backwards is that people are trying to promote the sport as a thing where these great athletes are going really fast and doing these amazing things and overcoming pain and they’re just so fast and amazing, and it’s like, “Okay, I don’t even know who this person is.” You have to tell the story of the people to create a fan base. You cheer for somebody, in any athletic sport, because there’s something about their personality that you have seen or heard that you identify with, and you want to root for them. Those stories behind the story is what really will, in my opinion, continue to elevate the sport beyond what it is right now. It’s not going to be more races where guys can go fast, where the men and women are racing and they have those amazing performances. Those are great, and they’re great opportunities. But we still need to tell the stories of the athletes, and I think that’s one piece that could definitely be improved on in all the areas of triathlon at this point. Andrew: So something else I want to ask about, as the tri scene evolves: the athletes of today have better technology. They have better gear, a better understanding of nutrition, better nutrition products on course than what you guys had back when you were racing. Mark: Well, hell, if I had had all that stuff I would have been going like, 7:14! I would have been like, 6:58 on my own! That sub 7:00, sub 8:00 thing? They would have been like, “Damn, can that dude go sub 6:00 with a team? I think so, he’s got his Morton and his super-duper thing, and he’s flying on his own!” Actually, I think about this, like if I had the shoes that these guys have – Andrew: Yeah, the carbon-plated, the high stack cushion – Mark: Yeah, I tried the super-duper Nike ones a while ago, six months ago, and I’m like, “Oh my god, this would have saved seven, eight, ten minutes in the marathon, literally! Sorry Patrick [Lange], you wouldn’t have broken my record that way.” So anyway, I’m hearing that [Kristian] Blummenfelt was taking in something crazy – I don’t know if this is true or not – like 500 or 600 calories an hour during the World Championships in St. George this past May. That’s TWICE the number of calories that I was able to choke down successfully, which means that he has twice as much gas in the tank as I did. Not that I have sour grapes; I’m psyched about what I did – Andrew: Absolutely, as you should be. Mark: – because I know what it took to do it. That’s the other side, everybody’s going faster now. Generally guys are going to have to go under 8 hours to win an Ironman. Women are going to have to go under 9 hours to win an Ironman. Look at what Laura Phillip did in Hamburg: 8 hours, 18 minutes. She went faster in her Ironman than I went in three of my Ironman victories in Kona. Dang. Andrew: Absolutely. I remember when I was first coming into the sport as an age grouper, I think it was Tim Don, the first one in a while that went sub 8:00 somewhere, and then Jan finally did it in Kona. Before it as like when a male went sub 8:00 it was a huge deal, and now you have to go sub 8:00 to place top ten at a major Ironman. On the women’s side it’s the same thing, just different times. You’re seeing times start to come down, down, down. Is it that the technology is advancing, the way we’re training is advancing? Is all this good for the sport, or is it just that anecdotally we’re in a new era of triathlon? What’s your take on those trends with technology and speed and people getting faster? Mark: Well for me, it’s super exciting. There really has been breakthroughs in the last three or four years. Maybe Covid had something to do with it, where people actually had time to redefine how training was going to work for them. They didn’t have racing to get in the way of actually figuring out how to train smart. For me, it’s kind of reinvigorated my interest, because I am about performance. So when I see these new levels being set consistently, it’s like, “This is kind of cool, I love it!” Andrew: Scott are you following the pro field as well and seeing what everybody’s doing in the space right now? Scott: I think as technology as advanced – and you can see it with the top pros now – we’ve slipped into this data thing. This is my point of view, where Mark and TriDot have come together in this. This is where I see the pros heading, where you’re putting a human heart and a human brain who has been there – unlike a lot of input that comes from people who are supposing what it was like to have been there – who have been there over and over and over again. And you’re informing this coaching paradigm that these are the other things, these other variables that enter into this equation. You need more time alone, or you need more rest time, or you need to have a healthier mental attitude. It can’t just be numbers, numbers, numbers, grind, grind, grind. And I think you’re seeing – this this is my point of view on the pro field today – more injuries, more days down, than I can remember in the history of the sport, because athletes are assuming that they’re supermen. They lay out their season, and they put all these races on it, and they break. And not little breaks, these are big mental breaks, and big physical breaks that are happening, and they’re happening at record paces. So I think that’s what I have. I certainly don’t have Mark’s pedigree to contribute to this, but I have been an observer for a long, long time, and one of the things that I see today is that yes, the athletes are going incredibly fast, but they’re breaking at an incredibly rapid pace also. Mark: That’s where we’ve talked about the Dot meeting the GOAT. Andrew: Yes sir. Mark: We’re talking about taking the best of everything and blending it together. If you can take that data and utilize it, analyze it in the right way, extract what needs to be taken out and apply that to the future in the right way, then first of all you avoid a lot of those pitfalls of overdoing it, overtraining, pushing too hard too often, not getting enough rest. Then on top of that, there is – like Scott was saying – knowing when to say, “Look, there’s something going on, and enough is enough today,” and to be good with that. It’s almost like I approached racing in a sense as a spiritual endeavor. It’s like, “I’m going to go there, and I’m going to race as hard as I can, but at the same time, the true success of this day will be if I learn something about myself, and I don’t know what that’s going to be.” You don’t have to try too hard, because there’s going to be a lot of lessons out there. Whether you’re first or last, there’s going to be stuff where you have to deal with yourself, and you’re going to find things about yourself, manage them, deal with them, get beyond them. Two quotes, one comes from a book, Fit Soul Fit Body: Nine Keys to a Healthier, Happier You that Brant Secunda and I wrote. One of those nine keys is “Honor yourself”. If people just took those two words and thought about them and said, “How can I honor myself?” Well, honoring myself means that I take care of myself. I get the rest I need. If I’m tired, I let my body recover. I don’t push myself to an unhealthy limit. I challenge myself, I do training that tests me, that keeps me moving forward, but at the same time honoring yourself means that you also draw back when you need to. As Scott was saying, record numbers of pros are breaking down. They’re not honoring themselves. Honoring yourself says, “I stay healthy. I keep myself healthy, and bottom line health is the top priority in all of this that we’re doing on this journey in triathlon.” Then from my book, The Art of Competition, one of the quotes is, “The greatest victories can never be seen.” What I meant when I wrote that quote is that in racing, in training, in life itself, there are thousands of moments where you had to overcome yourself, or you resisted doing something that you needed to do, or you resisted letting go of a habit or way of being that was holding you back from being a better person. In a race, especially like an Ironman, you had a thousand moments where you wanted to quit, but you took that next step anyway. You may have feared that you couldn’t make it to the finish line, but you took that next step anyway. And those are victories over yourself, and no one will see those victories. The greatest victories can never be seen. Only you will really truly know what it took to get you to this point that you’re at in your life today. Nobody will truly understand what it took for you to get from that start line to the finish line. In my final Ironman, there’s a point where I’m closing in on Thomas Hellriegel who had a 13½ minute lead going into the marathon. And I’m getting closer and closer, and Phil Liggett, one of the commentators, said, “Mark Allen is closing in on Thomas Hellriegel like a robot in perfect control of his functions!” He made it sound like I was just this programmed machine that was just slowly ticking off the thing, and on the broadcast video, I looked it. I looked like I didn’t have one doubt or one moment where I was faltering. But I had moments over and over and over and over and over and over and over on that marathon where I wanted to quit, where I didn’t think that I could keep going, or I didn’t think it was worth keeping going. Because I went there to win, and I was behind. And every one of those, I just had to go, “phew”. That was another one of our nine keys, “Quiet your mind.” Get your mind to be quiet. In that silence, every time, I found the reason to keep going. I found the strength to keep going, those were victories over myself. When I looked back at the end of the day, yes I won, yes this was my sixth and final victory, it couldn’t have turned out better. It was the most amazing, in my opinion, race that I ever had in my career. But what made it so amazing was that it was so hard to get there the way that I did, and I had those victories over myself. I don’t know if I can truly ever explain how hard that was, but at the same time it’s not necessary to, because it’s almost like it was a gift that was given to me through that experience. We all have those same gifts, if we look back and go, “Yeah, wow, that was hard, that was challenging, but I did it.” That’s where those smiles come from in those people when they cross the finish line. Cool down theme: Great set everyone! Let’s cool down. Andrew: A strong amount of triathlon talk there in the main set today. We had a lot of mental tri coaching, a lot of motivational tri coaching, but zero tangible tri coaching. And with two great, experienced tri minds on the show today, I can’t let us walk away without getting a tangible coaching tip from each of you. Not on my watch! So Scott, Mark, for our cool-down today, just really quickly hit us with one big hitting, very tangible pearl of wisdom to focus on. Mark, we’ll start with you. Mark: Okay, my pearl of wisdom is when you’re doing a brick workout, that run does not have to be enormously long. The idea of a brick workout is to teach you that transition from cycling to running. So even if you only have 20 minutes off your bike to do a brick run – maybe it’s scheduled to be 30, 40, an hour or whatever it is – even doing 20 minutes will train your body to be able to get off the bike and transition into your running legs. It’s also patterning into your body that the end of the bike is not the end of the day. When you get off the bike, it’s not time for a big lunch and a nap. It’s time to go for a little run. And just an aside, if Scott wants to tell it quickly, that term “brick run” came from this gentleman here, Scott Zagarino. Andrew: Scott, hit us with that story! Scott: It’s true, and I’m gonna take credit for it after all these years! Andrew: You should! Scott: My coach and I used to do this ride that required this lap around this field in Ventura that was about 15 miles to make it a 110 mile ride. And it was just the most barren place to be riding in the heat, and we started singing this Pink Floyd song. It suddenly dawned on both of us on the same day that this entire exercise, with ending in a 10 or 20 mile run, was just another brick in the wall. And every time we hit that spot, we’d start singing, “All in all it’s just another brick in the wall. It’s just another brick in the wall.” That’s where the term came from. We just started calling it a brick, and then everyone who ever joined us called it a brick. Then as triathlon, as the sport goes, everyone wanted to overcomplicate it. Andrew: So Scott, you’re telling me that every other theory or explanation I’ve heard for why a brick workout is called a brick is incorrect, unless it is telling me that it was you and your coach singing a Pink Floyd song during a workout? Scott: That’s it. That’s it. I can say that categorically. Andrew: Absolutely incredible. Scott, hit us with one tangible tri coaching tip to shut us down today. Scott: I think that everyone involved in this sport, because it requires effort, effort, effort, should incorporate a meditative practice into your life. Whether it’s a walking meditation or a seated meditation – not going from the pool to work –just be present, listen to yourself breathe, appreciate your life. Certainly more than anything this would be the theme that runs through everything, the meaning of triathlon: remember how lucky we all are to be able to do this. Wherever else you could be in the world, this is a gift. It is an immense gift, and if you stop appreciating it, you’ll lose the value of the gift. Sitting quietly or being quiet somewhere and just being appreciative for what you’ve been given. That’s my pearl. Andrew: Well, that’s it for today, folks! I want to thank tri legend and TriDot Coach Mark Allen, and CEO of Mark Allen Sports Scott Zagarino for joining us for today’s conversation. Shout out to our friends at Precision Fuel and Hydration for being a TriDot partner. We have a new code, so when you go to buy your electrolytes and fuel, use code TRI10 to get 10% off your first order. We’ll have a new show coming your way soon. Until then, happy training! Outro: 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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