This is the TriDot Podcast. TriDotuses your training data and genetic profile combined with predictive analyticsand artificial intelligence to optimize your training, giving you betterresults in less time with fewer injuries. Our podcast is here to educate,inspire, and entertain. We'll talk all things triathlon with expert coaches andspecial guests. Join the conversation and let's improve together.
Andrew: Coming to you from TriDot headquarters in Dallas/FortWorth, Texas. Welcome to episode one of the TriDot Podcast. All of us here atTriDot are excited out of our minds to launch this new avenue for qualitytriathlon conversation. Now, I won't always open the show with this muchfanfare 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 yourtriathlon journey. Let's get to it. Today on the show, I'm joined by TriDot founderand CEO, Jeff Booher. Jeff is our lead data lover and heads the team ofengineers that are the brains behind the software that drives TriDot’straining. Jeff, welcome to the show.
Jeff: Thank you very much, Andrew. I've been looking forward tothis for a long time. We've got some really amazing coaches and they have awealth of expertise that they're just eager to share. So, I know from the dataanalytics side, we're going to share some insights that will really just fundamentallychange the way our listeners approach the sport of triathlon. They're going toachieve more, they're going to understand more, and they're just going be moresatisfied, get more fulfillment out of sports. So, I'm just so happy to belaunching this.
Andrew: Also here in the TriDot studio is coach John Mayfield. Johnis 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 forathletes of every ability. John, thanks for joining us for episode one.
John: Yeah. Hey, we're excited for this. We've just got a wholelot of information and experience from working with athletes of all abilitiesat all race distances. We've been doing this for a number of years, so we'rejust excited to share some of those insights, and increase enjoyment oftriathlon for all the athletes out there.
Andrew: All right. And who am I? I'm your host, Andrew, the averagetriathlete, voice of the people and captain of the mid pack. Listen, every goodworkout starts with a warmup, peaks with the main set, and concludes with anice refreshing cooldown. And that is exactly what you can expect from theTriDot podcast. I will offer up a warmup talking point to today's guests andthen we'll dive deep into today's main set before finishing things off with ourcooldown topic.
Time to warm up. Let's get moving.
Andrew: For today's warmup, I've got a fun one for you. In thesport of triathlon, we are blessed to have dozens and dozens of pro athleteswho are great competitors, and all around quality people to admire. So, thequestion today, who is your all-time favorite pro triathlete?
Jeff: So, you're right, there are lots of great professionalathletes in the sport. We have a great history of athletes going back severaldecades. Lots of great ones to choose from, but I'm going to say my favoriteprofessional triathlete is a good friend of mine, Kurt Madden. Kurt was one ofthe original triathletes who raced in Hawaii the first time in 1980, prior to themove to Kona. And as I've gotten to know Kurt over the last several years. He'sjust 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 afantastic 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 myfavorite 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'vehad the privilege of working with coaching a lot of great pro athletes are alljust wonderful people to a person, just people that I admire and respect and havegrown to love and developed great friendships. So, asking me to say which is myfavorite out of those is kind of like a parent choosing a favorite child, soI'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 thequestion, you know, great competitors, just all around quality people, she justcame to mind. She's just amazing. She's a 2004 Olympian, Hall of Fame, USATHall of Fame, World Number One for I think a couple years. It was the longestat the time, I think the longest any male or female had been number one rankedin the world, just amazing. I got to know her probably 10-12 years ago when shestarted up the collegiate recruitment program. Got to work with her, she workswith some of my athletes as well, and just got to be friends with her, see herhelp my athletes. And I just really respect the way that she was just sogenuine, humble, just so giving, sharing, just quality character, her faith,her family. Just you know, the total package. A wonderful person, just reallyadmire her lot, consider her a mentor, learned so much from her. Yeah, so BarbLindquist would be my favorite pro.
Andrew: It's funny how both of you shared somebody that you've hadpersonal interaction with, right. It's amazing how in the modern day we canfollow these athletes on social media, you can feel like you know a lot aboutthem but never meet them. But when you meet them, they can make all the differencein 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. Andwe're walking down the mall area, and I see a guy running in the distance. Andyou can kind of see the blue Nike shoes, and you can see this person wasclearly in very, very good shape. And I remember thinking to myself because Ifollow several pro triathletes on social media. I remember thinking, that guylooks 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 trainingrun, the more I was like, that's been Hoffman. And so he runs by us and for asplit second I wanted to say his name and see if he turned around, but Ididn't. I didn’t want to bother whoever it was running. And so I turned my wifeand I'm like, I'm pretty sure that was pro triathlete Ben Hoffman. And shegoes, “Who?” Now, my wife is very supportive of my triathlon hobby but she'snot up to date with the who's who of the triathlon world. And so I had toexplain to her “Hey, he's a Kona top finisher, one of the top Americans of Konaevery single year, you know, great, great triathlete.” And so now in the Harleyhousehold, from that day, we refer to Ben Hoffman as “celebrity triathlete BenHoffman.” Because I joke that in the triathlon world, he's a celebrity and toher that doesn't count as being an actual celebrity. And so sure enough, lateron, on social media he had shared “Hey, here's a picture of me from in front ofthe statue of Abraham Lincoln for my training run.” And I was like, “That wasBen Hoffman. That was him.” So, I just shot him a little direct message. And hereplied back. I told him the story of me recognizing him and my wife having noidea who he was. And he thought it was really, really funny. So, even thatscale of interaction, I now find myself when I'm watching Kona, when I'mwatching these guys at Ironman events, and I have them in the tracker. I findmyself rooting for Ben Hoffman, just from the one time he passed by me inWashington, 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 thatyour bike gets there race ready and stress free. TriBike Transport is theoriginal, fully assembled bike transport service for cyclists and triathletes.I love traveling for a race, and after registering the first thing I do is bookTriBike Transport for my bike. You start by using the easy online reservationform 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 convenientlylocated partner shops. Your bike will enjoy a smooth ride all the way to therace site, where you will pick it up near T1, ready to race with your bike fitposition untouched. Thousands of athletes have trusted their gear to TriBikeTransport and you can too. Learn how by heading to TriBikeTransport.com, and as a friend of the podcast use coupon code TRIDOT PODfor $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-sporttopics without specifically focusing on TriDot. We are here for all triathleteswhether you use TriDot or not for your training. But from time to time we willunapologetically focus in on a specific feature of TriDot. Today is one ofthose days as we will be talking about how TriDot got started, and what itmeans when we say, “I am TriDot.” When I first heard how TriDot came to be, itgave 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 marketquite like it. Jeff, take us back to the beginning. What was your inspirationfor TriDot?
Jeff: Well, my inspiration, I've been a triathlete for almost 20years now. I got really competitive and just like everyone else, you get thebug, 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 lookingaround seeing these triathletes training for 20-plus hours and wanting to dowell. And I said okay, I want to do well, but I'm not doing that at the expenseof my family, service work, my career, all that kind of stuff. So, I reallywent on a kind of a passion project just to educate myself on training tofigure out okay, how can I train more effectively? I’ve got so many hours Iwant to use; how do I do that better? And I got certified in everything; USAtrack 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 everythingwith no intention of coaching or anything else. It was all self-serving, veryselfish. And what I found was, the further I got into that I found experts, worldchampions, coaches, all these accolades and accomplishments, but they're sayingconflicting things. They're saying literally polar opposite approaches,philosophies and how you should train and what you should do. And I realizedthat 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 anderror. And so I had a background and I'd run several companies, but I started mycareer 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 anapplication here. So, I just started doing my own research and seeing whatthings worked, how I could design algorithms that would most effectively trainmyself. As I started going through that, very soon I got probably 20 or 30training 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 arelatively homogeneous, I thought at that time, group.
Istarted training that and gradually began to hone those algorithms and thenfrom season to season, pull in more people, wider age groups, different abilitylevels and just really learn. What people think of now as data driven, theylook at data, but it's all descriptive, historical data. They're looking at thepast. There's nothing predicting the future. So that's what I set on a quest todo back then, it was about 2005 or so. It took several years. So, lookingforward to your training, how do you optimize that future training? Now,looking at tens of thousands of athletes, over 15 years, tens of millions ofprescribed training sessions, we’re able to pull in all things from trainingdata to health data, even genetics now. So, we're fine tuning and optimizingyour training based on all of that data, based on algorithms that were just aconstant incremental improvement for more than 15 years.
Andrew: So, it's come a long way in terms of how many files you'relooking at. So, for you and all of those early adopters, what difference didyou see in your training when you started to dial back the volume, you startedto incorporate what you were learning from the data. What difference did yousee in everyone's training?
Jeff: Well, very quickly, I realized that it is not really aboutdialing back the training necessarily. That was my initial selfish goal, howcan I achieve the most. But it's making the most of whatever time you have. Ifyou have 20 hours a week, maybe that's good, maybe it's not good. But knowingthe incremental improvement and the cost, there's an increase, there's marginalanalysis there to do every additional unit of training that you do. Stress,hours, whatever it is, pounding, it increase risks. So, benefits go up, risksalso go up. So it's evaluating that and optimizing for it. So, I saw that thefocus shifted, my focus shifted, and later what would become TriDot moved awayfrom the accumulation metrics. And so you stop looking at how many miles, howmany minutes, how many, all of that stuff, and asking yourself if you’re justdoing more work or if you’re doing the right work, and are you doing the rightwork right? So, that led to the big gains. So, we saw better results, moresustainable ability to stay in the sport longer, because you're healthier. It'sa lifestyle that can be balanced. And so you don't feel guilty for nottraining, you're achieving better results.
Andrew: Yeah, because that's most people. Most people are exactlyin that place of I'm a triathlete, I want to do the best I can on race day, butI still have my family, I still have my job, I still have other hobbies on theside, and other events I have to go to. And so how can I maximize the time thatI 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 getthe affirmation as we started looking at the data and seeing what's happening,being able to track specifically and measure the incremental gains from doingthis type of training versus that type of training, pulling the differenttraining levers and the intensity, the duration, the frequency, all of thosethings. If you do different training for different people, you get differentresults. And so seeing athletes that were in their 60s and had been doingtriathlons for 20 years, and telling me that they're racing better and fasterthan when they were in their 40s. They were doing their best back then, they'redoing their best now, and they're performing better 20 years older, and to seethat over and over and over. That was probably around 2010-11, so a few yearsinto it, seeing that at this broader application, that's when we really startedsaying, okay, we need to repurpose this beyond just a few hundred trainingbuddies and friends and smaller community as word spreads.
Andrew: So, there are two slogans for TriDot training that I oftensee. The first one is, “it's about time,” and the second one is “insightchanges everything.” Can you guys unpack both of those statements a little forus?
John: So, “it's about time” really speaks to several things.Primarily, it's your time on the racecourse, so your results, your trainingtime, how many hours are you spending each week engaging in these activities toset up those results on race day, and then your downtime as well. So, each ofthese metrics are real important for triathletes. We all want to perform at ourbest, we want to realize our full potential, we want to make sure the timewe're investing in our training is beneficial. We're not wasting time, we'renot 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 thethreefold objective of TriDot: better results, optimize training time, fewerinjuries. So, it's a time-based aspect. And then “it's about time” is we'vebeen collecting this data for decades now.
Andrew: Which is a lot of time.
John: There are future athletes out there that are not recordingdata in every session that they do. However, as Jeff mentioned, prior to TriDotit was all kind of going into a vast black hole of nothing. We didn't have asystem like this where we could truly leverage this data to produce theseresults of better results, less training and less downtime due to injury.
Andrew: When I first came into TriDot as a user, I kind of alwaysthought that “it's about time” was like, it's about time someone produced atraining program like this. So, from the athlete, if you're out there andyou've been searching for the best training program and maybe you've tried tocoach, maybe you've tried a cookie-cutter, paper plan from the internet ormaybe 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'scool to hear the different layers of ways that TriDot is effectively trying tomaximize 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 doeschange everything, changes the way you look at things. Going all the way backto, you know, without TriDot, when you're only looking at your descriptivedata, looking backwards. You look at it, you apply your theory, yourphilosophy, your trial and error, whatever you're doing, and then you makedecisions going forward. And so every coach is out there with differentphilosophies, different experience, what worked for them, what didn't work forthem. And so when I was doing that initial research, and I still hear peoplesay, “everyone responds to training differently.” So, they're talking withtheir coach, they’re talking with other athletes, and I'm doing this, you'redoing that, it's working for me, and they go, “Well everybody responds totraining differently.” So, it was this generally accepted saying that I say isflat out wrong. But people say, well, how's it wrong because I know that I dodifferent 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 actuallylooking at the words: “everybody,” one word, right, responds to trainingdifferently. So, the focus when we say it in that way, you're focusing on theresponse being different. But you're saying “everybody,” like there's justpeople, and there's this homogeneous person. But if you switch the emphasis onthe difference, from “respond,” so they're not responding different, but yousay “every” “body” responds to training differently, that's false. Because aslong 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'sresponse is different.” It's everyone's body is different. So, when youstart taking body differences, how long have you been doing the sport, look atyour genetics, your body composition, your age, your performance level, in eachdifferent sport, on all these different metrics, you put all those things, thenyou start quantifying, and having this insight into everyone's body, and whattheir potential is, and what their risks are, and what their performanceimprovement capabilities are. When you articulate that and compare apples toapples, all of the same type of body, the more narrowly and granularly you canfind those, then the responses are very predictable. And that's how you havethe repeatable results. And without that, you're just shooting blind. And sothat's why insight is what changes everything. Without the insight, withoutknowing all of that, without having tens of thousands of athletes that aremeasured in a way that standardized, normalized where you can do that apples-to-applescomparison, you're just going blind. And you're wasting a lot of time, highinjury, risk, all those things that we fight against.
Andrew: Guys, this is why I love TriDot because I love that thereare people out there like Jeff and John who are way smarter than me on theanalytics, know way more than me about big data, and have done all thisthinking for me. What you're saying is for everybody that's a part of TriDotthat is like me, who has a similar body composition to me, who has a similarexperience in all three sports as I do, their training results and my trainingresults should be pretty similar and pretty predictable.
Jeff: Absolutely. And there's another thing that changes. So, youhave athletes out there that'll go from coach to coach to coach. And then thiscoach works, you know all this one. Well, they've just gone to the philosophythat happens to fit them at the moment. So, when an athlete tries to learn, you’relearning 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, ifyou're tracking everything and doing that analysis, but now you're a differentperson. Your body composition is different, your performance level isdifferent, 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 foundedTriDot, 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 justgradual incremental improvements. And as I realized more opportunity, more voidof something like this or this type of approach in the application that wecould have and then got a vision, the technology is not a replacement forcoaches at all. It is a replacement for designing your training. So, the roleof a coach just like the role of doctors and other professions. As technologycomes along, the services they provide are different, they're supported bymachines. 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 anoptimized training plan like we can, not even close. But there's 100 thingsthat 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 coachworks with the human being, the person. The technology can't care, can’tempathize, can't all of those things that are required human to human. And sowe just make a coach much more productive and deliver much higher- level value.So, early days, I was tracking things in spreadsheets and figuring outnormalization standards, all of these kind of things, and building sometechnologies that normalize results so I can compare all of these things.
Andrew: And so you're just doing it yourself for all of yourathletes.
Jeff: Exactly. Yeah, 30, something like that. And then graduallywent to a database, started after I got the standards, the normalization tosome correlation analysis, all that, then eventually exploited that database,had a company design a front end. So, probably in 2010 or 2011, we launchedthat where it’s basically a simple front end where someone could log into awebsite, look at their training, complete the training, and submit theirresults. 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 triedactually to go to other companies that were out there that had an onlinecalendar, tracking and logging, and they had no capacity to do any customvalues. It was just very, very, very basic. All the coaches that use thatplatform were just using templates. They’d upload 15-20 templates, and they’dcopy and paste them into athletes’ accounts and just tweak them. And that'swhat they still do, that’s what that technology still is. Whereas, ours wasvery, very different and just adapting all the time, in real time. So, we didthat, we added the environment normalization, we added just a whole bunch ofother [features]. Most recently, we added the genetics component where we'reactually pulling your genome. And that's a more recent thing with 23andMe andothers doing this genome typing.
Andrew: We’ll do a whole podcast just talking about the waysomeone's actual specific genetics can impact their training.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. And so that's recently. Probably anotherbig milestone was back in 2014, and that genetics work started 2016. So, we'vebeen working on that for quite a long time. Most of the stuff that we develophas 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 backin 2015, so kind of just turbocharged everything. And there's a team ofdevelopers working on that. One of the ones they had, a PhD in mechanicalengineering told me, the engine they developed, he said that he actually wastracking when an average phase was being optimized, built, generated within oursystem. He said he tracked at one point—he was just fascinated by how much wasgoing on and how many different things were being considered. He said therewere more than 11,000 simultaneous calculations occurring at one time duringthat training phase.
Andrew: My goodness.
Jeff: So, it was just instant. So, a person can't do that, and aperson can't design that overnight. That was 10 years into the work.
Andrew: And an individual coach doesn't have the depth of datafiles and the amount of data files you have to hone in that training like thatover time.
Jeff: Correct. Absolutely.
Andrew: So, John, how has the user base of athletes grown overtime?
John: So, I was actually one of those early users that Jeffdescribed. My first TriDot training plans were emailed via Excel spread. And soI have a great reference. I've been here for each step along the way, andactually had very little, if anything to do with the development of thetechnology side, that's not what I do. But one thing I've been very fortunateto be involved in is the development of the community. So, we have theopportunity 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 acommunity 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 theopportunity to go to basically any race across the country and meet TriDotathletes, and see there that just organically they're connecting with oneanother, they're encouraging one another. We have a vibrant Facebook group thatis a great resource for support and education. And so along with thesetechnology developments we've had this fantastic development of people thathave 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 youknow the person or not, when you see somebody else wearing a TriDot visor, aTriDot hat, a TriDot tri suit, it really does make a difference. You see eachother, you acknowledge each other, and you fist pump each other, whatever, buthaving that community and being a part of it really does make a hugedifference.
Andrew: Yeah, I want you, John, in a second, I want you toelaborate on how that phrase, “I Am TriDot” came to be. I thought that wasreally cool. One of the things we don't always recognize, there's so manypeople 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 localgroup is, whoever they're training with, the people that they do live withtrain 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 doany of that stuff. But they're raving fans as far as what it can do for theirtraining. And so that's very liberating for them. They can focus on theirsocial, their culture, and their community, and all the relational stuff anddon'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 timeyou heard how that resonated.
John: So, if our roles here are somewhat defined, I would sayJeff is more the technology guy. I'm more of the athlete, engagement-with-athletes/supportguy.
Andrew: I’m the podcast guy.
John: And we got the podcast guy. So, a couple of years ago, Iwas at a race like I am on most weekends, and we had our tent set up. And therewere lots of people coming by on the run course, they would see the tent andthey would just holler out, “Hey, I'm TriDot!” And I got that every few minutessomebody 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 theonsite event out there at the race. And I shared that story how all theseathletes were coming by and how it was just really cool that these athleteswere identifying with us, and identifying themselves as a tribe. And that'swhere I think it just clicked with Jeff of, yeah, that's really cool, andthere's really a lot of depth to it. So, it's kind of become our thing and it'ssuch an honor, I think, that these athletes do identify with us that they aresaying that “I am TriDot.”
Jeff: They’re so appreciative of the role that TriDot plays intheir 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 theseathletes 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 postthat. There's several of our athletes that have “I Am TriDot” on theirInstagram and Facebook profile pictures, even. And as fun as it is to post alittle workout selfie, you're sweaty, you just crushed for two hours on thebike, you want to post a selfie to show off the hard work you just put in, andpeople post those pictures and they hashtag “I Am TriDot.” And I think theykind of have a surface level understanding of “Oh, I'm a part of the trainingprogram. This is what I use.” But the meaning of “I Am TriDot” goes way deeperthan that. Can you guys elaborate on that?
Jeff: Absolutely, Andrew. When John first said that story, thefirst thing I noticed from it is that they don’t say I use TriDot or I’m aTriDot user, it’s “I Am TriDot.” I'm TriDot. And it struck with me, thatthat's my heart, too, to not make it something you use, like this thing, butyou're part of it, you are part of TriDot. Your data goes in with otherpeople'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 peopleget better and all those other people out there are helping you get better. Aswe grow and develop new technologies and gain new insights from more users, wejust keep advancing the ball down the field and it gets better and better,better. Plus from a community standpoint, people taking ownership. I know whenI hear one of our new customer support people, Cindy, she's amazing, talkingwith 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 evenusing our software, reaching out, “How did it go? How are you doing?” You knowthat kind of personal care and connection to people, that they are part of thefamily, that we're in this to help each other. The triathlon community is thatway in a large part. There's so many people out there just so giving andhelping and whatnot, but we really take that to heart. So, from a datastandpoint, we see that, from a community relational standpoint, and then fromour team, I look that internally as we talk, we all have different roles, justlike John said. He's more got a face for the public and I have a face fortechnology. 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 ofthat team, that family is part of TriDot, and we make it what it is today. Andbringing on the podcast guy is a huge part of advancing that and benefiting forall of our athletes.
Andrew: Yeah. So, let's talk about that a little bit because afteryears and years and years of helping athletes optimize their training, kind offine 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 intothe podcast game?
Jeff: Well, I think we always lead with the technology, thetechnology is very advanced, more than we’ll ever share. I heard somethingabout Jack Welch, the famous GE CEO, he’s always talking about how come you'reso forthcoming with what you're sharing about the things that you're doing, thethings that make you successful. And he said, “Oh, we're only sharing thethings that we did two years ago. The current stuff, the secret stuff is stillunder wraps.” And so, the answer to “Why now?” is we've always led withtechnology and always lagged with explaining, and helping people understand andeducate. So, that's the point now of helping athletes understand and engagemore quickly, understand what they're doing, and why they're doing it. I thinkyou get better results when athletes understand. Some people can wake up andjust take their medicine and just do the workout and go and those athletes getphenomenal 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'rethat kind of person that needs to understand and you don't, to back off of anhour of training, and invest that hour in listening to podcasts, watchingvideos, learning about the sport, this podcast, doing that while you're on thetrainer, 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 firstfour hours sharpening my axe.” And that can be so true. You understand whatyou're doing, you're not going to have all that waste of time. People continueto do things that are just these theories, these myths, just what their bodydoes, all of this training, they waste so much, they get injured, they're outof the sport. Far more waste and inefficiency is present just because somepeople don't understand what they're doing. So, if you're listening, and you'reone of those people that seeks to understand or that's a little apprehensiveabout doing something that's different than what you've always done, I'dencourage you to be like Abraham Lincoln and invest in education andunderstanding. We've been doing that for 15 years trying to understand and gainthe insights and we certainly want to share them, so that's what this podcastis primarily for.
Andrew: John, for the athletes who are going to tune in and listenand we're always going to have different coaches, different experts and guests ontalking about different things, but for you as kind of one of our lead coacheswho are going to be a voice, when people tune in and they listen to mywonderful voice and your wonderful voice, what are you hoping they get out ofthis podcast?
John: Well, for me, early on in my triathlon career, like manytriathletes or I would almost venture to say all triathletes, there's just awealth of a new world of information, and there's this hunger to know and tolearn. And that's really what kind of took me from a first-time, sprinttriathlete 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 ofthe 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 anathlete and a coach was listening to podcasts. And there were several reallygreat 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 fewand far between, but there were some good ones that I learned a ton from. Theywere just a great source of information of new studies and that sort of thingthat I really enjoyed, and really kind of helped develop my own understandingand philosophy around coaching and working with athletes, race execution, allthese things. I learned a ton from podcasts. So, that's what I hope that we'reable 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 thesport, so they can extend their time in the sport, so they can do away withwasted and ineffective time, prevent injuries, all those things that we'relooking to do. My ambition for the podcast is that athletes look forward tothis and really find it valuable at the end of every episode.
Andrew: Yeah, I really personally hope that it just becomes anextension of the community we've already built. We have a community of athletesthat are using TriDot and feel like they're part of the community. But whethersomeone'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'sall trying to learn and get better together. So, John, for athletes, sinceyou're just so in tune with them and always communicating with them, forathletes 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 adiverse background. We have a lot of athletes that come to TriDot that havenever done any type of structured training.
Andrew: That was me, for the record.
John: So, their experience is different. They're learning what itis to have this structured training, to have a structured session that as Imentioned earlier, the warmup, the main set, the cooldown to have training thatis thought out, and considers things like duration, intensity, frequencysequence, and how all these things work together to produce these adaptationsthat are going to pay off on race day. So, their experience is different fromthe person that's been doing structured training for maybe decades. But at theend of the day, as Jeff mentioned prior, it's all optimized specifically foreach individual. So, no two training plans look alike because no two peoplelook 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 athletesperform better they see their performance go up. It's very common for thoseathletes see a reduction in the amount of time that they're training. Andreally what provides me with satisfaction is again when their overall enjoymentof triathlon goes up. When they say I set a PR, or even better when they say Isee my spouse and kids more often because I'm not spending my entire weekendout on the road. That's hugely fulfilling for me.
Andrew: I was talking to a triathlete literally just this week, hewent 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 beenworking up to this half Ironman. And I was talking to him about his race and hetold me along those lines, he was like, “Yeah, I did the race, I loved it. Itwas a blast, I'm totally hooked, I'm gonna keep doing tri’s. But after thatrace, I just had to take four weeks off, like I just had to take some time andjust 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 nevergotten on the backside of race day and felt like there were things in my life Ihad neglected during my training, that there were things I had to get back tobecause of my training, that I hadn't seen friends and family because of mytraining. I hadn't really thought about in those terms, but raising athleteenjoyment of the sport, like you don't get to the backside of race day feelingburnout 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 whereit started, and I know we're all excited for the future, we’re all excited forwhere the possibilities are for this community of athletes. Jeff, as thefounder, when you look ahead, what is your vision? What are you seeing in thefuture for TriDot?
Jeff: One is just to have an open mind. Same as with the data, alot of old coach-centric or trial-and-error training from a long time ago, someonewould espouse a viewpoint or an approach to training and they were stuck withthat, 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’llgo. If this is better, then that's what we'll do, and that's what the softwarewill 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 thisfor many people, that it is just the obvious and automatic choice for triathlontraining, 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 drivingexample, would you ever pull out a Mapsco or just kind of try to figure out howto get from point A to B? Or are you going to pull out your smartphone and putin Google Maps or whatever you're going to use, say here's where I'm at, here'swhere I need to go, and it maps your route. What more efficient way is there toget from point A to point B than that? And so with our data and technology, Iwant to be that for everyone.
Andrew: A lot of times I can get myself somewhere, but it's notalways 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 continuallyadapt and improve. But the ultimate goal is to help people improve their healthand 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 moresatisfaction. Whatever satisfaction means, completing more races, going fasterat those races, whatever their goal is help them attain that in the mostefficient, healthy way possible.
Andrew: Now, we're not always going to overtly have TriDot ads onthis podcast. Again, we're here for the community. We're here for all theathletes. But I think we would be remiss to talk so much about this program webelieve in without telling people the best way to get involved with TriDottraining. So, John, for anybody listening right now who's like, “This makes alot of sense, I really want to give training with TriDot a shot,” what was thebest way for them to get involved?
John: We're passionate about what we do, that promise of betterresults 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 viablefor 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 theonboarding process, gets them setup and they can actually start their trainingat no cost at all. So, they can actually see exactly what their TriDot trainingplan is and actually start training with that training plan. And then fromthere, we also want it to be approachable from the financial aspect. So, weactually have subscriptions starting in just $9.99 per month. So, we want toremove 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 fora 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 tohow you're doing. Yeah, that's incredible and I will say this because I knowmyself, I'm so hesitant to, you know, you get an email from something thatlooks really cool and you want to check it out, whether it's triathlon based ornot, and you go to somebody's website and they start asking you forinformation, right? And we're all so hesitant to start punching in ourinformation. If you are interested in trying TriDot and you get on there, youdo exactly what John said, you pull up the free test drive, you're going tohave to put in your information because the training program, just like Jeffwas talking about earlier, it needs to know who you are, it needs to know howold you are.
Jeff: We had a lot of people that were coming on, this is a fewyears back, doesn't happen quite as much anymore. But they were coming on andentering their information, they were just entering stuff like, “What is your15 miles on the bike?” An hour. And then, “What is your 5K?” An hour. And sothey're putting in this kind of stuff and how much you train and they just putin stuff. And then they get to the Season Planner and try to add a race and itsays you can't add that race, it’s an Ironman and it's eight weeks away. Andthey'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 softwarethat was actually driven by the training.
Andrew: It needs to know those data points.
Jeff: Correct. And so when they corrected those things, then itworked. And so they were used to just entering, and those were people that hadbeen 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 funnything. That's how it really is used as you onboard, just enter the best youcan, as close as you can, it's not down to the second or the minute on thosetimes, 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 todaywe're going to get things cooled down with an inspiring story straight from oneof our TriDot athletes. This is Christie from Garland, Texas and she dropped byto share with us her story of overcoming cancer and getting back to the Ironmanrace course. Take it away, Christie.
Christie: My name is Christie and I am from Garland, Texas. Just likeour wonderful sport, my personal story can be told in three parts. So, my firstintroduction to the sport was about nine years ago. I was in my office and twoof my co-workers came in and said, “Hey, we want to do a sprint triathlon andwe want you to ride the bike.” I borrowed a bike, and I only remember two thingsfrom that race. The first thing was that feeling the first time I went aroundthe first corner just a little bit too fast, and that feeling of exhilarationand, oh my gosh, that was so cool. I want to do that over and over again. Andthen I also remember thinking after it was over with, I think I can do this allby myself, all three of these things, but I don't know how to swim. So, thatwas my first step, I had to learn how to swim. I went to masters swim classesat the gym, and finally learned how to get from one end of the pool to theother 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, butI went and bought a bike. I was in the parking lot test driving it. And youknow, by this time, I was pretty cool because I even had shoes that I couldclip in and out of pedals on the spin bike at the gym. And so I decided I woulduse them on my first tri in the parking lot at the bike store. And yes, youknow what happened? I fell and I fractured my wrist. So, I was in the emergencyroom, 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 notthe pain. I'm going to miss my first triathlon competition.” And so yes, I didmiss my first race.
Threemonths later, my cast was off and I was back in the game again. So, we all knowwhat the first triathlon does to you, it causes you to get in there and keepgoing. So, I call the second phase of my triathlon history as my midlifecrisis. 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 wascrazy. I thought I was crazy. But every day when you just put one footmore in front of the other one, before you know it, you are ready for anIronman. Over the next three years, I did three Ironmans. Well, I was justabout to do my third Ironman in Florida when I knew something was not quiteright. I was doing one of those self-exams that all women should be doing andfound a lump that wasn't there the month before. So, I told myself, I'm aboutfour 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 Ifinished that Ironman, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And that was prettymuch what I consider the third phase of my triathlon lifespan.
Itwas a really tough time. I had a lot of pain, not from running anymore becauseit was hard to run, but pain from chemo, lots of joint issues, lots ofdifferent surgeries with reconstructive surgeries. And every time I would startto train again, I would get knocked back down again from some sort of injuryagain. It's kind of like chemo impacts every part of your body that was everinjured before in your past, but it does it all at one time. So, training wasreally, really difficult. And at this point in my life, I had pretty muchdecided and pretty much determined that an Ironman was never going to ever bein my future again. Well, one day I was sitting at my computer and justrandomly clicked on a link that took me to Core Sports, and a kit that they hadfor 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 Iwas going to do another Ironman again. And then with friends and my husband andfamily encouraging me and TriDot Coach, Elizabeth James, who really kind of gotme 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 thisinjury free, and pain free.” And it was completely different from any plan thatI've ever had in the past, but it worked.
Sureenough, two years after being cancer free, I just recently did my fourthIronman. So, actually my story ends with a new beginning. At this point in mylife, I can pretty much do whatever I want to do. I have the fitness level forit, I may do another Ironman, I may not do another Ironman. But regardless, allof you out there who are listening, just know that you really can do whateveryou want to do. If you want to be involved in a triathlon or if you want totrain, TriDot is a fantastic program that can get you there. I will never everbe able to thank Elizabeth enough for where she has gotten me and where I amtoday. You know, family friends, my own stubbornness, and Elizabeth with TriDotpretty 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 likethis, how does it make you feel?
Jeff: Well, it just never ceases to amaze me. As we've talkedabout before, I'm so much engrossed in the technology sometimes, and when Ihear the human stories and the difference that it makes in people's lives, itjust inspires me to continue with a long hours and the investment that we makein the technology, in our community, in our athletes, and coaches just todeliver the highest value possible.
Andrew: John, if someone out there is listening, and we alreadykind of told people how to get involved, but if they haven't given TriDot atry, and they're really thinking about doing it, what would you say toencourage them to do so?
John: Well, something I hear very frequently among athletes thatare completing their first race or maybe completing their first season trainingwith TriDot is they wish they'd have found it sooner. It's one of those thingswhere they really do see a difference. And all those things that we've talkedabout, 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 firsttriathlon season. I wish I could have gone back to my first Ironman. I wouldhave performed better, train less, my spouse would have been happier, it wouldhave been much easier to sign up for the second one because my spouse didn'thate triathlon. So, for me, it's almost like a moral obligation to share thiswith the triathlon community is for me, it's a passion and desire for me thatthese athletes would achieve those things that they're able to achieve throughTriDot. So, it's one of those things, really, the sooner the better. The sooneryou get in, the sooner you can achieve all those things.
Andrew: Well, that's it for today. Folks, I want to personallythank TriDot CEO, Jeff Booher, and coach, John Mayfield for taking us on ajourney deep into the core of TriDot. Shout out to our friends at TriBikeTransport for bringing us today's show. If you are traveling for an upcomingrace, let TriBike Transport ensure that your bike gets there race ready andstress 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 theheart of the training program you know and love. If you've never used TriDotand you want to give data optimized training a try, head over TriDot.com and start your free test drive today.
Enjoyingthe podcast? Have any triathlon questions or topics you want to hear us talkabout? Email us at Podcast@TriDot.com and let us know what you're thinking. As your host I alwayswant to be the voice of the people, and the more I'm hearing from you, thebetter I can talk about the things you care about. So, again, drop me a line atPodcast@TriDot.com. We'll have a new show coming your way very soon. Untilthen, happy training.
Thanks for joining us. Make sure tosubscribe and share the TriDot Podcast with your triathlon crew. For more greattri content and community, connect with us on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.Ready to optimize your training? Head to TriDot.comand start your free trial today. TriDot, the obvious and automatic choice fortriathlon training.