Join TriDot coaches John Mayfield, Elizabeth James, and Jeff Raines as they reflect on some of their favorite TriDot Podcast episodes from the past year. Revisit the year's top coaching advice, insights into TriDot's technology, and special moments with guests on the show. Whether you're a first-time listener or long-time subscriber, find out which episodes will help you kickstart your 2021 season.


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 Harley:  Welcome to the TriDot Podcast everyone!  Now this is officially the very last episode in the calendar year, 2020.  This is our 55th episode of the year.  That’s 55 warm up questions, 55 main sets, 55 cool downs. This year we’ve been streamed in over 100 countries.  Shout out to everybody worldwide who has been a part of the TriDot podcast family this year. We’re thankful for you listening. We hope that you’re learning alongside of us, alongside of me in particular and we’re going to keep this podcast going into 2021 and just keep having great multisport, endurance sport, triathlon based conversation.  So thanks for sticking with us and here we go!  Final episode of 2020.  Joining us for this is Coach John Mayfield.  A successful Ironman athlete himself, John leads TriDot’s athlete services, ambassador, and coaching programs.  He has coached hundreds of athletes ranging from first-timers to Kona qualifiers and professional triathletes.  John has been using TriDot since 2010 and coaching with TriDot since 2012.  John, how’s it going today friend?

John Mayfield:  Going good.2020 has certainly been an interesting year, but we’ve also had a lot of great podcasts.  So looking forward to kind of reminiscing and going back on all this great content.

Andrew:  You know what?  We have had a lot of great podcasts this year.  There’s the silver lining.  For all the racing we haven’t done, we’ve done a lot of podcast listening.  Next up is pro triathlete and coach, Elizabeth James. Elizabeth came to the sport from a soccer background and quickly rose through the triathlon ranks using TriDot; from a beginner, to top age grouper, to a professional triathlete.  She’s a Kona and Boston Marathon qualifier who has coached triathletes with TriDot since 2014.  Elizabeth, thanks for joining us!

Elizabeth James:  So happy to be here.  As John said, just really looking forward to kind of taking a look back at some of the episodes we’ve done in the past year.

Andrew:  And last but not least is TriDot Coach Jeff Raines.  Jeff has a Master’s of science in Exercise Physiology and was a successful D1 collegiate runner.  He’s qualified for the Boston Marathon multiple times and has raced over 120 triathlons from competitive sprints to full distance IRONMANs.  Jeff has been coaching runners and triathletes since 2009.Jeff Raines, last episode of 2020.Are you ready to go?

Jeff Raines:  Yes sir. As much as we’re glad for 2020 to be over, we learned so much this year on these podcasts and it’s been a pleasure. So thanks to you Andrew.

Andrew:  Awe, gee thanks.  Awe shucks. Well 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 warm up question and then we’re going to settle in for our main set where today we are recapping the best of 2020 in the TriDot podcast.  I’ve asked all of our coaches to pick three podcasts from this year that they want to kind of revisit and play a little highlight from.  So we’re going to kind of relive some of the best advice– swim, bike, and run advice we’ve heard this year and then we’ll wind things down with the cool down.  Lots of good stuff, let's get to it!

Warm up theme:  Time to warm up!  Let’s get moving.

Andrew:  As I said at the top of the show we have had 54 warm up questions so far this year. This is officially the 55th warm up question of the 2020 calendar year.  So my question today guys, it’s pretty simple and I’m really excited to throw this out on social media later today to hear from our athletes on this. But I want to hear from you guys first. What was, in the 54 warm up questions that have been asked so far, what was your favorite warm up question that was asked this year?  Jeff Raines, I’ll start with you.

Jeff:  Well, this wouldn’t be a normal answer if I didn’t give more than one answer.  So I have two.  I really thought it was cool when you asked us if we could put on a triathlon anywhere in the world, where would it be and I think I was on that one. My answer was Estes Park, Colorado. Such a cool place.  We’ve actually had quite a few people on social media reach out just saying they’ve lived there, they’ve been there, they’ve vacationed there, and I’ve had people personally reach out just saying that they second that.  I think more so the fact that people personally reached out to me regarding that answer, that one kind of stuck with me.  Then another one, I think it was some sort of the lines of  if you could have any pro triathlete race alongside you or pace you in an Ironman who would it be?  That one was really neat.  My hero is Craig Alexander.  He always makes his comeback on the run and he’s a little bit stronger on the run than the other disciplines arguably and that’s kind of like me.  So I grew up idolizing him and he would be my pick. Those two are my favorite.

Andrew:  Yep, no. Those are both great picks Jeff. I remember both of those very clearly. Elizabeth James, what is your favorite of the warm up questions asked so far this year?

Elizabeth:  Well, I’m like half laughing already thinking back on this.  My favorite was when you had asked both Raines and John about their favorite Gu flavors. Gosh, like this was my favorite not so much for the actual question or the answer, but the behind the scenes that happened with this question.  I mean, you ask it and Raines literally starts naming every possible flavor of Gu that I have ever heard of and you may think that he mentioned a whole laundry list on the episode itself, but I’m pretty sure Andrew that you even had to cut ten more of those out.  He just kept going on and on and on which is funny that in his warm up response here he’s like, “well, you ask one question but I’m going to give you two things.” He’s got such great advice and certainly can’t stop at just one response.  That Gu question was just full of laughter.  It took us a while to get started recording again.  I was in the other room.  Once you guys got going I had to excuse myself to another place of the house just to make sure that I wasn’t interrupting.  So that would be my favorite really just kind of for that behind the scenes look at what actually happened while recording that day.

Andrew:  Yeah, I think Elizabeth, it was about 8 to 10 minutes of time I had to cut out of that episode where we just…like you said we just died laughing and I kept trying to talk. I kept trying to say what I wanted to say next and I kept laughing which made John start laughing which made Jeff start laughing.  In his defense, I think when I went back and listened to it he only listed like 7, 8, 9.So it really wasn’t numerically a ton, but when you’re expecting one flavor…and it wasn’t like he was like, “oh I like this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one.”  He kind of like, slow played it.  He named one and then “oh, but I also like this one.  Oh, but I also kind of like that one.”  It felt like it kept going and going and going and yeah, we all lost it.  Great podcast memory for us.  We sounded a lot more professional and composed once that one was edited.  But yeah, great answer there Elizabeth.  John Mayfield, what was your favorite warm up question of 2020?

John:  So I’m notoriously bad at the warm up questions.  I seem to struggle to find a good answer, but I saw this one out there and I was like, yes I know this.  This is the easiest warm up question I’ve ever had and then Elizabeth stole my answer. So, yeah…

Andrew:  You were going to pick the Gu flavors?

John:  Yeah. Just every time I’ve thought about it again I can’t help but laugh.  I am confident that is the hardest I had laughed all of 2020 and it was that…and people aren’t going to understand it.  It’s absolutely one of those things where you had to be there.  Like, that’s not funny at all, but that was like tears and belly pain and that was the hardest and longest I’ve laughed all year. So good times guys.  Another great one was kind of a throwback.  It was one of our athletes, Ron Ramos, was talking about how he was starting to become a connoisseur of body aches and pains and it was also kind of fun to hear Andrew try to figure out some terms he’s not familiar with in the wine.  Things like syrah and Sauvignon blanc and pinot that didn’t quite roll off Andrew’s tongue quite as naturally and they ought to.

Andrew:  If people think I’m bad at pronouncing triathlon, I’m even worse at pronouncing the names of different types of wine.  Yeah.

John:  So yeah, that was a great one.  Great comments.  Very witty. So yeah, that was a good one too.

Andrew: Hey guys, we’re going to throw this out on social media.  I trust ya’ll’s answers are going to be fantastic here. Of all the random, crazy, zany warm up questions we’ve had in 2020, which one really stuck with you?  Which one did you enjoy?  Which one did you enjoy hearing us answer and have a good answer for yourself?  We’re going to throw this out on the I AM TriDot Facebook group and hear from you guys.

Main set theme:  On to the main set.  Going in 3…2…1…

GARMIN:  Our main set today is brought to you by our friends at Garmin.  In the fitness and multi-sport market, Garmin products are the gold standard.  Known for their compelling design, superior quality, and best value.  As a triathlete, Garmin can be and should be your very best friend.  They offer best-in-class GPS watches that can track your every swim, bike, and run with ease. When you are out on the bike, Garmin’s Vector Power Pedals can measure those all-important watts while their Edge cycling computers conveniently display all your data in real time as you ride. You can also bring Garmin into your pain cave with their Tacx indoor trainers and accessories.  I tell everyone who will listen that my Tacx FLUX Indoor Smart Trainer is the best investment I have made in my own triathlon training.  The best part is Garmin is fully integrated with TriDot.  So your Garmin Connect and Garmin Health data seamlessly streams to TriDot and your training is continually optimized.  So head to and check out all the cool tech they have to offer.

Andrew:  As we have made very, very clear today this is the last podcast episode of 2020 and as such we just wanted to kind of take some time and relive all of the wonderful triathlon, swim, bike, run, strength, nutrition advice that we’ve received on the podcast this year.  We’ve had some great guests come on this year.  We’ve had some great episodes with doctors BJ Leeper and Dr. Krista Austin. We’ve had some great episodes with the TriDot staff and TriDot team and we’ve gotten some really great stories from athletes in the TriDot podcast audience that we’ve been able to play this year on the podcast.  So it’s really been a fun ride for us to make the show.  We’re always just so happy that you guys, the members of the audience, are enjoying the podcast.  Whenever we meet you at races or camps or At the Races Events all of your kind words are great.  It’s just really cool to hear you connecting with the podcast.  So we’re going to keep rolling into 2021 with more great episodes, but as we wrap up 2020 I’ve asked all of our regular coaches that are on the podcast to just pick three episodes that really stood out to them and so what we’re going to do is go one by one and let our coaches kind of introduce a particular episode.  They’re going to talk about why they really feel like that was a strong episode from this year.  We’re going to play a clip from that episode and then kick around some of the other things that were said on that episode that were memorable or great and that way when we shut the episode down today we’ve adequately relived 2020 and adequately highlighted some of the important tri information that’s been shared on the podcast this year.  So, enough of me introing it.  Let’s get to the good stuff.  Coach Elizabeth James, let’s start with you.  What do you think is the first episode you want to highlight for us today from our 2020 episodes?

Elizabeth:  The first one I’d like to highlight is to go back and take a look at #37 which was, Maintaining Motivation and a Positive Mindset for Training.  This was such an important episode this year just given the circumstances of 2020.  I had a lot of athletes personally reach out to me after this episode as they really connected with some of the struggles that we outlined and I think that everyone experienced times of low motivation this year and it was really important to acknowledge that and support one another.  One of the things that was the greatest takeaway from this episode was when John described that consistency is key, but perfection is not required.

John (playback):  So triathlon is a lifestyle.  We, as a rule, all triathletes want to be healthy, enjoy healthy competition, enjoy the social aspects that come along with triathlon.  So something I’ve said a million times is consistency is critical, but perfection is not required.  I think that comes and goes with that motivation, but sometimes a lack of motivation can be a sign that you need a break.  Sometimes it’s listening to those cues that your body is just telling you.A lack of motivation may be along with a sign of fatigue and the reason you don’t want to get up out of bed to get the session done is that you need to get another hour of sleep or you need a day of rest to recover from previous training.  Sometimes it can work together and there are other times where sometimes just bad decisions are setting you up for failure.  Sometimes it’s not getting enough sleep or engaging in activities that don’t promote getting those sessions in.  Then there are other times when you just need to suck it up and get it done.  Sometimes the motivation isn’t there, but you’ve just got to find a way and kind of dig deep to get out there and do it.  As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to be glad that you did.  It’s going to suck to start.  It’s going to suck as you get out there, but inevitably at the end of the session you’ll be glad you did.  Something I think that’s key is good habits trump motivation.  So when you are in a routine, when you have those good habits that are setting you up for success, you’re going to rely much less on that motivation and you can just default back to that thing that happens automatic. That habit that is already established. When you have those good habits, motivation I think is really less of a factor.

Andrew:  That’s great stuff John.  Do we need a John Mayfield self-help, inspirational book?

Elizabeth:  Yeah, I think I should just have that saved as a voice memo on my phone.  You know, something I go back and listen to every week. Being a perfectionist this one is hard for me, but I also think that’s why it’s so important.

Jeff:  Yeah, I love that consistency is key, but not every single day is going to be perfect. Especially this time of year.  The end of the year, end of the season, new season starting, maybe we’re indoors more than outdoors.  So staying motivated most people are motivated as the year’s about to start.  They’re ready to get back at it, but the consistency aspect may look different this time of year versus mid-season and stuff like that.  That’s good stuff John.  Thank you.

Andrew: I remember just peeling back the curtain from the planning/production side of things. This was maybe one of the first episodes that we did that we weren’t planning on doing, but a lot of athletes on the Facebook page were starting to say, “Hey, I don’t have races.  I’m losing my motivation.  How are you guys keeping motivation up for this year? It’s been crazy.”  So we decided to do this episode and really talk about being motivated and staying consistent in your training and the ebbs and flows of the seasonality of endurance sport training.  So again, for all of our listeners, thank you so much for letting us know where you’re at and what you’re going through as athletes so that we can speak to it and talk to it.  Okay.  Let’s keep it moving.  John Mayfield, what was your first episode that you wanted to highlight as a best of 2020 episode?

John:  I wanted to highlight the episode with Luca Parmitano, Spaceman to Ironman, primarily because he’s such a cool guy.  It got a lot of good feedback and even just getting the opportunity to record this episode was special for me.  So he had been in space from July of ‘19 through February of 2020.  It was right around the time that things started to shut down and we went into somewhat of our shutdown mode.  So prior to doing this recording with Luca, I had only had one opportunity to see him.  One of my best friends that I hadn’t seen in months and months.

Andrew:  Because he was in space, naturally.

John:  Yeah, he was in space.  And then we were in 2020 mode.  He has since moved to Germany so went from being my best friend that lived across the street to spending six months in outer space and now living across the sea. This is one of the few opportunities I had in that time to spend a little bit with him and it was just so cool to get to share with everyone all about a cool guy that I’ve had the opportunity to get to know so well.

Luca Parmitano (playback):  First of all, it starts with getting to Kona, and it was the first time for me to go to Big Island and the excitement, and at the same time, the sense of familiarity.  I was born on an island and grew up on an island, and it's a volcanic island, Sicily. I lived right under a volcano for most of my life and as a teenager.  So the lava rock and the vegetation and the air, the feeling in the air, the breeze of the sea, those are all familiar feelings and so it was exciting and familiar at the same time.  Then it continues with watching all the athletes getting ready for the big day, participating in all the pre-race activities.  And then the dawn, showing up way before dawn to set up, and the excitement the butterflies in your stomach feeling that every racer, no matter how experienced, has before the day of the race.  Dig Me Beach and treading into the water to get set up, and super emotional speech by the guy that's getting ready to fire the cannon. Then the sound, and all those arms and legs and water going around.  The swells were pretty hard that day, the water was tough, and the swim was hard. I had planned to stay with Chris, and that plan lasted about two seconds, and then I was on my own.  The clarity of the water and the beauty of the swim with the fatigue that comes with it, and then finally coming out of the water and through the shower.  Then the happiness of having a swim behind you, and jumping on the bike.  And like everybody I know has experienced that happiness then lasts about an hour, because then two hours later you're thinking I can't wait to be running.

Elizabeth:  One of my other favorite parts of that episode though was when Luca was describing training in space and just how does an astronaut stay conditioned when they’re in a zero gravity environment.  So I thought that was really cool.

Andrew:  The first episode that I want to highlight as just a best of 2020.  I know a lot of our athletes liked this episode and I picked this one, episode 41, Is Aero Everything: Answers from a Specialized Wind Tunnel Engineer.  Guys, this one literally helped me on race day just a few weeks ago because when we were on with Jesse Frank, one of the engineers from the Specialized Win Tunnel, we talked about a lot of things.  John and I interviewed him.  We learned a lot of things, but there was one concrete piece of advice that he gave us that really helped me out when we were talking about how much time a guy can save by shaving his leg hair.  So I sent Jesse a picture of my leg hair.  Jesse told me based on an eyeball rough analysis of my leg hair that I could save about 2-½ to 3 minutes on a 70.3 and so myself and my triathlon coach, John Mayfield, decided that before Challenge Daytona 2020 I should shave my leg hair.  And I did.I PR’d my bike split.

John:  You crushed your bike split.  You destroyed your bike split.

Andrew:  Hey, you know what!?  Thanks John! Thanks Coach!  But this whole episode is just chalk full of aero advice on ways for us to save time on race day.  One of the questions I asked Jesse that I want to highlight here…this is Jesse Frank talking about, I asked him out of all the aero things– all the contraptions, all the attachments, all the aftermarket purchases, upgrades, what are the most important ones for triathletes to focus on and here was Jesse’s response.

Jesse Frank (playback):  What aero product makes the biggest difference?  Apparel makes a huge difference.  You can go on to YouTube, and type in Specialized Win Tunnel (Win, without the ‘d’), and there's a series of videos that kind of get at this question in a more specific way.Because we have our own wind tunnel, we're able to fool around, I guess, and answer some weird questions that people have.  And so, we can look at the differences in helmets or skin suits or like baggy clothes versus tight clothing.  We've seen a nice tight fitting skin suit versus a baggy or like windbreaker could save 5 minutes over the course of an Ironman.

Andrew (playback): Wow.

Jesse (playback):  That's… you know, you're not changing your effort at all, it's just what you're wearing.  And then going from just a tight skin suit to a skin suit with some kind of texture on the sleeves can be even more time.  Wheels are another pretty good bang for your buck option there and also an aero helmet.  Nowadays, there's a lot of options out there with aero helmets.  You can go for the full like tailed aero helmet, like our S-Works TT helmet.  You can go for more of an aero road helmet like Specialized Evade.

Andrew (playback): Then Evade.

Jesse (playback):  Exactly.  And so, that's another really common question I get, “Well, what helmet should I wear?  Should I use a TT helmet or should I use an aero road helmet?”

Andrew (playback): It depends.

Jesse (playback):  Thank you!  You can read my mind.  You guys are very good listeners, you learn quickly. It just depends on how your head sits and how the helmet interacts with your back.

John:  So as you mentioned there was a lot of good stuff in that episode and a lot of it was kind of a classy answer that we use a lot.  I think his top answer for all the questions we asked was it depends.  Wind does funny things and there’s things that are counterintuitive and I think one of the takeaways there is that it’s not always about getting the most expensive thing or the fanciest thing that sometimes– like one of the things he said we often think about is lower is better and they’ve largely disproven that that there’s an optimal front end height for every cyclist kind of depending on the bike, their bodies, and all that sort of thing. So lower isn’t always better. That’s kind of a carnal rule, is it really depends on athlete to athlete and I think really what trumps everything is comfort and being able to generate power and then aerodynamics.  It’s so hard to nail down without having access to the Win Tunnel like Jesse does.  It’s almost impossible to know whether that massive investment in something that’s supposed to be aero is going to be beneficial or not.  So a lot of good stuff in that episode.  Very entertaining and very informative.

Andrew:  Yep.  I love learning from people who are smarter than me and Jesse Frank when it comes to aerodynamics was smarter than John and I. We learned a lot on that episode. Coach Jeff Raines, what was the first episode that you want to highlight for us today?  

Jeff:  You know, I think all of the ones with Dr. Austin are amazing.  She has been just a great recurring guest.  Just a plethora of knowledge and just a pleasure to work with in general.  I think one of the big podcasts that she was on just the pre-race fueling episode for race day success.  Then we kind of titled it and porta potty prevention.  It’s just kind of that idea of why train all year long to possibly sabotage your race by what you're eating the week of, the night before, and the morning of.  Are we eating enough?  Are we eating too much?  Are we eating the right and wrong things?  So just that knowledge and insight just hit home with me.  I think as coaches we can all agree that I would even argue 9/10 of our athletes tend to not eat enough during the race and especially even before and the night before and stuff like that.  So episode 32.

Dr. Krista Austin (playback):  Well, the importance of pre-race meals comes down to the fact that when we go to bed at night we actually put our body in a very slight state, hopefully if we’ve been eating appropriately, of what we call reduced energy availability.  That means we’ve been without fuel for at least probably an 8 to 10 hour window and so the body has technically dipped a little bit in terms of energy stores especially just like liver glycogen and we want to restore that.  Especially the longer the race that you head into, the more important this actually is.  Because we’re trying to say, “okay, how much energy can I give myself to work off of during the actual race?”  You’ll hear some athletes who don’t necessarily prep well and do their pre-race meal well say “gosh, I got hungry in the middle of the race.  Why was that?”  And I said, “well, how much did you eat prior to the start and let’s look at how much you’ve burned while you were out there.”  And all of a sudden you realize there’s this huge differential and it’s one of the reasons they may get hungry during an actual race.

Andrew:  Yeah, so Jeff I love this clip that you selected because first of all I have used this clip in conversations with my wife multiple times.  When I wake up in the morning I immediately want coffee and breakfast.  I don’t want to do anything until I’ve had coffee and breakfast, particularly coffee, but also breakfast.  And my wife, she will just kind of naturally do a couple of things around the house, maybe even sit down at her desk and start working before she eats anything. Sometimes it’s lunchtime and we’re having lunch together and she’s like, “oh, you know I never had breakfast.”  So I literally used Dr. Austin’s words against her here.  I’m like, “when you wake up in the morning your body is already at a calorie deficit and it’s already at an energy deficit.  I know this because Dr. Austin told me and now I know this.”  So I love the clip you selected and obviously all of Dr. Austin’s are just so, so good.  Coach Elizabeth, let’s move on to your second clip.  What would you say is the second episode you want to highlight for us today?

Elizabeth:  I definitely want to go back and look again at the episode we recorded with Tim O’Donnell. Gosh, this was episode #60.  A great episode.  One of the things that stuck out to me as we were recording it and then again when I listened to it when it was published was where T.O. was talking about his broken foot headed into Kona 2019.

Tim O’Donnell (playback):  When I broke my foot and thought I was not going to be able to start I was crushed and that night I went and got an MRI.  The tech wasn’t supposed to say anything, but he was like, “oh yeah, that foot is super broken.”  And I’m like, “Dude you’re not the doctor.”

Andrew (playback):"I see a lot of feet, and that foot is no good!"

Elizabeth (playback):That is not okay, yeah!

Tim (playback):It does not take an M.D. degree to figure this one out.  It is broken. So I went home, and I got a really nice bottle of wine, I drank it by myself on the couch, and I'm like, "Okay, you got one night of a pity party, and then tomorrow you're gonna figure out your best path forward, and you're not gonna focus on things that are out of your control."  The fact that I couldn't run at that point was out of my control, so I focused on swimming and keeping my body loose with body work and things like that.  And then when I could, I focused on riding and becoming the best rider I could, especially since I couldn't run.  I could focus more on that.  It just took some pressure off me to be honest, and when I got to Kona, I was just filled with so much gratitude that I was able to participate in this race.

Elizabeth:  So a couple things that I really wanted to just go back and highlight from that clip in particular.  I think first is that it’s okay to experience times of disappointment and that that’s a natural thing.  But then it’s also important to, as he said, figure out your best path forward and focus in on what you can control.  Then I just love how T.O. talked about entering race day with that attitude of gratitude.

Andrew:   Yep, no.  It was definitely a pleasure.  Such a fun conversation that Elizabeth and I got to have with him and heard some great stories with some great tri advice.  He gave some advice for folks going into their first-time Ironman to be patient and control what you can control.  I took that to heart as I’m training for my first Ironman.  So great pick, Elizabeth.  Obviously it was a pleasure to have him on.  Coach John Mayfield, as we’re going through our second picks, what is your second pick for a best of 2020 episode?

John:  So my second pick is episode 57, Normalized Training Stress: Quantifying Stress for Your Success. This highlighted our NTS feature which was really a long time coming.  It was something that had been in the works for a while and something that was really needed.  The traditional methods of quantifying training stress have so many holes in them. They really don’t provide the decision insight that people think they do and oftentimes triathletes and coaches are basing training and a lot of training decisions on really faulty metrics that don’t really tell what they think they’re telling.  They’re flawed insights and then if you’re basing decisions on flawed data then you’re not getting good outcomes from there.  The episode really dives into a lot of what goes into NTS and how we quantify the training stress that each session does and then in turn how training is prescribed based on achieving a certain specific desired training stress.  I think it’s just a great thing for a high level to those that are maybe learning for the first time about training stress and the effect on the body and the role it plays in training as far as those that have been in it for a long time that really understand and dive into the data and the metrics and all that.

John (playback):So the major limitation here with those traditional methods is that they treat all training stress the same, but we know that there are different types of training stress.  We have aerobic stress, there’s threshold stress, muscular, neural stress.  These are all very different adaptations and achieved in different ways with different results.  So this is critical in designing your training to know what is the system that you’re trying to train.  What is the desired adaptation?  Without making these distinctions then you can’t achieve those.  So you could achieve a score and only do aerobic stress or only do aerobic activity.  You could only do threshold, but in order for an athlete to realize their true potential they need to be trained in each one of these.  So what we’re able to do here is break it down by that training stress and treat it accordingly so therefore we can design training that provides the full spectrum of training and adaptation to that athlete.

Elizabeth:  I just loved this episode.  I think one thing to really come back to is that triathletes often get really excited about accumulation metrics and how many miles did I run? What was the stress that I got from this?  One of the things that I just love most about this episode is the explanation of how NTS is calculated and how it’s different than those accumulation metrics.

Andrew:  Coach Jeff Raines, what is your second episode that you want to highlight for us today?

Jeff:  Oh, my second one’s got to be one of the Brendan Hansen episodes.  He’s a good friend of mine.  Those were amazing episodes.  I’m going to pick #21: Translating Pool Training to the Open Water with Olympic Gold Medalist, Brendan Hansen.  A key thing in that episode was just kind of trying not to fix everything in one swim session.  I say this a lot to all my athletes almost every time we talk.  I’ve said this on many podcasts, but being intentional and Brendan talks a lot about that.  When you’re in the pool focus on one thing, be intentional in that one thing, and that’s how you see those improvements.  If you just try to fix everything all at once it creates chaos and you become unmotivated.  I love his insight.  Whenever I meet him in person or whenever I listen to one of those podcasts again I am so pumped up.  I want to go like do my 5K assessment in TriDot.  I want to go break the world record in a 100 meter dash or just do something great.  He’s so motivating.

Brendan Hansen (playback):  What's funny is I think the thing that helped me the most, because I think back to your question of did you do triathlons and then like I did triathlons for two years and then came back and swam competitively in the 2012 Olympics.  Before we started recording, I told you guys like that was a huge component of my mindset going into it.   Where a lot of athletes don't pay attention to the swimming– or I'm sorry, with the process-oriented in the moment, you have to be 100% present in what you're doing.  When you're racing, being 100% present in what you're doing while you're doing it, is the way to be successful.  By that, I mean, I'm sitting next to Jeff Raines who literally has done 120 triathlons, right.  With that amount of time in the saddle, he absolutely knows what certain areas feel like.  Right?  So, and they don't, it doesn't-- it could be different per course, right?  Like and I think that one thing that I–

Andrew (playback):Yeah. It can be different on the same course on a different time, a different day.

Brendan (playback): One thing that really helped me when I started to work through triathlon, and what I really took into the 2012 Olympics, and really helped me in that race where I won the bronze medal was, as soon as it started to hurt, I realized, I told myself it's hurting for every single person right now.  And this is where your technique, your training, your coaching, every one of those things becomes a weapon and you can utilize those to become better.  That's what I took from triathlon and brought that perspective and mindset of, okay, that's going to happen.  30-40 meters into this race, you're going to start to hurt.  You're going to feel like knives in your legs, things are going to start to lock up, but what are you doing right now to, in a sense, stay in the present and be 100% present?

Andrew:  Yeah, so to your point Jeff, he competed in two different Olympics.  He then stepped away from the Olympics and competed in triathlon and then when he went back to the Olympics just to have some lessons that he took away from the sport of triathlon that helped him in his bronze medal race and it was just really cool to see him light up talking about Olympics.  The next episode I’m going to highlight is one of our newer episodes.  It was episode 58.  It was called Risky Business: Are Training Injuries Inevitable?  Now I am an athlete that gets injured fairly often.  I did the Physiogenomix.  I uploaded my genome file.  I found out, TriDot confirmed, I have a high injury predisposition.  I get injured really easily.  I pick up little foot pains, knee pains, soft tissue pains just on a whim.  Everything can be going great for weeks and then I’ve got something that all of a sudden starts bugging me.  So just talking about almost the injury theory, you know…do we have to get injured? With the impact of our sport, the impact it takes on our joints to run.  The miles and miles we have to put in to be ready for race day.  Is it just inevitable that we will get injured? Hearing Dr. BJ Leeper talk about that was so fascinating.  He knows so much.  Here’s a little clip, one of my favorites from this episode where he’s talking about being a sniper and knowing your body and knowing the injuries your body typically deals with and how to deal with them.

Dr. BJ Leeper (playback):  This adage I’ve learned lately that I’ve been using a lot is “You don’t go to sniper school to learn how to shoot.  You go to sniper school to learn how to aim.”  And I think that’s the key.  What are we aiming at?  How can we become a sniper within our own fitness and preventative care versus just shooting at a bunch of things.  I think we try to be maybe proactive in some regards and I think a lot of times we’re just shooting at things and we’re following, “oh my magazine told me top ten things I should be doing” and…

Andrew (playback):“Here’s the top ten stretches all cyclists should be doing before your rides.”

Dr. Leeper (playback):Right.  And maybe you get lucky and maybe one of those things catches you where you need it and it helps, but maybe you’re just shooting and maybe you’re just exercising and putting fitness on dysfunction.  Maybe you’d be better off not even doing any of those and that’s assuming any of us are taking the time to even pursue something.  A lot of us don’t even take that time to pursue something else.  So I think the first key to prevention and really setting our bodies up right is just being a sniper and I think that starts with knowing your body, knowing your previous history, and thinking about, “okay, I know I’ve had this issue before and maybe it’s not an issue now, but I want to make sure it doesn’t become an issue later.  What can I do to pursue something to affect that?”  I think the best way to do it is to seek a professional and obviously I’m biased because this is what I do, but I think seeking a professional that’s good in becoming a sniper and for you and helping you with that.

John:  So this is something I think oftentimes triathletes tend to neglect.  I know I’m certainly guilty of that, but you can do all the right training and do it all right, but there’s a component of recovery that has to be built in too.  I think that’s most often when we increase our injury predisposition is when we don’t take care of our bodies and do things like all the things BJ describes in this episode that are necessary to keep the bodies healthy, allow the muscles to recover, and allow us to prevent injury. So yeah, it’s just a great episode full of good stuff to really allow us to keep our bodies in top condition.

Andrew:  Elizabeth James, what is the third clip that you want to present for us today?

Elizabeth:  I want to go back and take a look at episode #27 which was Don’t Miss the Most Valuable Training Block of the Season.  I almost suggested that we just go back and play Jeff Booher’s Yoda impersonation from...

Andrew:  The whole episode?

Elizabeth:  Well, yeah.  I mean, just replay the whole episode.  But no. I was joking that gosh, he made a Yoda impersonation at the beginning…

Jeff Booher (playback): “Mm, three minutes you can do.”

Elizabeth:  And that was just awesome!  But, I think one of the biggest takeaways from the episode was kind of one of the guiding principles in TriDot training with the fast before far and strong before long.

John (playback): So one of the things we talk about fairly often is one of our kind of core mantras within TriDot is fast before far and strong before long.  So that’s speaking to building this functional threshold prior to building that stamina.  So we want to get fast before we take on these longer races knowing that it’s that functional threshold that’s going to power us through those long races.  When we talk about that this is really what we’re talking about and this is how that’s achieved.  This is how we get fast before far and strong before long because it’s the difference of training specifically for functional threshold as opposed to training for stamina.

Elizabeth: And I think that this is just so timely right now too as most athletes are currently in their development phase which is the most important block.

Jeff:  Yeah, I can’t stress that enough with my athletes. Like the TriDot developmental period comes first and stamina comes later.  I mean, it’s that simple.  Having that strength first so that we can build safe stamina around that strength later on is what is key.  Too much volume too early in the season it just creates bad habits and even injury if the strength isn’t there to support that volume and those extra miles become junk miles.  So good choice.  Loved that episode.

Andrew:  Coach John Mayfield, what is the third episode you want to give a shoutout to today?

John:  So my third is the episode we did with Rachael Maney, the National Director for Bike Law.  The episode was called A Crash Course in Cycling Safety.  I think it was perhaps one of the most important episodes that we’ve done.  It was very informative to me; learned a lot about even some of the legalities of cycling and when crashes happen.  It was great to know that there’s an organization out there that’s advocating for cyclists and representing cyclists and fighting for our rights as well as advocating for safety and really helping to educate drivers.  So it was also great to get permission to wear black and not have to dress like a disco ball wrapped in Christmas lights every time we go out to ride, but I think also reinforcing that that rear blinking light is a non-negotiable for rides is key.  So just an episode full of great information.

Rachael Maney (playback):I think just going back to what you just said about the importance of words.  When you call it a bike accident you are taking the agency or the accountability or responsibility away from the motorist and as a vulnerable road user, whether you’re a cyclist, a pedestrian, a construction worker, someone in a wheelchair, on a scooter, even a motorcyclist the responsibility is and should be greater for the person who has more power, right?  With greater power comes greater responsibility.  I think that that’s an important thing to keep in mind. It’s important to recognize that bicyclists had a right to the road long before the invention of the car.  We are expected to follow the same rules and laws. We’re expected to ride predictably and responsibly and lawfully and just because we’re not encapsulated in a 3000 pound death machine doesn’t mean that our rights are lesser than.  I think that one of the things that we can do as cyclists and as triathletes is to encourage people to denounce the idea that we are second class citizens on the road.

Elizabeth:  Such a great episode there.  Yeah, super informative.  Rachael also shares some great information about what to do and what not to do if you’re involved in a bicycle crash.  So definitely worth going back to and taking another listen.

Andrew:  Yep, absolutely.  Rachael was just a joy to talk to.  We had her on again just to talk about women’s involvement in the sport of cycling and that was another great conversation that Elizabeth and I had with her and then John and I were kind of pseudo, semi talked into going and racing Challenge Daytona based off our conversations with Rachael and we just had a great time there.  Alright. Coach Jeff Raines, what is your third clip and episode you want to share with us today?

Jeff:  My final clip is going to be episode 47.  It’s the episode titled Consider the Conditions: Adjusting Intensities to Your Training Environment.  I love hearing from Jeff Booher.  I love hearing kind of where it all began and what the mindset was, different aspects of this wonderful world of TriDot.  But it was really cool to understand the environmental normalization. TriDot is optimized training, but something that TriDot does that no one else does is changing the paces and power zones based on the environmental conditions each and every day.  I loved hearing Jeff Booher explain a little bit of that.

Jeff Booher (playback):  So obviously it’s adjusting your paces and power, your FTP on all the paces derived from your FTP which is your functional threshold pace, functional threshold power, to accommodate or to account for the environment.  So that’s a process.  It’s a two-step process.  It’s kind of bidirectional rather than two steps I guess.  One is– so it takes performances.  It could be an assessment, it could be a race, it could be just a workout and your data file from XYZ location at certain altitude, certain temperature, humidity, and then it normalizes that back to base values.  So what would that individual athlete– what would you have done if it had been at the base values of sea level, 59 degrees, 30% humidity?

Andrew (playback):Which is like just the optimal…

Jeff Booher (playback):It’s like, that’s the base. That’s the reference point.  That is the base reference point for normalization. So normalization goes from an actual somewhere, theoretical, or whatever environment that is anywhere in the world and normalizes it back to base value.  Then going the other direction from base to any other location or environment is called localization.  So now you’re localizing it.  You know the athlete’s base value for their FTP and other metrics so you’re able to push that out and environment normalize it in a localizing fashion so you’re environment localizing it to Denver, Colorado at whatever.  Or Galveston, Texas 90 degrees and 80% humidity. Whatever that is and be able to account for that and to prescriptively give the appropriate paces on what you should do so that you’re in those right zones for the right amount of time.

John:  So environment normalization is huge.  It’s so obvious and understood to athletes that training and racing in all these different environments are very different experiences and affect the body in different ways and you’re able to hold different paces and different intensities depending on the environment that you’re in.  So training and racing at 50 degrees and sea level is different than training in the heat or humidity or elevation, yet no one is accounting for these things.  They have such a huge impact and yet they’re largely left to guesswork or ignored or kind of good luck with that.  So I think this is one of the things that really sets TriDot apart and this episode does a great job of explaining exactly what environment normalization is, how it affects the body, how it affects training, and really from beginning to end when we were talking about normalizing assessments.  Those assessments then influence your training and then your training then influences racing.  All of that the environment is a critical component in that yet oftentimes is overlooked or ignored.  So that’s a great episode.

Andrew:  The final one that I would like to highlight…we can all agree that 2020 was not a normal year by any stretch of the imagination.  One of the things for us triathletes that was abnormal about 2020 was access to pools.  You know, throughout the year, different times of the year based on what your country, what your community, what precautions were being taken for COVID-19 folks were losing access to pools, gaining access to pools, losing it again.  Some folks at the time of this recording have lost swim center access for another stretch of time and so something we were all doing that we’re not normally used to doing in the training routine was dry-land swim training.  So in a normal year I would not call a podcast episode about dry-land swim training to be one of the best, most important episodes, but man we have three sports to train for.  One of them is the swim.  If you don’t have access to a pool or are going to lose it or might lose it again, man the dry-land swim training can really save your bacon and here are our coaches from episode 35 talking a little bit more about that.

Jeff Raines (playback):  So during these times the benefits of these tubing workouts or even just dry-land in general is to maintain or even build strength and improve your technique.  So let’s just say you don’t have access to a pool. Maybe you’re traveling for a week. Maybe it isn’t Coronavirus related. Maybe you’re just out of town for a week.  You can’t get in the pool so your goal is to maintain your strength that you have built in the water or even build it a little bit through creating resistance. The tubing bands will create resistance that is greater than the density of the water that you’re pulling against; catching and pulling against in the water.  So you can build your swim strength by doing dry-land training.  So you can improve your swimming greatly without even being in the water.  Really due to the buoyancy of water, arguably 80 to 90% of your weight is taken against gravity due to the buoyancy of the water.  So the endurance aspect of swimming comes back quicker…

Andrew (playback):Oh, I gotcha.

Jeff Raines (playback):When you get back in the pool.  So when you can’t get in the pool for a period of time…

Andrew (playback):Normally when we hear that stat we think that oh there’s less stress on our body.  There’s less stress on our joints and that’s kind of the advantage there, but it also helps us build stamina quicker because we’re not carrying as much of our own weight in that sport.

Jeff Raines (playback):  Absolutely.

Andrew (playback):Okay, interesting.

Jeff Raines (playback):  So dry-land does not have to be quite as long as the actual time you would spend in the pool. So if you’re substituting an hour 20 minute swim workout with dry-land exercises you don’t need to sit there and do tubing for an hour and 20 minutes, or an hour ten.  You can cut that down.

Jeff Raines: What was really interesting was all the data we collected with our study of the dry-land swim tubing and we sent out…three times a week we sent out recommended tubing exercises, regimens to follow.  What was really interesting is that those who followed the TriDot dry-land tubing in 2020, they only slowed down one second per 100 on average.  So they went a majority a huge hunk of the year, didn’t swim once, but they did our tubing, our dry land swim training, and when they returned to the pool they did an assessment and in that 200 yard or 200 meter swim they were able to maintain their strength and/or build it or improve their technique even and their strength and thresholds essentially didn’t change.  Obviously there might be a stamina aspect there, but it just proved and showed that we neglect or don’t include dry-land swim training enough in our year-to-year, week-to-week, month-to-month training regimen.

Andrew:  I want to personally thank each of you for kind of taking some time to pull three podcast moments from 2020 that you feel were just really strongly worth revisiting as we close out the year here.  Now, I do want to say this.  With so many episodes I know I found it just incredibly hard to choose just three.  But, hey. You know the great thing is every episode that we’ve ever recorded is uploaded.  It’s still there ready to be listened to.  People can revisit these whenever they want to or need to as a topic finds itself to be interesting or pertinent.  But guys, as we head into 2021 and this new triathlon season that’s coming up, what is maybe one more episode that you want to give a shoutout to? We’re not going to play a clip from it, but you just want to encourage folks to maybe go back and listen to as they’re getting ready for their next season.  Elizabeth, I’ll start with you.

Elizabeth:  Well, I kind of feel like Raines here because I don’t want to highlight just one.  I’m going to give you two, but that’s because they are very much related.  So episodes 45 and 46…

Andrew:  Awe yes!

Elizabeth:  …were our episodes on the impact of triathlon training on men’s health or women’s health, and such a good wealth of information there. In training we’re pushing our bodies to just incredible limits and it’s so important to make sure that we keep our health in mind and understand how to take care of ourselves while we’re striving for the finish line.  Dr. Austin just did a great job of emphasizing the importance and also diving in on very specific things for men and women to take into consideration with their triathlon training.

Andrew:  Yep, absolutely.  That’s a must listen to.  I know one of our athletes, Randy, shared his story on the podcast of how he listened to those episodes and realized that what Dr. Austin was describing in terms of energy availability and being energy deficient was describing him and he was able to reach out to her and do a consultation and get some help and is now kind of back to the regular energy levels he should have in his training.  So yes, absolutely vital episodes there.  Coach John Mayfield, what is one more you want to give a quick shoutout to that folks should go back and listen to before they start heading into the 2021 session?

John:  I think perhaps the most timely episode, episode 17:Effective Goal Setting. We discussed the why, how, who, what, and when. So the first of the year is kind of the time when most people do start to set their goals and I think especially coming off of 2020 heading into ‘21.  I know personally I had goals that I didn’t have the opportunity to fully pursue and some of those are just getting punted to ‘21, but it’s also a great time to reevaluate.  Were the goals big enough?  Were the goals appropriate?  What are the opportunities now headed into this new year?  So I think that’s a great episode to listen and just would encourage everyone to set big goals for ‘21.

Andrew:  Yep dream big.  Set those goals.  Yeah, that was a really great episode that Coach Elizabeth I know was on and shared some really, really great moments.  So go listen to Coach Elizabeth James give you some great tips on goal setting. Coach Jeff Raines, what is the last episode that you want to give a shoutout to today?

Jeff:  You know, I can’t go a podcast without mentioning something run related.  So it’s going to have to be episodes 23 and/or 56 which are “Better Biomechanics” and then also “Triathletes on the Run.”  What we tried to do in these run specific podcasts were give you, kind of, I call it “by the numbers.”  We’re so kind of data driven.  I’ve got so much to do, just tell me what to do, and I want to wake up and do it or whatever.  So just talking about what is perfect running form, right?  You know, 80 to 90 degree arm swing and just give you these ranges, these numbers, go with it.  Hopefully those nuggets kind of stick in your mind so when you’re out running you’re hearing some of us, maybe EJ and myself, kind of coaching you in the back of your mind having heard some of these little nuggets of info and numbers as they relate to the run.  So go back and listen to those and think of us while you’re out in the elements.

Andrew:  My last second, go back and listen to this episode as you head into the new year recommendation is last week’s episode, 65: “Optimizing Your Race Execution.”  It’s a new one.  It just came out last week, but gosh by golly, as you head into your 2021 races man you need to know what RaceX is, you need to know how to use it, you need to make sure that you’ve gone to and gotten yourself set up to play with all the new features there in our newest iteration of RaceX.  We train too hard to go out there on race day and not be ready with a plan to just fully optimize our race.  So if you have not listened to last week’s episode, #65, one– why are you listening to this one without having listened to that one?Go in order obviously.  But two– go back, check that one out, and thank me later.

Cool down theme:  Great set everyone!  Let’s cool down.

Andrew:  So for our cool down today, same question as I asked the coaches, but now directed at you, our athletes and listeners.  A few weeks back I threw out the question, what was your favorite TriDot podcast of 2020?And we got some great responses and saw some trends from what you had to say.  A lot of you mentioned episode #10: Escaping the Power-Stamina Paradox. That’s a great episode.  We totally would have mentioned that one ourselves, but it was technically the last show of 2019.  But listen, I’m glad it made an impression on everyone as it really, really was a key episode talking about tri training.  A lot of you mentioned episodes with special guests like Jesse Frank from Specialized, astronaut Luca Parmitano, Olympian Brendan Hansen, pro triathlete Tim O’Donnell, and Kona legend Kurt Madden. We love getting fresh voices on the show and I can’t wait to see who we get in 2021 to talk to you.  Almost everyone gave a shoutout to our nutrition guru, Dr. Krista Austin.  I will for sure pass all of your kind comments on to her.  She will definitely be on the podcast in 2021 to continue guiding us through the wonderful world of nutrition.

There were a few other comments I wanted to share before we wrap it up today.  Troy Willis, a TriDot Ambassador that I saw several times in his TriDot kit while racing Challenge Daytona he said, “I have to say the special guests and heroes of tri have been really enjoyable, but the ones targeted at older athletes and aging triathletes have been the most interesting to me.”  Troy my friend, you may be an aging athlete– well technically we’re all aging athletes, but sir you for your age absolutely crushed Daytona. Congrats on your great result.  It was great to meet you out there on course. Nicole, she listed a bunch of episodes and then added at the end of her comment, “P.S. I love pumpkin spice.” Nicole, my apologies if I hated on pumpkin spice a little too much.  Next time you are at a race with either me or one of our TriDot podcast coaches make sure one of us buys you a pumpkin spice latte on behalf of TriDot.  Tom said, “I think mine will be episode 64, even though I haven't listened to it yet.”  Now Tom said this before episode 64 came out and since then that episode is out.  It is all about optimizing our performance on race day.  Great episode with Coach Elizabeth James and TriDot founder Jeff Booher.  So, smart man Tom.  Smart pick.  Molly said, “I enjoyed all of them, but the one that always comes back to me is the one on grit.”  That was episode 40: Increasing Your Grit Factor.  That’s a great pick Molly.  Last comment I want to share comes from Robert.  He said, “They’ve all been good.  I’ve tried other triathlon podcasts, but they can’t compare.  The best has to be #1 hands down.  It gave me that sense that I’m in the right place.” So episode 1 technically doesn’t count for 2020. It was a 2019 episode, but Robert that was such a great episode and I loved your comment about it.  So we’re going to count this one today.  Episode 1 was I AM TriDot and it was just all about the family that is TriDot and how your data, my data, it all goes into this wonderful training plan that is TriDot.

Well, that’s it for today folks.  A big thanks to our coaches for recapping the best of the best tri advice from our podcast episodes here in 2020.  Thanks to all of you for listening.  We can’t wait to keep the podcast rolling into 2021 and gosh, I sure hope we get some more races going so we can really start hitting some more of those race day topics.  We’ll see you guys in 2021.  Until then, happy New Year and 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 and start your free trial today!  TriDot – the obvious and automatic choice for triathlon training.