Mikael Eriksson

Introduction

Mikael Eriksson - Scientific Triathlon - Triathlon Coach

Mikael Eriksson

TRIATHLON & ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE COACH

Mikael is the founder of Scientific Triathlon, which he founded in 2015. He has been working as a triathlon coach full-time since 2017, helping athletes from beginner to professional level achieve wide-ranging goals, from completing their first triathlon through qualifying for World Championship events and even racing and making a living as a professional athlete.

Read More

Mikael has a holistic and pragmatic approach to coaching. He does not favour any one “method” of training, but rather sees all training methods as tools in a toolbox that will benefit certain individuals at certain times. By closely monitoring the athlete’s training response, by having good communication and a good coach-athlete relationship, and through plenty of experience working with a wide variety of athletes, he strives to find the right training for the individual athlete at this moment in time.

A good coach-athlete relationship based on open and honest communication is the foundation of Mikael’s coaching philosophy. This is the number one thing separating coaching from a training plan. With good communication, the athlete’s training can be dynamically adjusted as and when needed. Equally importantly, this communication educates the athlete so that over time they will be able to execute their training, racing, and even day-to-day life around training better, to adapt and perform better. Coaching is not a one-way street for Mikael. Feedback and suggestions from the athlete is not just welcome, but essential to further optimise the individualised training process.

With a background in engineering, Mikael is systematic in his training planning and monitoring. He is very well-versed in using and understanding data, as well as reading and understanding scientific research. A deep understanding of these two things means not just using data and scientific research, but having a great understanding of the limitations of them and when it is not appropriate to use or implement them. In a world abundant with data and “sciency-sounding” advice, Mikael is able to filter the good use cases from the bad.

Improving triathlon or endurance performance is not just about physiology. Mikael considers psychology, biomechanics, and social and environmental factors, to give his athletes the best possible opportunity to develop and improve their performance. Very importantly, “social factors” include family and work commitments. Finding the right balance here is a task Mikael takes very seriously, and he is not afraid to tell an athlete to take a day off and spend this time with their family if it seems like the balance is slightly off. 

  • Nationality: Finland
  • Languages: Swedish (native), English (fluent), Finnish (fluent), Portuguese (intermediate)
  • Education: Master’s degree (M.Sc., Hons) in engineering (medical physics and technology), Helsinki University of Technology / Aalto University
  • Coaching Certification: Finntriathlon Level II, ITCA (International Triathlon Coaching Association)
  • Coaching Experience: Started coaching in 2014. Full-time coach since 2017.
  • Athletic Accomplishments:
    -PBs: 8:48 Full Distance (2023), 4:01 Half Distance (2021), 2:00 Olympic Distance (2020), 2:42:30 Marathon (2023), 34:47 10 km (2022).
    -3rd overall, Portuguese Full Distance National Championships 2023
    -1st in AG (M30-35), Portuguese Olympic Distance National Championships 2020 (2nd overall age-grouper)
    -8th place in Finnish Olympic Distance National Championships 2018.
    -1st place Finnish Swimrun National Championships 2017 (with team-mate Simon Brierley)
    -1st in AG (M25-29) IRONMAN 70.3 Cascais 2018

Testimonials

By default 15 testimonials are displayed in the grid below, randomly selected. If you want to read more of Mikael's testimonials, just refresh this page.

Evidence-based and thoughtful coaching with objective and actionable feedback


Jade Samulski 49, Truckee, CA, US

What I've gained over the last two years being coached by Mikael has been daily evidence-based and thoughtful coaching, balancing performance aspirations, with the inevitable flexibility needed based on a life outside of sport. Equally important has been honest and respectful back-and-forth communication. This includes daily objective and actionable feedback to my training execution. I get detailed explanations on the "why" behind specific sessions. There is an abundance of open discussion. As an athlete I feel like I own the planning process by participating in it throughout the season.

Breaking barriers previously thought of as unbreakable


Christian Dembowski 48, Frankfurt, Germany

Being coached by Mikael has been highly effective and beneficial, and has allowed me to break barriers previously thought of as unbreakable. The program has detailed and clear instructions, always paired with an explanation of the clear purpose, and the communication is fast, precise, honest and open.

I can trust the process and the program


Karoline Nikolaisen 31, Oslo, Norway

Having someone with a lot of knowledge helping me towards my goals like Mikael makes me feel confident that I can trust the process and the program. This reduces a lot of stress I would otherwise have, planning the workouts myself. I also appreciate the very good communication.

Tailored training plan


Angel Irizarry 36, United States

Mikael tailored my training plan after identifying my strengths and weaknesses. I did not have to worry about what the right training for me next week would be. Mikael evaluated my progress and made adjustments to prevent unnecessary injuries. In addition, the communication was outstanding. Through the whole process, I built my confidence and managed to perform very well in each of my events. Signing up for coaching is super worth it!

Objectivity, knowledge, and long-term planning


Matthias Weitz 30, Zürich, Switzerland

The greatest benefits of being coached by Mikael have been the objectivity, knowledge, and long-term big picture view of planning and programming. Also, Mikael listens to and integrates feedback and thoughts of the athlete into the training. I've had many coaches and know even more. You go above and beyond all of them. Keep it up!

Training that really works


Sarah Firth 47, United Kingdom

The greatest benefits of being coached by Mikael were the individual training program and the continuous communication. I got great insight into training and what works well to improve performance. Thank you for your help, support and interest in my training!

Coaching has helped me a lot as an athlete and as a person


Bruno Gaeta 31, Lorena, Brazil

I was someone that always wanted to go hard all the time, but after I started training with Mikael, we introduced the concepts of consistency and going easy and hard in the right moments. This has helped me a lot as an athlete and also as a person. Coaching has kept me motivated, and the fact that I continue training today even under very difficult situations like moving countries, starting my own business, and the birth of my son is because I had Mikael with me during this journey, always caring and helping me to adapt to these situations with flexibility, empathy, and understanding.

I'm at the peak fitness of my life


Kai Becker 47, Finland

Being coached by Mikael has been great! We have a good relationship and I get all the help I want. Superb flexibility to meet the changing schedules - I still don't understand how you have time to always react so quickly. I'm at the peak fitness of my life and reached my race goal of sub-5:30 for a half Ironman easily. The training really gets results.

Significant improvements


Philippe Dume 45, France

Before being coached by Mikael, my training was all at the same pace and I didn't see any progress. I also found it difficult to stay motivated. When Mikael started coaching me, my training transformed and I really started progressing. My race times improved significantly, and my swim went from mediocre to good. If you're considering getting a coach, I highly recommend Mikael. He is a dedicated and passionate coach, and will transform your training and triathlon progress.

Training adjusted to life, great communication, and better results!


Shelley Schoepflin Sanders 44, Portland, OR, US

Mikael takes time to get to know not just my athletic goals but how those are seated among my professional and family roles. He helps me realistically adjust training when necessary, so I can relax and enjoy the training rather than spending my own time to create my own plan... and I’m getting better results! I appreciate every bit of positive feedback and teaching about how to do the workout better next time. Mikael’s prompt and clear communication is one of his greatest assets.

I've loved my time training under Scientific Triathlon!


Sam Barley 30 Ruscombe, UK

I started working with Mikael to find more consistency, and have someone to rein me in to avoid injury. Mikael and I worked very well together and have become good friends. I feel I can ask Mikael pretty much any question and be confident that I'll get a good answer. The training program is very thorough, customised to me, and clearly very well thought-through. In our ongoing communication, Mikael is always responsive and attentive. On top of all the quality training and performance improvements, I've learnt so much, adding further returns on my investment. It's been a blast!

Knowledge, professionalism and excellent communication


Olivia Gardner 25, Birmingham, UK

I really enjoy working with Mikael. He is very professional in all aspects and is very easy to form a great coach-athlete relationship with. He pays a lot of attention to detail, I am constantly learning and he has gone above and beyond my expectations of a coach. The training has been enjoyable and motivating, and progressively challenging to allow me to see improvements week to week. And the communication is excellent, allowing me to learn and gain new knowledge for the long run.

I got consistent with my training and trained with purpose


Hanna 29, Finland

The biggest thing that changed for me when starting being coached by Mikael was getting structure to my training program and getting more variety into my training. This allowed me to stay consistent with my training and train with purpose. If you have a goal and want to train with structure and purpose towards it, I highly recommend signing up for coaching with Mikael.

Achieved my goals and exceeded expectations


Adam Taylor 41, United Kingdom

I achieved my goals and exceeded my expectations, going from a 45-minute 10k run to sub-40, and completing an Ironman 70.3 in 5:05 (with my goal being just completing it and enjoying it). Your coaching kept me focused with a well-thought-out, balanced training plan. And it was great to have you hold me accountable for the training through daily check-ins on Training Peaks. For anybody interested, I would highly recommend getting Mikael as a coach.

Completed the Ötztal Radmarathon


Nikita Zhuk 35, Finland

My goal when signing up for coaching was to complete the Ötztal Radmarathon in an honourable fashion and I certainly achieved that goal. I value a data-driven training approach highly, and with Mikael, I got that. I also greatly appreciated the fact that you updated the program on short notice when there were changes in my schedule. I would highly recommend coaching with Mikael to others.

Mikael's coaching in 3-5 words

Pragmatic, systematic, adaptive, empathetic, open-minded

Learn more about our coaching services (including pricing) here, or contact us to book a no-obligation discovery call here

Get To Know Mikael

Where are you from and where do you live?

I'm from Åland, an autonomous island that is part of Finland, located in the middle of the Baltic Sea. I lived in Helsinki for 8 years during university and the early years of my career. In October 2017 when I made coaching my full-time job I moved to Lisbon, Portugal, and have been here ever since. 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I'm an early riser, and get up at 5am to have breakfast and do some studying (improving my Portuguese) before starting to work. Between around 6:30am and 7:15pm I do all my work, and normally a couple of workouts as well. I work from home, so my day is spent in my home office / pain cave, where a lot of time goes to my coaching work, but I also make time for creating a podcast (That Triathlon Show) and of course the general roles and responsibilities of running a business. Between finishing my workday and going to bed I have dinner and spend time with my wife. 

What's your favourite workout?

It depends on what day you ask me, but I'm usually up for a long ride outdoors in great weather with either a decent amount of elevation gain. Add some sea views and I am a very happy athlete. A trail run on some nice scenic trails is also something I really enjoy. I do enjoy a good virtual cycling race as well. 

What's your least favourite or most dreaded workout?

I don't particularly enjoy the very high-end work, like 20-30 second all-out efforts with long rest (cycling or running), or a swim with all-out 50s with long rest. I'm just rubbish at that kind of workout, which also means I don't particularly enjoy it. 

What (if anything) do you listen to when training?

I am of course a big podcast fan, so I do listen to podcasts quite often. This includes some triathlon and endurance podcasts, football podcasts (in particular related to Arsenal Football Club), as well as some podcasts about news, current events and so on. For harder workouts I favour music, and listen to everything from pop to symphonic metal, but a few of my favourites include Muse, Bon Jovi, Nickelback, Within Temptation, Imagine Dragons, Pentatonix, and the list goes on. 

What's your favourite book, blog or resource related to triathlon or endurance sport?

I'm extremely biased, but I created That Triathlon Show to be the exact resource I wish there was out there at the time before I started, and still find it useful to go back and listen to certain guests and read the shownotes. But other than that, the book "Endurance Training" (the second edition) by Iñigo Mujika is probably the best book I've read. 

What's your favourite food and beverage?

My favourite food is one that I learnt to love here in Portugal, octopus. I prefer it à lagareiro, which means baked in the oven on a bed of potatoes with a very generous amount of olive oil and garlic. Ideally it comes with a nice Portuguese red wine and a bolo de bolacha (a delicious cake) for dessert. 

What do you like to do when you're not coaching or training yourself?

I mostly like being in the outdoors, hiking and exploring beautiful nature. Other hobbies include board games, food, and travel. And spending time with my wife of course.   

If you could have dinner with any three people dead or alive, who would it be?

First, my maternal grandfather who passed away before I was born, and I really wish I could have known. Second, Hans Rosling, the author of "Factfulness". I admire his work, and he seems like a standout person. And finally, Bill Gates. I find him a super interesting and in many ways impressive person, where the philanthropic part obviously stands out, so with these three persons I think dinner would last well into the morning hours. 

What's your educational background? 

I've got a master's degree (M.Sc.) in biomedical engineering from Aalto University (formerly Helsinki University of Technology). My focus within the degree was largely on the intersection of applied mathematics and physics, computer science, and statistics. 

What's your sporting background? Do you still race actively? 

I've never been a great athlete myself to be honest. As a kid, I played football (soccer) from age six to 19, and was very passionate about it, although not very good at it. Then I got into marathon running and road running, but aged 17 my debut marathon was in a time of 3h56m, so I didn't exactly show lots of running or endurance potential either. After running for several years (and really getting into it) I stumbled into a triathlon as cross-training as I was battling a knee injury from running. This was in 2015, and I haven't really looked back since. I do still race actively, at least for 2024, but I'm considering taking on some different challenges after this year to push a bit outside of my comfort zone. 

Who are your coaching role models or coaches you've learnt a lot from? 

The coaches I've learnt the most from are without a doubt the ones I interact with on almost a daily basis - my fellow Scientific Triathlon coaches James Teagle, Lachlan Kerin, David Dhooge, Jack Hutchens and Tobias Haumann. It is amazing to work in an environment where I have people like them around to challenge me and help me develop my thinking and coaching skills. I've also learnt a lot from my former coaches, in particular David Tilbury-Davis. 

What types of athletes do you coach? 

Through my coaching career I have worked with athletes of all levels, from complete beginners with absolutely no background in triathlon or even endurance sports, to professional triathletes and cyclists. Currently, my roster (which I limit to at most ten athletes at any one time) consists of age-group athletes from beginners to advanced level, as well as a couple of professional and aspiring professional athletes. I enjoy coaching athletes of all levels as long as they are motivated and understand the importance of consistency. 

What do you expect from athletes you coach?  

I expect my athletes to communicate honestly and openly with me about anything that is or may be relevant for my ability to coach them. I expect athletes to be show a level of consistency and commitment to training and other necessary preparations  that is in congruence with the goals they set for themselves. And finally, I expect athletes to be self-motivated. Of course, everybody has rough patches, and when this happens my role as a coach can be (sometimes) to help motivate the athlete. However, for the vast majority of time, I believe that motivation should come from within the athlete, not from the coach. I'd much rather have to hold an athlete back than to push them and motivate them. 

What should athletes expect of you? 

They can expect that I treat my role and responsibilities as their coach very professionally, and have the utmost respect and appreciation for how privileged I am to be a part of their athletic journey. They can expect that I am somebody they can always turn to for support and that I communicate well and in a timely manner with them. They can expect that I really care for them, as athletes and as persons. And finally, they can expect that I am constantly trying to improve my coaching knowledge and practice, to the benefit of my athletes, and I will invest a lot in myself, my development, and my learning with this in mind. 

What are your special interests or areas of expertise within coaching, training, physiology and sports science?

I am very interested in the biopsychosocial model of performance, which essentially is a question about how physiological (or biological), psychological and social factors all interact to determine an athlete's adaptation to a training stimulus. When I plan and monitor and athlete's training, I think about all of these factors, and how to design training optimally from not just a physiological standpoint, but also psychological and social. 

In my mind, I have even added a fourth category to this model, which I call "environmental"- By that I mean that I have to also consider the available climate, terrain, access to facilities, and the athlete's response to variations in these variables, in formulating the optimal training plan for them. 

Describe your coaching in three to five words
  • Pragmatic
  • Systematic
  • Adaptive
  • Empathetic
  • Open-minded

Schedule A Free Discovery Call

Interested in hiring Mikael as your coach? 

Contact us here, or email mikael@scientifictriathlon.com to set up a free, no-obligation discovery call with Mikael to see if working with him seems like a good fit. 

Mikael Eriksson - Scientific Triathlon - Triathlon Coach

Explore our products and services

>