That Triathlon Show (flipping the mic) with Michael Liberzon, Andrew Buckrell and Mikael Eriksson | EP#194
The microphone is flipped, and Michael Liberzon and Andrew Buckrell from the Endurance Innovation Podcast interview Mikael Eriksson about That Triathlon Show, coaching, and endurance sports innovation. Enjoy this behind-the-scenes insight into That Triathlon Show!
- Let's discuss this episode and the topic in general. Post any comments or questions in the comments at the bottom of the shownotes. Join the discussion here!
In this Episode you'll learn about:
- The genesis of That Triathlon Show.
- How I find the right guests and topics for the podcast.
- Responsible journalism, being selective and applying filters.
- My favourite interviews from the That Triathlon Show archives and how they impacted me.
- What (if anything) are the next 'big things' in endurance sports?
- What's next for That Triathlon Show and Scientific Triathlon?
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What made Mikael launch into podcasting?
- When I began learning about triathlon I initially started a blog on ScientificTriathlon.com, which remains my domain today.
- I started listening to podcasts and liked the medium.
I was working in engineering at the time for a medical device start up, so I was listening to a lot of business and start up podcasts.
- It took me some time to get the courage to launch my own podcast, even though I thought it would be cool to give the medium a shot!
- I also had some issues with blogging - I'm a perfectionist and it started taking me 20 hours to write a blog with all the research and referencing.
I found podcasting a little easier for this, I get to do the interview, then publish it!
- Having a conversation can mean your thoughts flow a lot better, and you're getting insights you may not have thought about yourself.
- You're trying to challenge your cognitive bias by speaking to people with differing views to your own.
Mikael's favourite guests so far
- Joel Filliol has been my favourite person to talk to so far.
- I don't see the podcast as just the science of triathlon, I see the science as just one part of it.
Some episodes are quite technical, but a lot are coaching, application and experience based rather than science based.
- Joel Filliol obviously knows the science but he's a coach that uses his experience and applies it in practice.
His view of training is one that I really admire and for the most part I follow it myself, in my own training and coaching philosophy.
- Other top guests would be:
- Sebastian Weber, which was a more science based/technical episode.
- John Hawley, it's the go-to episode for learning about nutrition in endurance sports.
- Arild Tveiten, similar to Joel Fillion as it was a more coaching application episode, but with a strong science basis. Arvid is the coach of the Norweigan national triathletes.
- Stacy Sims, on female specific considerations, which is a really helpful episode.
Selecting early guests on That Triathlon Show
- I started off pretty well as Joe Friel was the first interview that I did!
- I found that triathlon is a pretty small world, and there are no 'superstars' that will consider themselves too important to be on a podcast.
- I learned that you need to follow up to get people on - I often get a reply on maybe the fifth email I send!
People are really busy, but when you get through to them most people seem to be interested.
- When I started there were already quite a few triathlon podcasts, but most of them were interviewing professional athletes.
- The coaches, scientists and industry people hadn't had a platform to be interviewed on, so it was something quite new to them in some cases.
- I created a podcast I would love to listen to myself, and I think I filled a gap that was there in the market.
Interviews that had a big impact on Mikael
- Interviews that come close are where I maybe haven't had an opinion changed, but I've learnt something completely new that I didn't realise.
- A couple of those episodes would be:
- Sebastian Weber - when I got connected with him, a year before interviewing him, he changed my understanding of coaching and I learnt a lot about things I hadn't learnt about.
- David Tilbury-Davis - he had some practical, application based things in coaching that I'd never considered but I thought were really insightful, and have since adopted.
- With the Sebastian Weber episode and INSYD testing, it explains why certain training protocols that people have known about for years work, but it also explains why they might not work for some people.
INSCYD gives you increased confidence when you're prescribing a training programme which is something quite revolutionary.
- With the David Tilbury-Davis episode, he suggests some really practical solutions that may not have been considered before.
- One of the main things I learned from David is the concept of splicing workouts.
Give a certain set duration and work to rest ratio - e.g. 15 minutes of work, 1:1 work to rest ratio.
You don't necessarily need to prescribe 5 x 3 minutes on, 3 minutes off.
You can tell the athlete that's what they need to do, and they splcie it up however they see fit.
- When you combine that with the energy metabolism information you may have, especially if you've done the INSYD testing, you will start to realise one some athletes will do 15 x 1 minute on, 1 minute off, and some will do the 3 minute option.
Some athletes may be going very deep into their anaerobic energy reserves even for a 3 minute interval and it might make it a very taxing workout for them.
- Even without the testing, an athlete will intuitively choose an option that works for them.
- There are a lot of other things, such as how everything stems from quality movement.
One example is that maybe we're overusing paddles.
- I recently remembered this again, and have now been swimming without paddles for a few weeks and I think I feel a difference in my feel for the water.
- We are not swimmers, we have a limited swim volume as triathletes.
Making some of that swimming the kind where you don't work on your feel for the water is a waste of time.
- Athletes that listen a lot to the podcast get really focused on the engine - the physiology and metabolism, and can forget about the chassis.
The things that tend to be red in their Training Peaks are strength training sessions.
It's something that is so important for athletes to realise - you can have the best engine in the world but if you put it in a chassis that's not conducive to using the energy in a non-wasteful way you won't be as good as you could be.
How to decide who to approach now, and what's exciting at the moment?
- I am very selective in who I choose to interview, and I'm becoming more and more selective over time.
I have some interviews in the past that I would not do today for various reasons.
- I also do sometimes record interviews that I end up not publishing because the quality of the content isn't good enough or relevant enough for the listeners.
- I go for people first, and topic second.
For example a recent interview I did with Professor Andy Jones.
He's worked in the applied field for such a long time, working with Eluid Kipchoge and Paul Radcliffe among others so we could have talked about tons of different topics!
So I approached him just as a person, and we picked topics after.
In this case we talked about a little bit of everything.
- There are people that I follow and know of, or learn of, that are very reputable or knowledgeable, and those are the people I want to talk to.
- If they're recommended by someone I trust, I reach out because they're probably going to be a good person to talk too.
I do of course research what they do and what topics will be, also what their opinions are on various topics such as coaching.
- I want to act as a filter when we have topics that can be up to personal opinion.
For example, if you have someone who tries to promote a Cross Fit for triathlon programme, and says all triathletes should be doing it to make them better triathletes.
I have the firm opinion that that's not true! So I'm not going to interview that person, because I think it could do more harm than good.
- I want to voice different opinions but I do draw the line at some point, and I do act as a filter.
- My podcast is an endurance podcast, not just for triathletes but also cyclists and runners, so if it's not something that's going to help them be better endurance athletes then I'm not that interested in having it.
- Another example is the nutrition field - there are things like the ketogenic diet which are gaining popularity.
I've had some episodes on LCHF before, but those are some of the episodes I regret doing with everything that we know now.
- There are outliers that make these diets work, and there always will be people that make it work despite what they're doing (not because of it).
95% of reputable coaches and nutritionists would tell endurance athletes that you should not restrict an important micronutrient like carbohydrate in that way.
- I'm not going to promote that on my podcast either as it may cause people to do it and in most cases that will not cause them any good.
- I draw these lines because I could probably gain a nugget of information from that interview, but I interact with so many coaches, researchers and scientists on a regular basis that I can establish what is relevant and what I should ignore.
However this is more difficult for the listeners because they often get information from mainstream media and social media, and here the picture becomes quite blurry.
- I strive for That Triathlon Show to be considered trustworthy, I do my due diligence to ensure what we discuss will be relevant and helpful to the listener in some way.
Next big things for triathlon
- I think for most age groupers its very simple and nothing new - basic testing.
We're obsessed with new technologies but most age groupers are still not getting into the lab for basic testing - e.g. VO2max test, INSYD test, lactate test.
- If you don't know your physiology and your metabolism, that's a basic for endurance performance, so I want to stress the importance of that for age groupers in particular.
- Before getting too focused on new technologies I think we need to utilise the ones we already have and we know work.
- The tools to do much more detailed testing is now becoming more readily available - e.g. things like power metres for bike and run.
- The danger is getting obsessed with vanity metrics which can then hinder progress in training.
We need to remember that testing is just a tool to make training effective, and then perform on race day which is where it all comes down to.
- In terms of new technology, I'm excited for maybe getting those live aero sensors to get live numbers.
- In terms of science, I think one thing that would be useful but may be more of a pipe dream would be doing some sort of crowdsourced scientific studies on how people are training and how it's helping them.
There's so much data available on things like TrainingPeaks and Strava that it could probably bring sports science a big step forwards.
Rather than have 12 male college students you could have thousands of people in a retrospective study, it wouldn't be controlled but it would still be really exciting.
- I listened to a recent podcast with Katie Zaferes, who is coached by Joel Filliol, and it struck me how much she focuses on the process.
She's constantly developing and seems to become more process oriented.
It's so important, and it's something I'm trying to do in my own training and racing, as well as instill in my athletes, particularly those with more self-esteem issues around performance.
What's next for That Triathlon Show
- The podcast will remain the main content outlet.
- I would like to experiment with some other formats as well - e.g. YouTube, or Instagram TV, Facebook Live.
This could probably only happen when I bring someone in to help with these things because I'm pretty stretched right now!
- On the business side for Scientific Triathlon I am planning to bring on more coaches.
Right now it's just me and my coaching partner James Teagle, who is a professional triathlete based in the UK.
If anyone listening is a coach adn feels strong alignment with the brand please do reach out (contact details at the bottom of the shownotes).
- Personally I have the goal of coaching some professional triathletes.
I don't take on any age group coaching clients at the moment but I do leave space in case professional triathletes or aspiring professional triathletes come along, as this is the direction I want to move in.
- In terms of the podcast I don't think anything is really changing, but I do take listener feedback so what sort of episodes I do and how they are structured might change if I get specific feedback about this.
I'm always happy to take suggestions!
- Right now I do two episodes a week, and currently I have a new episode every Monday and Thursday.
It doesn't make much sense to make this many! I should be doing much less, but I do it because I get such great feedback from people who listen and email about how it helped them.
That's so motivating to me which is why I keep pushing out the podcast at such a rapid rate.
- I want to help the maximum number of triathletes in the world I can, and that's why I love the podcast, because it's given me a platform to do that.
Mikael's race goals for the rest of the year
- My main two races left are the 70.3 World Championships in Nice at the start of September.
I want to have a really good performance. It's difficult to say who is going to turn up so I'm not going to put any position goals for that.
- Then three weeks later I have Ironman 70.3 Cascais, which is one of my home races.
I won my age group last year so I want to go and defend my title, and hopefully place in the top 3-5 in the age group ranks as well as beat my time form last year.
Links, resources and contact
Links and resources mentioned
Connect with host Mikael Eriksson
Hi! I'm your host Mikael,
I am a full-time triathlon coach and an ambitious age-group triathlete. My goal is podium at the Finnish national championships within the next few years.
I first started the website Scientific Triathlon in autumn 2015 as a passion project to share my learnings with a larger triathlon audience. Later on, in early 2017 I started the podcast That Triathlon Show.
I sincerely want you to contact me to
- Send me feedback
- Give constructive criticism
- Request topics and guests for the podcast
- Send me your triathlon-related questions
- Tell me that you've rated and reviewed That Triathlon Show so I can give you a shout-out on the show and tell you how much it means to me!
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Let's discuss this episode and the topic in general. Post any comments or questions in the comments below. I'll be here to reply and take an active part in the conversation, so don't be shy!