LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
In this episode, we discuss the results of the recent That Triathlon Show listener survey, and what that means for how the show will develop and (hopefully) improve in 2023 and beyond.
In this episode you'll learn about:
- A detailed summary of the That Triathlon Show survey, including both positive and negative feedback
- A completely transparent peek behind the curtains of how Mikael analysed and interpreted the survey responses
- What this means for That Triathlon Show going forward. What changes can you expect, and what can you expect will stay the same?
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Questions of the survey
- Questions 1,2, and 3 were about age, sex and language.
- Question 4 was about triathlon experience, level and preferred distance.
- Question 5 was about the frequency listeners would listen to podcast episodes.
- Question 6 was about the show notes on the website.
- Question 7 was about rating the podcast on a scale from 1-10.
- Question 8 was about the other podcast preferences of listeners.
- Question 9 ranked the preferred endurance sports podcasts from 1-3.
- Question 10 was: The podcast has focused on interviewing coaches, academics and researchers. What are your thoughts on this model? Do you miss other types of episodes?
- Question 11: would you like to see the podcast on a video level?
- Question 12: Would you like podcast episodes previewing and reviewing professional races like WTS, Super League, Ironman, and PTO...?
- Question 13: What episode types would you most like to hear?
- Question 14: What episode type are you not interested in hearing?
- Question 15: What do you think of the level of that triathlon show concerning the technical discussions and topics? Is it something that you enjoy? Or is the level of the content not relevant or appealing to you?
- Question 16: Would you like to hear more about the rest of the Scientific Triathlon coaches?
- Question 17: What do you like about That Triathlon Show?
- Question 18: What do you dislike or think can be improved on the podcast?
- Question 19: How did you find out about the podcast?
- Question 20: Have you ever intended to use Scientific Triathlon services or other products?
- Question 21: What other ideas do you have?
- This survey had 149 responses.
- The 30-day reach of the podcast is 35k people, which means 0.4-0.5 % fill out the survey.
- The responses are very detailed and a long survey, so almost 150 responses are excellent.
Questions 1, 2 and 3
- We had an average age of 44, with a standard deviation of 12 and a range from 20 to 81. (in line with the triathlon demographics)
- I was happy to see people in the 60+ age group respond.
- I would like more responses from the 15-20 age group, but I am not sure if that reflects that we might not have many listeners from that age group. (or if they are less likely to be doing feedback surveys)
- Concerning sex, 12 % of female and 88 % of male listeners filled out the survey. (reflection of the demographic in triathlon)
- I checked the numbers in Ironman and 70.3 races in 2022. For example, the biggest Ironman was Ironman Frankfurt in Europe, and the biggest 70.3 was Mallorca. (2600 and 3000 participants)
- In those events, 11 % and 17 % were female.
- In North America, the biggest 70.3 and ironmans were Ocean Side and Ironman Texas, and both had 25 % females.
- In the short course, the numbers might change.
- That Triathlon Show is significantly more technical than the average triathlon podcast, which will be more towards individuals interested in science. There is a significant gender gap in Maths, Science and Technologies. (20-30 % female)
- If we overlap those gaps with the triathlon gaps, it explains the gender differences in the survey.
- So, shout out to everyone promoting the podcast to female athletes.
- The top-5 countries for the survey responders were the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Germany/Ireland.
- The top 4 reflect the download numbers.
- 55% of listeners are from Europe, 30 % from North America, 8 % from Oceania, 4 % from the rest of the Americas and 3 % from Asia.
- Many people in Australia and New Zealand do not know about That Triathlon Show, even though big triathlon nations exist. Therefore, promoting the podcast in these areas would be fantastic and help the podcast in the long run.
- The same could be for Brasil and Mexico.
- The other country of the Americas and Asia have fewer triathletes than the other continents.
- However, the interest in these regions is increasing.
- The US is the country where we get more listeners.
- Most Americans perceive the podcast as European; of course, I am European.
Question 4 - triathlon experience
- Some non-triathletes filled out the survey. (they wrote they did not have experience in triathlon)
- I excluded these athletes in this question for this analysis.
- The average years of triathlon experience of listeners were 9.8, with a standard deviation of 8.1.
- 11 % were beginners, 53 % intermediate and 36 % advanced triathletes.
- There is a trend for the intermediate/advanced categories, but there are people from all ends.
- I have yet to do much content geared toward beginners, but I did a beginner tip series a couple of years ago.
- I did 36-38 short episodes of 10-20 minutes, and it has all the information about what you need to learn as a beginner.
- You can find the content of Scientifictriathlon.com menu bar under podcast or scroll down in the archives.
- I do not need to keep repeating that content because there is not much more you need to know to start your triathlon journey.
- That beginner series still holds up, and I do not want to repeat these episodes.
- If the content does not hold up, I will produce new content.
Question 5: Do you listen to almost all episodes?
- 75 % of the responders said yes, which is a good number, indicating consistent quality and interest in the different topics.
- When doing these surveys, there will be a selection bias that the respondents will be the podcast's prominent supporters.
- This question suffers influence on that selection bias.
Question 6: Do you even use the show notes?
- Here 85 % of the people said yes.
- It was the biggest surprise for me in the entire survey.
- If 30-40 % use them now and then, it is worth the cost of creating the show notes because it is something I outsource.
- Many responders check the show notes frequently, which is fantastic.
- It confirms that the show notes are here to stay.
Question 7: How would you rate That Triathlon Show from 1-10?
- The average rating was 9.0, with a standard deviation of 1.0.
Question 8-9: What other endurance sports podcasts do you listen to? What are your top-3 favourite endurance sports podcasts ranked from 1-3?
- There were over 100 different podcasts mentioned in the survey.
- The top-5 most listened were Fast Talks, How They Train, Empirical Cycling, That Triathlon Life and Trainerroad.
- Concerning rankings, I gave three points for every 1st place, 2 points for every 2nd place and 1 point for every 3rd place.
- These questions give perspective on the content type that TTS listeners like. However, that is not a reason to change anything, especially in this sample.
- It makes me reflect on what other podcasts do well and consider if that could be something to implement on the podcast.
Question 10: The podcast has focused on interviewing coaches, practitioners and researchers. What are your thoughts on this model?
- It is the first question that goes into what is good and what we can improve on the podcast.
- 62 % of the responses were overwhelmingly positive. (an example of an answer would be: "This type of content is what makes TTS stand out")
- 38 % had a mixed response. (E.g. "It is good, but I would like something else")
- Many of these responses mentioned missing the Q&A episodes.
- Others requested different types of episodes, including interviews with different types of guests, or doing more solo shows, round table interviews with multiple guests, interviewing pro athletes, age groupers, athlete case studies and similar.
- I was happy that many were satisfied with the current concept of the podcast.
- One response that shows my thoughts on the podcasts is this one: "I have liked this model, but I do not think more variety would be a negative."
- There were some responses with the opposite view, but the general trend is for people to accept some variations in the episode format.
Question 11: Would you like to see the podcast on a video level?
- 55 % said no, 25 % said yes, and 20 % said something else (e.g. I would do video level podcast if the content required that)
- Adding charts would add work hours to each episode.
- The only thing that would be feasible would be "talking head style videos" because that would not take much work.
- For the majority, that will not add value to the podcast.
- Therefore, I will not do it for now.
- The podcast is on Youtube already.
- I would instead focus on improving the podcast so it continues to grow organically through reputation and word of mouth.
Question 12: Would you like podcast episodes previewing and reviewing professional races like WTS, Super League, Ironman, and PTO...?
- Here 57% said no, 28% said yes, and 15% said something else (add something that is not available on other podcasts or only for big races)
- A third alternative was "yes, " but not to replace current episodes.
- I could analyze things from a coaching perspective.
- Moreover, we could follow some athletes (not just the very top athletes or just the well-known ones with big social media following sort of ones from English-speaking countries)
- I analyze almost all races anyway because I enjoy staying up to date with all races and athletes.
- However, this is not the type of content listeners want from TTS.
- Most want educational content, which may take different forms but not race reviews and previews.
- Moreover, there is a conflict of interest between reporting on races and coaching athletes in those races.
- My goal is to have a lot more athletes race at the pro level in one to two years from now, so I might not be able to avoid bias.
- I do not want those races to influence me in my most important job, which is to be a coach or even influence how my athletes train or execute their races or whether an athlete would reach out to me to be their coach.
- So, I would scrap this idea, but I wouldn't rule out doing something for standalone races like the Olympics or the Ironman World Championships as long as I don't have any single athlete in those races.
Questions 13 to 14: What types of episodes would you most like to hear? What types of episodes are you not interested in hearing?
- Both of these had a multiple-choice list. (13 different categories of episodes or other suggestions)
- The pre-defined categories were: Interviews with coaches, scientists and researchers; Discussion and coaching round tables with the scientific draft on coaches; Authors of endurance sports books; Industry people (businesses creating products for endurance athletes); Professional athletes; Previous and reviews of pro races, age group athletes, Solo episodes; Beginner episodes; Case studies of Scientific Triathlon; Episodes about gear and equipment; Q&A episodes.
- I added up all of the votes for each topic, both in the episodes you do like to hear and that you don't want to hear.
- For example, 125 responders voted that interviews with coaches are one of the types of episodes they most want to hear, and four voted that this type of episode is among the episodes they are not interested in hearing.
- So it's 121 points for interviews with coaches.
- There is a top five category between 83 to 121 points with a high number of most wanted and a low number of negative responses.
- They were: Interviews with coaches; Interviews with scientists and researchers, Interviews with authors of endurance sports books; Solo episodes; Discussions or coaching around tables with the Scientific Triathlon coaches in that order.
- The middle category of episodes had mixed responses. ( they had points between 72 to 48)
- They were case studies of Scientific Triathlon athletes, Q&A episodes, and interviews with professional athletes.
- The bottom five had 14 to -48 points.
- These were episodes about gear and equipment, interviews with age group athletes, interviews with industry people, and Preview and reviews of pro races and beginner episodes.
- My desire is to interview coaches and scientists. (what sets the podcast apart).
- Solo episodes on specific topics are something that I will do more of because I want this podcast to help athletes and even coaches train and work better.
- When you hear all of these interviews, there are contradictions between some. However, this is related to the context in which each person works.
- However, it can be just very different philosophies. There are differences in how successful coaches are with their athletes. But different philosophies can work equally well.
- It would be interesting for the listeners to hear more about my personal opinions on various topics, how they might apply differently to others, and why.
- I could explain why I do things differently than a specific strategy you hear in many other episodes.
- Regarding the author's category, there are potential great episodes we can have. But it comes down to the author's credentials because writing a book doesn't make you an expert.
- Sometimes people get an elevated perception of expertise.
- The authors I have interviewed have a high level of credibility through work in coaching, academia, or similar.
- The topic of an interview might be the same as a newly published book, but I would interview the author because of the person's expertise.
- You need to filter authors when it comes to books because everybody can publish something.
Episodes with other Scientific Triathlon coaches
- The other most popular category was having more episodes with the other scientific triathlon coaches.
- We have only had a few of them recently because I talk with them all the time anyway.
- We will do more of it as well.
Middle category episodes
- We have case studies with Scientific Triathlon athletes.
- I have yet to think about it deeply before putting it on the list of options.
- These types of case studies could negatively influence decision-making by both the coach and the athlete.
- So I'm not sure I considered them something that I would do.
- For athletes interested in our coaching, we can always connect you with our athletes so you can have a private reference call if needed.
- These types of case studies may not work in favour of achieving the best possible results for the athlete.
- Q&A episodes seemed very popular in one of the earlier questions but were only moderately popular here in the yellow zone when asking specifically about episode types.
- I want to ensure that when I do Q&A episodes, the questions I answer are not too specific.
- I stopped doing the Q&A episodes because I didn't feel like I'd get the type of questions that would be useful for many listeners.
- Doing one every couple of months or something could be a good sweet spot, and I would have time to get some good questions.
Interviews with professional athletes
- I'd like to experiment with a bit more.
- But the athletes need to be specific and open with the information they share.
"Red Zone" episodes
- I will stake clear of at least for the most part.
- There are some cases where I will interview people from the industry but for particular purposes.
- For example, I interviewed Andrew Sellers, which many people mentioned as a fantastic episode.
- I'm still talking with Andrew regularly. He is the co-founder of two businesses (VO2 Master and BreathWayBetter).
- But I interviewed him because he has a lot of knowledge and a unique approach to testing and applying it in practice with his coaching background.
- Moreover, he has a lot of expertise in respiratory testing and training that I couldn't find anyone else that had at the same level as him.
- Another example is Andy Blow from Precision Fuel & Hydration. I have him on every once in a while because he's somebody that is so in the know on the issue and hydration.
- He manages to stay very objective despite his obvious bias.
- In some topics, there is a benefit to bringing in the right people from the industry to talk about these topics.
- Some people have offered to pay, but I have yet to accept it, or I haven't accepted them as guests.
- I have the sponsorships, which are fully disclosed at the beginning and end of each episode.
- One miss from this list that I should have included was a category for interviews with practitioners (nutritionists, physiotherapists, bike feeders etc.)
- Many pointed this out by adding these types of interviews.
- We've had a decent amount of these or the last year. So we'll continue doing those.
- I also got a bunch of additional suggestions for episode categories or even off-topics in the "other" suggestions.
- One worth mentioning is the type of episodes I've done where I introduce several people to a specific topic to learn about the range of differences and nuances.
- For example, the emphasis we did on workout fueling or the Kona Preparation.
- Another is specific age group-related content.
- The conclusion is to keep doing a lot of interest with coaches and researchers and mix more variety.
Question 15: What do you think of the level of TTS in terms of the technical discussions and topics? Is the level appropriate and the content understandable?
- The response was slightly surprising as 83% of respondents said the level was good.
- This year we had some technical, scientific episodes and expected a mixed response.
- Several people said they don't always understand everything, but that's fine. (so, it's not a problem, meaning they don't want me to change the level)
- The message is received that there's no need to avoid technical topics.
- People do not want things to get more straightforward, and I won't do that.
- One distinction I would make here is that something can be technical but still have considerable potential for practical application and relevance.
- I aired some of my frustrations because we had episodes with purely academic interests with little or no practical relevance.
- The interviews I've done were simple enough for me.
- So that's not something that is an issue for me, but what is an issue is that I get away from an episode, but I learn something without practical applications, which has been a frustration for me.
- Listeners want us to go deep into the details of the topic.
- But also, there is an acknowledgement that not all episodes are equally relevant or exciting.
- The key takeaway for me is to keep the level in-depth and detailed with a good amount of scientific content. So there's a little more selective with those scientific topics in that there should be a way to connect those topics to practical application.
Question 16: Would you like to hear more about Scientific Triathlon coaches?
- 66% said yes, 25% said no, and 10% were indifferent.
- I think a few people misunderstood this question.
- I meant occasional co-hosts or interviews or round tables.
- A few people commented that our previous round table episodes were boring as we agreed with each other too much.
- That's a very fair criticism because we have many similarities in our coaching, of course. Still, it's more exciting when doing these types of episodes to focus on the differences rather than the similarities.
- One added value of bringing the rest of the team on more is that this would be a way to discuss more questions specific to age group training and age group racing.
- When I introduce coaches, they focus a lot of the coaching on the pro level because it's so much easier for me to research and vet these coaches.
- When it comes to age group coaching, this is a lot more difficult. Scientific Triathlon coaches are great. I have a track record of their work that goes years back.
- They are the people I trust, which is why these topics would be great to do with them. (Especially as a counterbalance to doing solo episodes)
Questions 17 and 18: What do you like about TTS, and what do you dislike or think could be improved about the podcast?
- I've set up categories of recurring themes in the responses.
- For example, one response was: "the content and the presentation of the content. I also find the show notes valuable." This would add one point to the "quality of content/professionalism".
- Some categories are somewhat mixed. (trade-off)
- The top six categories of what listeners like the most about the podcast have more than 25 votes.
- And they were in the following order: from most voted 1- a science aspect; 2- the range of topics/variety/episode archive; 3 - level of detail; 4 - educational; 5 - interview style, questions and preparation; 6- the quality of content/professionalism those were the categories.
- The category "practical application/relevance" was in 9th place with 21 votes, but in comparison to the first place category science aspect, which got 43 votes.
- If I do this survey again, I would like the practical application to be reasonably close to the number of votes as science because that's where you get faster.
- Regarding dislikes/improved suggestions, the number one category was "nothing", with 51 votes. So that's very nice to hear that so many people think there's nothing to be improved.
- Beyond that, no single category had more than nine votes. (fewer apparent dislikes)
- The top six categories other than "nothing" were: 1- guest audio or the accents; 2- relevance; 3- sponsors; 4- technicality/difficulty level; 5- too long; 6- audio.
- For the audio part, I give self-explanatory instructions to all guests to help maximize the audio quality, but not everybody follows them.
- The accent is something that will I have an obvious bias as a non-English speaker.
- I've never had a problem with my guests' accents. As long as they can communicate the topic, I don't care what their accent is.
- One of the strengths of this podcast is it looks beyond English-speaking countries.
- If the guests don't communicate their topic well, then it's an issue. Communication issues are not necessarily related to language.
- As I said, the relevant part is what I will be working hard on improving.
- People understand the need for sponsors. It can be an annoyance.
- Use that skip button if you don't want to hear it.
- There are some things that I can do here in the technical episodes. (better defining the terms and giving a bit more background info at the start of the episode).
- I try and explain in terms explain things when things seem too difficult sometimes in an interview.
- I'm not going to dumb things down.
- The most removed topics from practicality will probably go away because these are likely the most difficult to understand.
- I also got a lot of people saying that it's good that I don't short an episode.
- The podcast is as long as it needs to be. I never have a specific duration in mind for an episode. If we get to 1.5 hours, we're still talking, and the guests don't indicate that they need to leave, I'm pleased to go beyond that, as you have seen in some episodes.
- I am not actively working to shorten episodes.
- I don't think that there's the majority of listeners want this.
- And finally, we've had issues on some episodes, and we will work on a better system to prevent that. And under this dislikes or improvement section, there were suggestions for improvements.
- The top 4 categories are: 1- more practical; 2- more focus on age groupers; 3- more insight into my coaching; 4- more variety.
Question 19: how did you learn about that Triathlon Show, and when did you start listening?
- Most responders could not remember. Many have listened for a long time (the podcast started at the end of February 2017).
- Among the people who did remember, 41% found it by searching their podcast apps. 26% found it on the internet. 11% on an internet search Google. 11% for links on forums or articles online. 11% for social media or YouTube. 9% for word of mouth and 4% through other podcasts.
- So I need a reference for what is typical.
- But it will be interesting if I repeat this question. I find it exciting and will just make a kind request to spread the word about it. The podcast costs a lot to produce, as both audio editing and show notice are outsourced.
- There are podcast hosting and software costs. Having sponsors is how I have chosen to cover the costs rather than something like Patreon. That's at least how I see it when I listen to podcasts. So why would I want the listeners to pay for the podcast when the sponsors can pay for it? It's a win-win because the sponsor also gets visibility.
- Sponsors only return if there is a return on investment for them, meaning it is essential to keep growing the podcast.
Question 20: Have you ever or are you planning to use any scientific draft from services or buy any of our products?
- 36% said yes. 6% said they purchased products from sponsors, and 58% said no, but some are considering it.
- Again, the selection bias caveat applies to this question, but 36% is still a significant number.
- It's probably less than a tenth of that.
- But I still think it's great. Thank you very much for your support through buying training plans, coaching services or participating in training camps.
- Another reason I don't have a Patreon is that there are enough people who find the free content that the podcast is so good that they want to invest in the training plan, coaching, or training camp. And these services, these products are things that myself and the Scientific Triathlon team are continuously putting in so much time and effort.
- I don't have time to create any bonus content for Patreon. So it would be like a donation subscription. And I would instead focus on coaching and training plans and training camps and keep improving those.
- I know a handful of people commenting that they are happily coached or self-coached. (don't have any interest in buying plans or coaching or training camps)
- So they suggested that they still want a donation or tip function. But to you guys, take the free content. I am more than happy for anybody in a good coaching relationship or successfully self-coaching.
- And if you still want to contribute, just spread the word about the podcast and consider that your tip.
Question 21: what other ideas, feedback, or suggestions do you have?
Again, I categorized it into a few categories: general podcast improvements, guest suggestions, topics suggestions and others:
1º - "I would love to hear a comprehensive episode bringing all of the research together or maybe a research roundtable about different definitions of training zones like the thresholds, VO2 or VLA max or debunking VLA max and periodization."
2º - "I love how you tease out all the technical info behind the simple training methods, if that makes sense. For me, just reinforcing basics is what is most important. Science is fascinating, but all we need to do is get out there and train with some basic structure. Keep it fine and sustain it for the rest of our lives. What TTS does is motivate me."
3º - "On a second day later in the week, release an old hit show."
4º - It would be fun with an episode about different ways to get to Kona as an age group athlete. What times do you need to set for different age groups? Any particular race is to focus on the legacy program etc., with tips from Scientific Triathlon.
This could be expanded to Ironman World Championships. So it won't be easy because until now, you've been able to reverse engineering quite well based on historical data.
5º - "My favourite podcasts are coaches' interviews. A mini-series for self-coach athletes could be excellent, but I understand it's particular to each individual."
An answer to this would be to check out the old TTS Thursday episodes, a mini-series for self-coach athletes.
6º - "Do something systematic that sets out your current thoughts on best practice and the reasons why."
7º - "I'm becoming busy and starting to keep up to date on all episodes of all my preferred shows. Some of which have dropped away. This is primarily due to the increasing mass of content available. One thing I find helpful is the newsletters and the coaching thoughts. The practical and insightful info in these has become as precious as the Q&A episodes, and it is now my favourite Scientific Triathlon and resource. Sometimes, the newsletter is so helpful that it delays my need to listen to the episode, which is the opposite of what is desired but is the reality of my circumstances. I have noticed that it is perhaps being slightly modified not to become such a TLDR bite-size replacement for the show, and that's probably a good thing, so I maintain my desire to consume the latest episode quickly."
I do want to give a shout-out for the newsletter. I'll put a link in the show notes. I share my thoughts in the newsletter on an episode where I state my opinion and the coaching thoughts.
8º - "Having a podcast of how you are setting up your training camps. How do you do the food education etc. How do you think the camp went, and what should people take from it?"
I suggest doing a podcast before or after one of our upcoming training camps in 2023. Check out our training camp in Mallorca at the end of March 2023. It still has slots available. The one in Portugal has sold out. We ran this camp in 2022, and it was terrific.
9º - "I like coaching interviews. In general, I think that episodes should be targeted at one topic. (for example, what is this coach doing differently?) This helps keep things interesting, but I realize it is a challenge after so many great episodes."
It makes sense to focus on one topic. You never know if you will interview the famous ones again, so you want to ask them as much as possible.
10º "I noticed some of the big podcasters (for example, Rich Roll) reusing the wealth of content they produced in the past years and rehashing in the form of "AMA"/"best of the year" or "theme-focused aggregation" podcast episodes. These are useful to drill into defining the best of what was covered. You already have so much good content. Use it. You did it to a certain degree with the polarized threshold debate a while back."
11º spice it up a little bit, especially your first question."
I won't spice up the first question; I like to have the simple one but a bit further into the interview, especially when the guest is starting to get comfortable.
12º - "Coach interviews and tips for self-coach athletes are great, and I would love to see more swimming episodes. I like to do open water races between three to 10 kilometres.
13º - "I tune in for practical hands-on training advice that I can apply to myself".
14º - how to make your professional/private life more efficient to ensure age group triathletes keep efficient time for training and racing."
15º - "At least once, I'd like to hear about over 60+ age groupers. I know it's a small group, but you all will be here someday. Too many athletes drop out in fear of ageing, and we would like to see that stop. I need more competition in my age group."
We have several of these episodes in the archives. (TTS Thursday and Q&A) One interview you should check out is episode 176 with Bo Falck Hansen. But it is a topic that is worth revisiting. This could be good for me to do with the other Scientific Triathlon coaches.
The final one: "what I would benefit the most is help applying all of the theoretical knowledge I gained from listening for the past few years. Doing on-air coaching consultations would be an excellent way to do this. You could do a few archetypes of common cases as a solo episode, with another coach, have a guest, or ask for submissions and do it like your Q&A format."
I like this suggestion and the coaching consultations on-air. That could be much more doable without any compromises.