January 6, 2020

Embracing Assessments and Realizing the Hidden Benefits

Assessments are about much more than just benchmarking your progress. Learn mental strategies to embrace the challenge of the week and practical tips for getting the most out of each session, We’ll reveal many hidden benefits of your assessments, if performed correctly, and how they are used to optimize your training and increase your performance.

TriDot Podcast .11 Embracing Assessments and Realizing the Hidden Benefits  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: Welcome to the TriDot Podcast everyone. Today is going to be a great one. We've got a doozy of a topic. We all know the feeling of pulling up your training plan for the week and realizing it's time for your assessments. In our training, it's super important to consistently benchmark our progress, and assessment week allows TriDot’s optimization engine to know exactly what you are capable of as an athlete. To talk about this today, I've got two of the best minds from TriDot headquarters here to walk us through all things assessment week. First up is Coach, John Mayfield. John is a six-time Ironman finisher who has coached athletes to finishes at literally every Ironman in the United States. He also serves as the Director of Athlete’s Services for TriDot. John, you ready to take a deep dive into assessment week today? John: Ready to dive. Andrew: Next up in the studio is TriDot Founder and CEO, Jeff Booher. Jeff is a four-time Ironman finisher who is the Chief Architect behind TriDot’s insight optimization technology. He has coached numerous professional triathletes as well as hundreds of age groupers to podium finishes, as well as personal PRs. Jeff, thanks for coming on. Jeff: Absolutely. This is gonna be fun. Andrew: And who am I? I am Andrew, the average triathlete, voice of the people and captain of the middle of the pack. Listen, today we're going to warm up by talking about volunteering at a race near you. Then we'll head to the main set where we talk all things assessment week. And for our cool down, we’ll debut a new segment called the TriDot Bookshelf. I'm always looking for a new book to dive into and Jeff and John will give all of us a great recommendation. Lots of great stuff. Let's get to it. Time to warm up. Let's get moving. Andrew: All right. Guys, today's warm up question is going to take us straight out onto the Ironman race course. We all know it's super important to give back to the sport, and one of the best and most fun ways to do that is to volunteer at a race. I know both of you have done this quite a bit. So, tell me this, when you're volunteering for an Ironman, what is your favorite role to serve and what was maybe something you've done that you would not want to do again? John, I'll go to you first. John: So, I live in Houston, Texas, so we have Ironman, Texas as well as 70.3 Texas in the area. So, lots of opportunities to race and when not racing, volunteer. These days I do less racing and more volunteering. So, we generally work in transition, which is one of the requests from the race directors to have knowledgeable triathletes there to help the athletes and kind of know what they need and not be in the way. So, lots of experience-- [crosstalk] Andrew: The ebb and flow of what's happening in transition. John: Yeah, exactly. And I think more than anything, just not screw up stuff and get in the way. So, I would say one of the more difficult actually, the most difficult volunteer job I've done in the past. I actually did a couple years at Ironman Texas, was I was the volunteer captain for T2 change tent. So, this was back when Ironman Texas was in late May, late May in Houston is full on summer. So, we spent about six or seven hours in the afternoon in the summer in a non air conditioned tent. Andrew: Well, in T2 by then the sun has come up, the course is hot, it's humid in Houston already, so I imagine inside of a tent, it's double humid. John: It was probably over 100 degrees and very humid. It was in a grassy area so very humid in there. We had athletes coming in and by the time the pros come in, by the time the last cyclist barely making the cut off comes through, it's a six or seven-hour window. Andrew: So, that sounds like you needed like a nutrition plan just to keep electrolytes in your body as a volunteer. John: Yeah, yeah, it was definitely part of being a volunteer captain was making sure my volunteers didn't pass out from the heat and making sure they had water and food and all that kind of stuff. So, it's rewarding, like any other volunteer shift, but that was a lot of hard work, that was a long day. My favorite thing to do in volunteering is finish line catcher, especially at midnight. I've done that several times as well. So, you're the ones that as those folks are coming across the finish line, they're falling into your arms and you're getting to escort them through to get their medal and meet up with their family and be among the first to hear their stories. So, definitely finish line catcher is a fantastic job. And I would say the best shift is that midnight finish where those folks have been out there a real long time working real hard to earn that medal. Andrew: No, that's super cool. Jeff, what about you, what is your go-to on long course volunteer preferences? Jeff: They're different. I've done that a lot. I really like-- we did the, for the same reasons that John didn't like the T2 transition volunteering, I did 1T. And so it was earlier in the day and you're out of the sun. So, in Texas again, when you get to cool off earlier in the day, that was pretty cool, getting-- able to see the athletes coming out of the water. A lot of them, that was the most terrorizing part, now that's over, they get to breathe whenever they want-- [crosstalk]--Trying to figure out which ones are you know, wanting to be chatty and taking the time and enjoying it. And then the other ones just staying out of their way, making sure that they have peace of mind, everything's taken care of, we've got their gear, we're going to take care of it and just encourage them. So, that's real fun. I also like volunteering with my family, taking the kids out there and my wife, she's just super supportive. And we've done that at aid stations, where when the kids were younger, we give them contest of who could pick up the most cups, put them in the trash. So, we're at water station and they're doing that run around picking up cups and just keeping them out of the way of the athletes. And then most recently, it's kind of like catchers, it’s a local race done by Dallas athletes here in the Dallas area, and they had an X 50 Olympic and a sprint. And so our junior team, I coach a junior team. And so at the end of our season after nationals-- [crosstalk] Andrew: A nationally ranked junior team at that-- Jeff: National, we got third in the nation last year, our development team. And so taking those kids out there at the finish line, all of them finished first. And so as soon as they were done, they put on their podium shirts and got a drink of water, turned around and started passing out medals for everyone to finish for the next two-three hours. Andrew: All the athletes they just beat on course? Jeff: Yes, yeah. So, it’s kinda funny, they're encouraging them and they're like, and all the comments old folks and the old folks like me 50, and just be encouraged by these kids from 13 to 18, 19 years old. So, that was cool, just to get them in the habit of giving back and develop that culture of just giving back. We have just a wonderful triathlon culture. I just love that everyone's encouraging and gives back to the community. Andrew: Yeah, race day volunteers are so crucial to your own race when you're out there on course. And I know for me, I haven't volunteered an Ironman yet. I need to but I already do know this, I know exactly what position I want to try first. Because just from local races I have served and I love being there at the exit of the swim, just to help the athletes out of the water, help them back on the dry land. And seeing people come out you know, some I mean, kind of what like what you just said, Jeff, they come out, they were cruising, they're flying, they're on a mission into T1, they know exactly what they're doing [You stay out of the way] and you stay out of the way. And some of them are so happy to see a face-- [crosstalk] Jeff: Right, they want to high-five, tell you a story. Andrew: Yeah, they want high-fives, they're so happy to get their feet back on dry land that they're reaching out for your arm and you’re the angel that just bring them back on the dry land. And just seeing the look on people's faces when they're done with that swim, they're excited to get on with the rest of the race is just a local races has always been a really fun position for me. I've especially done that at some of the youth races in our area. And so seeing 7, 8, 9, 10 year old triathletes come out of the water just gasping for breath and a little disoriented is the most adorable thing in our sport. Like I will fight anybody who says otherwise. If you have you never served at a local youth race, it's very rewarding as well. So, when I volunteer at Ironman that's going to be the spot I look for first is okay can I-- do they need people at that because that would be my first pick to try out. On to the main set going in 3, 2, 1. Andrew: Our main set today is brought to you TRITATS. Whether you're a seasoned Ironman or gearing up for your first local sprint tri, TRITATS will help you make your mark. These tough, stylish and easy to use race number tattoos make you look and feel like a pro. I personally have raced countless local sprint and Olympic tri’s, where I showed up thinking I had plenty of time to settle into transition, only to find a massive line waiting to be body marked. Switching to TRITATS has allowed me to show up on race morning with my focus on the finish line, not the body marking line. If you have an Ironman race this year, their IRONTATS are made especially for you. IRONTATS body marks you for that one key race and include the all famous M-Dot logo. Friends, don't let friends race with Sharpied-on numbers. So, as a friend of the podcast, head to TriTats.com and use promo code TRIDOT for 10% off your order. Again, that's TriTats.com, promo code TRIDOT. As triathletes, the best way to track our progress in all three sports is to regularly test what we're capable of in the most standardized way possible. At TriDot, we do this regularly and we call it assessment week. It seems most TriDot athletes have a love/hate relationship with the assessments. I mean, it's great to see your splits go down and your scores go up. But it does come at the cost of going all out or full intensity in one swim, one run, and one bike session in the same week. So, whenever this important week comes across your training plan, you want to be sure to maximize the opportunity to assess your current fitness. Today, Jeff and John are here to talk us through doing just that. Guys, the assessment week serves numerous purposes for both TriDot’s training software and for the athlete. Talk me through the multiple purposes of doing regular assessments? John: So, the assessments are among the most important sessions within the training phase. It's really hard to nail down the most important because everyone plays their role, but these are very pivotal and they really impact other sessions and coming weeks, coming phases. So, the obvious thing that the assessments do is benchmark progress. So, we do these assessments, we get the results and then we're able to compare those to previous assessments and see how the athlete has advanced, where their gains have been made. But from there, there are several other things that the assessments do. First, they update the TriDot score, which there are several implications to the TriDot score itself when that TriDot score changes. Several other things throughout their training are impacted by those TriDot scores as well. Another very important thing that comes from the assessments is updating the athletes’ intensities. So, their paces, their heart rate zones, their power zones, those change, they’re dynamic, and we want to make sure that the athlete is always training at the proper intensity. Andrew: I've noticed for myself like I kind of get to a point in your day to day training where like, oh man, this swim session that used to be really hard, now it's becoming a little bit easier to hold those prescribed paces. And then sure enough, your assessment week comes around and you find out, up I have new zones. John: And that's pretty typical. As you work your way through a mezzo cycle, you get fitter, more fit. And so those intensities aren't as taxing as they were. So, you do an assessment, you have new intensities and those first weeks, it takes getting used to those new intensities. And that's all part of adaptation. And every TriDot session is prescribed with a very specific purpose looking to achieve a very specific training stress, and we achieve that by a certain time at a certain intensity. So, it's important that those intensities are specific to each athlete and their current fitness level. So, updating the intensity is very important. I also mentioned that every session is prescribed to fulfill a very specific purpose, and even the assessments are the same. They are achieving a very specific training adaptation. And then finally, the assessments teach the athlete how to push themselves. So, this is a skill that is very necessary on race day, especially for those racing short course races. This is going to be very close to what they're going to experience out on the racecourse and that is an acquired skill. You don't just naturally show up to your first race and know how to maximize your potential, how to push your body to its limit. So, this is an opportunity for these athletes to dial in that skill on a regular basis so that when race day comes around, they will know exactly how and what it feels like to push their body, they know what they’re capable of-- Andrew: When the effort picks up, the heart rate picks up, the intensity picks up to know that your body starts hurting like I-- [crosstalk] John: Absolutely. They've been there before, they've experienced it, and they know as soon as they cross the finish line, it's all better. But if you put two people against each other and one has been pushing themselves and testing themselves and dialing in their race ability, their race strategy, and someone else has just been doing low intensity training for the last six months; I guarantee you that person that's dialed in that skill is going to win even if they have comparable fitness. Andrew: So, does every athlete do the same assessment or does it, what we actually do in that session differ from athlete to athlete? Jeff: Well, it'll differ some from athlete to athlete sometimes on the swim, it's a short course/long course, meters, yards pool, so they're slightly different there. But that's the most standardized, the 400, 200. On the bike, some people have power meters and can do it on a smart trainer. Other people are outdoors doing a 15 mile or 25 mile. So, there's differences in the facility or the equipment available. Obviously, the most consistent method to do the assessments is best. So, the most controlled environment and the one that you can replicate the most often is easy. Some do it different on the 5K or a 10K run, so it depends on the athletes fitness. Whenever we're doing anything, we've talked about this before when we're prescribing training, it's not about a distance, it's about an intensity level for a certain amount of time. So, if you have an intensity level, which we're shooting for a threshold effort, and we're trying to extrapolate what that is, if an athlete's running a 50 minute 5K, that's not a good-- they're not in there at their threshold, they're going to be in a different energy system than someone that runs a 20-minute 5K. So, a 20-minute 5K for someone that does it in 20 versus 50 is very different. And so we'll have the faster athletes under 45 minute 10K, they can do the 10K as their assessment, but for everyone else it’s a 5K. So, there's some difference but we try to keep it, there are preferred assessments that are more accurate and then more easily repeatable. Andrew: So, with so many different places to train, you kinda touched on it a little bit, you know, I can do my run assessment at the track, I can do it through the park down the road, that the bike assessments, some people can do them inside on a platform like Zwift or just with their power meter indoors, some people can go outside and ride a 15 minute time trial. Is there may be a best method to ensure the accuracy? John: So, the best way to set up accuracy is to be consistent. As you mentioned, it's repeating the same conditions, assessment to assessment as best you can. And that's going to allow us to draw meaningful conclusions, simply because the course is the same, the environment is going to be similar. And when the environment is different, we can account for that. So, consistency is important. So, best case is same pool, same methodology for your bike assessment if you're going out and doing the 15 mile or 25K bike assessment, do the same route over and over so that you have similar elevation profile, so the course is the same, and then similar on the run. A track is great because it's a known distance, it's flat, there's no traffic, that sort of thing. Andrew: Great for checking your pace. John: Yeah, so you can dial it in and that's gonna allow you to have that consistency month over month. So, you can really see-- You can know what-- If you do different track, for example, or not a different track but a different route, there's going to be a certain variability of that that is going to be attributed to the different course. So, one course may be faster than another. Andrew: And how well you know that course. John: Right. How many turns does it have? Is it a net uphill, is it a net downhill, things like that, how much elevation gain is there on the course? that's going to impact the assessment and that's what we don't want. We want to minimize that, we want to get to as much what is the fitness of that. So, control the environment, repeat the environment as best you can. And then accuracy is critical. So, we mentioned before that these results impact the training that is prescribed, they establish the training intensities, so they're very important to the individualized training. So, accuracy is paramount. It comes into the garbage in garbage out. So, if we have bad data, bad information or if it's stale data, if it's outdated, it's not going to be as high quality. So, all this is going to impact the training plan. So, it's always important to have accurate data and current data, so that all these other things can be accurate as well. Jeff: I’d add to that. The athlete should do everything that they can to make it as accurate as possible, as consistent as possible. But if stuff happens, then don't stress about it. We do a lot of stuff on our end to normalize and to parse the data and take different things into account to normalize it. So, yes, the more accurate it can be the better, but it’s-- [crosstalk] Andrew: Because even on the same loop, if you're cycling the same, the same 15 mile loop, I mean, the weather, the environment, there's a ton of different factors that could be slightly different, even on the same track. Jeff: Correct. We take care of some of that, but wind, stopping at a light traffic, dog runs out in front of you, there's a lot of things. So, if you can't control it, just go with it. It's the consistency over time and as accurate as you can is just the best way to go. John: And the implications of those are going to be small. And so over a 15 mile time trial, if you slow down for a car, obviously we want to be safe. Slowing down for that car to pass or whatever isn't going to have a material effect-- [crosstalk] Jeff: Yes, liabilities claim, always slow down for cars [crosstalk] John: ...stoplights and that sort of thing. And that's part of it too is selecting the course where you minimize those things, [Those risks] stop signs, stoplight traffic. It's do the best you can, find the best route possible. Jeff: I’d rather find a boring route that’s safe that you can repeat than a cooler easier to get to route that’s dangerous. Andrew: So, when an athlete heads into an assessment, I mean, these are hard efforts for the swim, bike, and run. We're really pushing ourselves in these sessions. And so we could do a whole podcast and we probably will on how to pace yourself when you're racing and how to pace yourself in hard sessions. But for these assessments, in particular, John, what is kind of a best strategy for an athlete to pace themselves to try to get the most out of their potential? John: So, the purpose of the assessment is an all out effort, what is the fastest we can achieve these distances? Or if it's a 20-minute power test, what is the maximum power you can sustain for that 20-minute period? So, it is an all out best effort. So, there are a couple ways that you can set yourself up for success in that. First thing I always recommend is having a plan, especially as you go into the bike and the run. Know exactly where you are, look at your previous assessments, know what you think you're capable of, and then set yourself up for that. So, if it's a power test, what was your average power the previous time? So, now you're fitter than you were before so you can push a little bit more. I always recommend the negative split, that's going to help produce a better result. So, it's starting-- [crosstalk] Andrew: Starting a little bit easier and-- John: Starting conservative and then build throughout. So, your lowest power should be the first couple minutes, your highest power should be the last couple minutes. And same thing with your 5K, it's your slowest pace is maybe that first mile, your fastest mile is that third mile. Jeff: And not by much just-- John: Right. So, like on a 5K, maybe it's 10 seconds per mile slower and then you build throughout. It’s going to hold back a little bit of energy, it's going to help pass the time so to speak, because you're starting off a little easier. It's going to shorten the time that you're going just all out, and it's really going to allow you to gauge your energy level, your ability, how hard can you push in those last few minutes. And that's what's going to help produce those best results. But as I mentioned before, it really is an acquired skill. So, you're not just going to show up to your first assessment and know how to absolutely 100% nail it. But when we do these month after month on a regular basis, that skill will come and you will dial in your ability to go out and nail these assessments. So, it's going to, it's a combination of fitness and execution. But that's what we're going to rely on, on race day as well. You can have all the fitness in the world, but if you execute poorly, you're not going to have your best race. So, it's again, it's about learning how to race, it's maximizing your fitness and putting those two things together. And then you have the intangible of it as well. As you're going out there and you're pushing your body, you're learning what it feels like to push to that quote-unquote, pain area, and you're building that grit factor that is going to be extremely valuable on race day. Because at some point, racing becomes difficult, and that's kind of one of the things that people love about the sport is that sensation we don't particularly experience elsewhere. So, the more you can learn how to push your body and learn that grit factor; these are things well beyond the initial benchmarking, all those things that we talked about. So, again, there are a whole lot of things that we accomplished through these ongoing assessments. Andrew: Yeah, and you don't even as an athlete in every single training session get to practice that grit factor. Sort of have a regular session like this, where you're going to that place of pushing yourself and seeing what your body can do is really, really valuable. I'm going to take just a second and humblebrag on myself. I had my assessments last week and I had a 10K run assessment and it was probably the best I have ever negative split a 10K. And I'm going to be candid, it's not because of my incredible ability to pace myself on the run. People listening right now, I'm looking at the Founder and essentially lead coach of TriDot and admitting I skipped my assessments for a month or so. And so I think going into that session knowing okay, I haven't pushed myself on a 10K in a couple months. I think I was a little scared of it, a little intimidated. And so I wanted to hold back just okay. I want to make sure I don't push myself too hard too quickly. And I ended up really pacing it quite well because I did exactly you said. I held back on the first mile. I was able to pick up the pace to the middle four miles and then kick a little bit at the end. So, that's my humblebrag for today. If we recorded this episode a month from now, I might not be able to say the same thing. But on that particular 10K, it went really, really well and I was pleased with the results. So, people strive for the negative splits, it’s not always, you don't always nail it. But the more you practice nailing that in your assessments, the more ready you're going to be to nail that negative split on race day. John: That's also gonna prevent you from blowing up. That's something else athletes will do is they go out too hard too early, and that's not going to produce an accurate result. If you're 15 minutes into a 20-minute power test and all of sudden your power drops significantly, that's not good data. That average 20-minute is not going to be your true 20-minute max power. So, that negative split is also going to help prevent that blowing up because you don't want to go out too hard, too soon. It's save that for the back end. Jeff: And the more you do and the more consistent you are, you dial that in that perception, so your negative splitting gets more and more smaller. You know, and you dial in that ability, but upfront, it's way more valuable. Andrew: Yeah. So, after completing an assessment, the athlete will then need to submit their results into the assessment’s portion of the TriDot’s interface. What information do they need to input for each sport? John: So, for the swim, it's their time, that's the CSS test. It's a 400 for time, 200 for time, so that's it, just what are your times for the 400 and the 200. Moving on to the bike, it depends on which test you're doing. The 20-minute power test for those that have a power meter or smart trainer where they're able to track their power, we're looking for average power for the 20-minute segment and average heart rate for that same 20-minute segment. Andrew: So, not average over the whole session but average for that one 20-minute block. John: Right. Just the 20-minute segment and then for the run, it is time in average heart rate for the distance. So, then what happens is that information is utilized to determine thresholds. So, these are threshold paces for the swim and the run, also threshold heart rate for the bike and run and then threshold power for the bike. And this information is then used to establish each individual's training zones. So, for the swim, there are individual paces for the bike, there are heart rate zones and power zones for those that have power for the run. There are paces and heart rate zones as well. So, those are established for each individual and then updated each time these assessments are done. And then that information is also used in the Race X Pacing Guide. So, this is where race day pacing comes from. So, another reason it's very important to have current information is your pacing on race day is gonna be based on your most recent assessment. Andrew: If you’re not regularly updating that assessment, you're not going to have a very accurate Race X recommendation. John: Correct. Andrew: So, John, I think there's a lot of athletes that are like me. For the bike, I do my assessment indoors, right. It's just a controlled environment, it's going to be the same every time. I'm not dealing with cars and roads and traffic and stop lights and heat and weather. So, I always do it indoors, and a ton of athletes do their assessment just like that, inside on their trainer. And the platforms that we're using to do those 20-minute power tests indoors, there's already built-in algorithm, there's already things that say, oh you put up this much power for 20 minutes. And so let's take 95% of that and that's your FTP, and we're given that FTP number. Now, that FTP number isn't the number we're supposed to be putting into TriDot. We want to put in the raw average power that we produce for those 20 minutes. So, tell me a little bit why TriDot doesn't use the FTP number most platforms kind of spit out? Andrew: So, all those platforms and there's a lot of different ones, and they use different calculations, but that's exactly what it is. It's a generic calculation, it's common to apply 95% or something like that to that 20-minute average power to estimate a functional threshold power number. Where it's one of those things where when we apply it across the board to everyone, it's not accurate to anybody. So, what we're able to do with that 20-minute power is qualify that for each individual athlete, and then take into consideration numerous factors that are specific to that individual, so that we can now determine a very accurate functional threshold power. And really the differences oftentimes, athletes aren't really using their functional threshold power. It's a bragging right, but it really doesn't impact training-- [crosstalk] Andrew: Look at my FTP. Look at how strong my legs are. John: Exactly. So, as we mentioned before, that functional threshold power is a key metric that goes into establishing an athlete's training, their training zones, their race day pacing. It is actually used in numerous ways throughout their training and racing. So, accuracy of that individual’s functional threshold power is actually a very important piece of data. So, again, it goes back to that data needs to be accurate, it needs to be accurate to that individual. So, just applying a blanket generic percentage to a 20-minute power is not the proper way to establish an accurate functional threshold power number. So, that's where we'll see the difference. And you know, a broken clock is right twice a day kind of a thing where an athlete might have a very close FTP in TriDot compared to what would spit out by the platform. But if it's not the same, if it's off by a certain amount, it's because one was most likely created through just a generic, estimated made up percentage and the other is actually created based on that individual’s makeup and their data. Andrew: So, after completing an assessment, an athlete’s SwimDot, BikeDot, and RunDot numbers will then increase or decrease depending on the results of the assessment. Jeff, talk us through what those three TriDot numbers mean for the athlete? Jeff: All right. So, up to this point, we've been talking about benchmarking. And for a lot of people who have been training and racing a while, all this may sound familiar; benchmark, make progress over time. Well, here's where we start to really differentiate and use this data differently. First of all, the Swim, Bike, and RunDot scores they’re a scale from one to 100 of ability, where one is a pace or power, that barely qualifies for that discipline, barely moving, you're not running, your little bit more than walking, jogging, and then all the way up to 100, which would be world class effort for whatever that discipline and distance would be. And then it’s the same bell curve you'd expect to see in the middle where 50 would be in the middle. So, one of the things is the correlation between the two over the years. The origin actually of TriDot, of that standard was from Jack Daniels. And no not drinking too much getting drunk and having the right idea. But Jack Daniels, the famous running coach was amazing. I saw him at a symposium one time, got introduced to his work, what he’d done. I read his book, it's just wonderful stuff. It’s a very methodical approach to running where he was looking at the differences in ability and some people's threshold pace was impacted most by their aerobic efficiency or running efficiency, their mechanics and others their VO2 Max, so their aerobic potential. And so he came up with a number that took both of those into account. Okay, whatever reason, however good you excel at one and not so much the other, there is this pace at which is your functional threshold. So, it was your velocity at VO2 Max, so that's the VDot, Velocity of VO2 Max. So, he had a-- [crosstalk] Andrew: So, he called it, that a number was your VDot. Jeff: Your VDot. And so that's just from statistics. And so he had a scale that was 35, or 30 to 85 was his range of these times. And so he's working with a lot of great athletes, elite athletes and so it didn't encompass all of the abilities. And so, what I did from that is I said, that's a great approach to doing this. And so to apply it to triathlon, first of all, we extended it from one to 100. So, athletes kind of sense that, that scale one to 100 kinda like school grades. Andrew: We’re used to that scale our whole lives, right, yeah. Jeff: And then extending it to abilities below that which he would measure working with elite athletes, and then converting the run piece not only to the run assessments, which are standalone efforts, but to off the bike runs, and then correlating those scales. So, the Swim, Bike and RunDot all correspond to a similar ability. So, a 60 would be the same point on that bell curve for the swim as a 60 on the bike, as a 60 on the run. Andrew: Okay, gotcha. Jeff: So, it becomes this absolute standard, a ruler by which we measure-- [crosstalk] Andrew: So, really helps you know where you're at, in relation to the field of the sport? Jeff: Absolutely. So, it has some value to that. The biggest value is not to the field and to everyone else, but it's to yourself. So, that interdisciplinary evaluation comparison. If you're trying to improve, say, in the bike or the run, first of all, we're able to assess it better. Because if one athlete has a higher like a 60 on the bike and a 50 on the run, if that athlete is great body composition, then we can conclude that they need to, or they can improve more on the run than the bike because there's more room for improvement. Andrew: That's going to benefit them more overall as a triathlete. Jeff: Correct. But if that same 60 on the bike and 50 on the run is from let's say, a 50-year-old athlete like me, maybe weighs 220 pounds, like maybe someone I know, then they're going to have the mechanical advantage of the bike and so I should perform better on the bike. And so that's not a fitness, that's not a physiological opportunity for improvement on the run. I'm carrying body weight and so a lot of my energy is spent carrying the body weight. And so we're able to look at different athletes differently with different-- been doing the sport for longer, their sport age is longer, the body composition is different, a whole number of factors. Maybe their position on the bike is more upright and so they're pushing a lot of drag. So, their BikeDot may be lower, but it's not because their fitness is lower, it’s because they have upright position due to lack of mobility or road helmet or who knows what. A lot of things could impact, the pace at which they could go for a 50 mile-- [crosstalk] Andrew: So, your TriDot numbers aren't just generated by your assessment, they’re generated by a whole lot of factors? Jeff: A whole lot of other factors, right. And that makes it if you don't do those things, then you can't correlate and compare apples to apples, outcomes of training because your base assessment is not right. And first of all, before even assessment is not right, the prescription’s not right. So, if you can't prescribe, right, and you can't have an expectation that's accurate, then you can't measure the assessment of that, the results. So, this is a ripple effect. So, it gives us both the absolute value, and then the relative value. And we use that relative value in a whole number of things when we're determining where the training emphasis should be, how much improvement is there? How much do we expect to realize, and how well the athlete is doing overtime. Andrew: Got it. So, as we do these time trials throughout the year, and assess kind of where we're at, things like the weather and altitude and time of day, they can impact how well we can put forth our best effort. How does TriDot factor these into our results? Jeff: We have an environment normalization technology that we've been working on for many years, probably eight or nine years now, since we implemented that. But we noticed that there was one training myth that was long, slow distances. A lot of people had this perception that running more long course marathon training, they just said marathon training, I’m faster when I do marathon training. And so they saw this correlation, their fastest times of the year were during the winter months when they train for marathon. Therefore, long, slow run makes me faster and then I get slower during triathlon season when I might shorten that stuff down. Maybe you're doing Olympics or halfs. So, they made that correlation and that long, slow distance. That's one of the reasons, there's a lot of reasons that that became prevalent. But it was more of a correlation between the weather. In the winter, the winter is cooler, and so your runtimes are better, and you may back off some of the other things. So, you're spending more time running, less training intensity is spent on the bike and the other. So, we have an environment normalization technology that takes into account temperature, elevation and humidity. So, for athletes that are even changing the time of day of their workout, they get up in the morning, it might be you know, 50 degrees. If they do the same workout that afternoon, it might be 75 degrees, the humidity will change. So, we actually prescribe training differently based on that. You'll see your TriDot work out change, the intensities will change based on the time of day. If it's three in the afternoon, and it's 80 degrees outside but you do it inside, it'll change. So, it knows what that environment is, it gets it from the day So, in a prescriptive manner, we use environment normalization, but also in a diagnostic and assessments, as that data comes back in, we parse it and make those adjustments so that we're making sure that we're taking that into account on an environmental equivalent basis. Andrew: And so environment normalization really helps standardize your assessment results. If you do your assessment in July versus your assessment in December, the environment normalization will show you kind of how those are relative to each other. Jeff: Correct. And so that's environment normalized before it gets to your assigned, Swim, Bike or RunDot. Andrew: So, once we've done those assessments, and it's been normalized, how do those assessments then impact our future training sessions? John: So, the implications really filters through everything because the assessments are going to update those TriDot scores, those TriDot scores factor into almost everything within TriDot. All of the calculations and all the things that go into determining training phases, training plan, long sessions, individual sessions; all that can really come back to data that is derived through these ongoing assessments. So, they really touch everything within an athlete's training going back to emphasizing how important it is to have good current accurate data for these. So, for example, one of the things that we can see a change is in the bike to run factor. So, this is a feature that allocates training resources. Andrew: The B2R. John: The B2R. How do we address bike and run? How do we know where we want to focus training resources for the overall biggest gains? And TriDot score is one of the main factors in that. So, as assessments drive TriDot’s scores, that's going to have an implication to bike to run factor. As I mentioned, the individual sets, so oftentimes, if we have a distance base that's actually based on the amount of time that the athlete is going to spend to achieve that distance. So, as they get faster or stronger, they're going to cover a given distance in less time. So, that's gonna be an implication in which sets are prescribed to the athletes so that they can-- [crosstalk] Jeff: Distance is derived from duration.  So, you have to know the duration first. So, your body knows not how much ground you're covering, but intensity, and how long you're holding that intensity. So, the distance is derived from duration. Andrew: So, usually in your training sessions, that's why you always see intervals prescribed in minutes, usually, right? Jeff: That’s preferred, correct. Andrew: It's called this effort at this many minutes, and however much ground you cover is really irrelevant. Jeff: Right. And that's how you see if you have a difference in your RunDot. For example, one athlete might have six minutes or for the efforts or a 1,400, one might have a 1,600, one might have a 1,200. Because it's how long-- how far should you cover at that intensity, at that pace for that duration. And so their sweet spots physiologically at that intensity, we want you to hold, you have to hold at least four minutes, but not more than six, not much more than six. You know, there's that sweet spot of how many intervals you’re gonna get. John: So, it is on the run, but predominantly on the swim. So, again, we're looking for periods of time at particular intensity levels, but we don't have a good metric for dista-- excuse me, time on the swim, so everything is distance-based. So, two athletes, they may both need four minutes at a particular pace and it may take one athlete 200 yards to do the four minutes and it may take another athlete 300 yards. And then another implication is your long sessions. So, your TriDot scores, factor into your predicted splits, your predicted splits determine how long your long sessions are. So, if we know you're going to be spending X hours on the bike on race day, we're going to-- that's going to be reflected in your training. So, as your assessments improve, that's going to be indicative of a faster split, which means less time out on the racecourse which in turn means less time-- [crosstalk] Andrew: And so less time on your long session. John: --in training. Yeah. So, these assessments filter deep, really-- Andrew: I gotta tell you, I'm so motivated to improve my bike split for my upcoming Ironman, not so that my end time will be faster but so that my butt bones will not have to sit on my saddle as long. Like, get me off the bike as fast as possible. John: Yeah, race days-- [crosstalk] Andrew:  Help me out TriDot. John: Yeah, we don't want to do any more training than we have to, definitely not on those long sessions. Andrew: So, one thing I frequently see from athletes, when they talk about the assessments is that sometimes you're approaching that week where you're supposed to get them done, you see it coming up on your training calendar, and with life events, work events, maybe even a minor injury. Sometimes we reach that week, and it's just not an ideal time for me to crank out those assessments. Should I postpone them a week or so or is it just best to let it pass and wait until the next month? Jeff: You don't want to wait. It depends on how much impact your training schedule has. If you're like missing an entire week, and you only have enough time to do one session, well do that session, do that one. If you're pretty much, you just missed that one session, but you're doing most of the others, then just find the next comparable session, the next session, that's about an hour with a lot of intensity in it, a lot of quality in it and then replace it, do the assessment in place of that other session. And then it's giving you approximately the same training value. If it's three by 12, at threshold, just do your 20-minute threshold test. So, it's kind of a, either or, if you're missing a ton of training, don't wait till the next week. And if you can get one session in, just do the session. If you can't, do what you need to do to get those sessions in during that week. Andrew: So, John, depending on their weekly training schedule, sometimes athletes talk about how their schedule might give them a hard session the day before an assessment. Will this hard session detracts from the results of the following day? John: They shouldn't and oftentimes the question is, I have assessments back to back. So, for the athlete that’s been consistently training, these assessments are not particularly different in training stress and training load from the training they've been doing in previous week. So, for example, the swim is it 600 yards, 600 meters. Andrew: I mean, to me, it’s the easiest swim session in my month. John: Yeah, so you're obviously every swim session is at least 600, you include the warm up and all that, call it a 1,000. There's really not any swim session shorter than 1,000. And even to do 600 yards or 600 meters of high intensity in the swim. Not a large implication to that. You can recover from that quite quickly. But even as we move on to the bike and run, say you're doing the 20-minute power test, you have a very high likelihood of really every week, having multiple sessions that have at least 20 minutes of high intensity included in them. Andrew: You’re just used to a few minutes in zone two-- [crosstalk] John: It may be two by 10, it may be three by eight, whatever the case may be, but it's at least 20 minutes oftentimes, so it's not significantly different. And then same thing on the run doing that 5K, chances are you've got, give or take three miles, five kilometers of quality work in those sessions as well. And they're not so long, they're not so arduous that it's going to take multiple days to recover from those. And if there is any lingering fatigue, it's going to be minimal. It's not really going to impact the results and certainly not to a degree that would lessen the accuracy of those. Jeff: And you have less training that week anyway. John: Right. So, it's almost like a mini taper week where there's less intensity, less duration, oftentimes, especially if you're in a long course phase, you're going to see the volume drop on that week. And then like I said, the intensity will be down as well. So, there are opportunities for some recovery and again, kind of like a mini taper that is going to set you up for success in these. So, an athlete should be able to highly execute these even if they were back to back. And then the implication of spacing them out further would be the opportunity cost of how does that impact other training. So, we're doing three assessments in seven days, so that's plenty of time, plenty of spacing. But if we did more, if we had to spread those over 10 to 14 days, there's further implications to that and would really impact training from there. So, three hard days within a seven day week is completely feasible and still-- [crosstalk] produce good results. Andrew: I gotta say for myself that there was one 5K assessment that I was entering that Sunday when I'm supposed to do it and I was tired. We had a lot going on that weekend, I'd had my workouts and it was in the summer so it's hot outside. And so that plays into your mind like I gotta do this 5K, it’s warm outside and I’d Facebook messaged my Coach, Ryan Tibble. And I was like, “Hey, man, like I've got this 5K, like, I really think it's going to go well.” And he was like, “You might surprise yourself. Like don't go into it with a negative attitude because you're probably going to surprise yourself. You're probably going to do better than you think.” And I'm like, “Bro, I'm not gonna do better than I think.” I PR my 5K in 80 degrees you know eight o'clock at night Texas summer heat on a day where I was tired and felt like I was not going to have a good 5K. Not even environment normalization PR like straight-up PR my 5K on a day I didn't expect to. And so I think there is some grounds to just like Ryan, my coach told me like you might surprise yourself, [Absolutely] you might shock yourself of what your body's capable of on the day. So, many athletes, they do their assessment and they see their numbers changing from month to month, they see the slight improvement as those TriDot numbers go up and they're wondering to themselves, “Did I do good? How am I doing compared to other people? Am I improving quickly? Am I improving at a normal rate? Am I barely improving? So, tell me this, Jeff, what numerical improvement should athletes expect to see from month to month? Jeff: Well, it’s hard to say obviously because I think that's an answer that you might have expected to hear, it depends from athlete to athlete. So, age plays a factor, genetics plays a factor, how consistently they've been training. We try to use or we do use the Train X Score, that's the biggest deal to be consistent. So, you want to hit those 70 or above weekly Train X 60s average. So, just the better that you can do, the more consistently you can do, the right training, right, the better you're going to do. So, it gets really hard. One, there's two reasons that we don't publish that or make that accessible is one, it really varies quite a bit between the athletes. We know what and why but it can be discouraging just from something you can't control like genetics, life gets in the way. So, just focus, we try to just focus on what you can do. Focus on what your schedule allows, your priority, what your God-given ability is and do the best with that. So, you just want to see consistent progress overtime and just focus on every day what you can control today. Forget about what happened yesterday, you celebrate the successes for sure, but then just drive on. Andrew: So, there's going to be a lot too depending on where the athlete is starting from. Is an athlete that has a low fitness level, they're going to have meteoric rise, they're going to see big gains every assessment for the first several, several assessments, the athlete that comes in with an already having a high level of fitness, those gains are going to be much more incremental. There's not as much low hanging fruit. So, that rate is going to be different as well. And it also depends on what phase the athlete is in. Whereas, if an athlete is in a development phase, where they're able to focus on building functional threshold, building power and speed, they're going to have a higher likelihood of seeing bigger gains than the athlete that's in, say, an Ironman race prep phase where the focus is stamina. Jeff: Yeah, they're not building their functional threshold or not as significantly, because you can only really focus on one effectively at a time. So, they may see a plateau or a slow down and their improvement on the FTP, for example, during that build-up race prep--[crosstalk] Andrew: ...focus on their season at that time is just [is building stamina] a little bit different. Jeff: Yeah, so they're building the capacity to hold a percent of that FTP for a longer and  longer period of time, and so they're seeing the gain there. So, if they're focused on my FTP is not going up, or if they're focused only on my stamina, or only how long is my long run, it depends on what the purpose and what the goal is, during that mezzo cycle. And then it can be different from phase to phase. So, you may be going after you know the optimization may have you improving differently in the different disciplines. You may be building stamina in one and FTP in the other depending on what your needs are and the needs of that race day are. Andrew: John, it reminds me a little bit of if you’re familiar with the TV show, The Biggest Loser from 5, 6, 7 years ago, that was a huge TV show for a little while and-- [a huge TV show] Yeah, and puns. So, someone will come on that show, a guy would come on that show weighing 350 pounds-- John: Drop 20 pounds in the first week. Andrew: And drop 20 pounds a week for like, three, four weeks and then all of a sudden as he would get fitter and fitter those pounds would be 10 pounds a week, and eight pounds a week, and four pounds a week and it wasn't that--[crosstalk]--Yeah, it wasn't that he wasn't putting in the work that he was putting in in the beginning, it's just that okay, now you have less weight to lose. So, if you're new to the sport of triathlon, even if you're fit, you're new to the sport, you're going to see those bigger gains right a way that somebody who's maybe a little bit higher up on the scale. John: And oftentimes, folks will come from years of triathlon experience, but now they're experiencing TriDot’s optimize training and all of a sudden, just training, right, as Jeff mentioned, doing the right training right has those-- [crosstalk] Jeff: Yes. Numerous, not numerous, beyond numerous, whatever bigger number, just dozens and dozens and dozens, numerous athletes that have been doing triathlons for 15-20 years, and it's just a common con-- It's most noticeable for people in their 60s. And they're saying, I'm in my 60s. I've been doing this for 20 years, and I'm faster than I was when I was in my 40s. [Wow] that was just a common thing because it's that age they know they're disciplined, it’s a long enough time where when they're in their 40s, they still remember their PR’s all that kind of stuff. They're 60 they're still competitive-- [crosstalk] Andrew: They're PRing in their 60s. Jeff: They are, or what they did in their 40s and that's just really cool to see. Andrew: That's incredible. John, tell me this just as a coach, when your athletes consistently put in the work, they do their day to day training, they keep up with their assessments, what difference does that make in their results on race day? John: So, it's one of those things where it's not necessarily a causation, but definitely a correlation. And the athletes that train consistently, as Jeff said, consistently do the right training, right and part of that is completing and updating these assessments, that shows on race day. In fact, I would say there's also a very high correlation in the high performance athletes. If you went and looked at their assessment history, they are very consistent in completing these. Whereas you could, I think with a pretty high certainty, I could look at just the dates of assessments and tell you whether that athlete is an elite high performing athlete, or maybe a mid to lower pack, and there's just-- there seems to be a strong correlation. Now, that doesn't mean that that's always the case, but for those that are doing these assessments on a regular basis there just seems to be a very strong correlation of those that make the gains and end up-- Andrew: Because that person is probably also doing their day to day work. John: They're doing the right training right as well and this is just kind of a byproduct of that. So, again, it's not necessarily causation, but I think there is a correlation there between it. Andrew: So, for an athlete, Jeff, who maybe knows his or her assessment hasn't changed that much from the last assessment, maybe they missed some training sessions. Maybe life got in the way just a little bit and they just kind of can feel internally okay, my fitness is at a relative place to where it was last month, is it still valuable to complete that assessment or can they just keep moving forward with the zones they have? Jeff: Well, there's other values. I'm going to address that in a couple of ways. One, to answer your question, there is training value in that. When we prescribe the training, we're expecting a certain amount of time at threshold. So, every time from the week prior, you've done your workout, then there's, you adapt, and then that fades as you use de-train as you don't perform at a certain level. So, there's a training value, you want to keep that performance level up, you want to have those minutes in those zones at that level, and we're counting on that and your training in the future is going to be based on that. So, that's one, to keep conscious about that. There's also other benefits of it, pacing skills, being able to develop that perception of your pace. Sometimes if you don't push yourself to that level, your perception slips. It's a perceived effort drift, kind of gets easier and easier. But when we're a challenger kind of change that scenario a little bit is a lot of people say, oh, my assessment hadn't changed that much. That's just a lie. That's just an excuse. They just don't want to do the effort so they tell themselves, and that comes from you know, some athletes, they look forward to that. It's like taking a test if you're a smart kid, that's where you show off, that's your thing. And some athletes have that, experience that attitude toward it, which is great, but others don't and they have a lot of-- Andrew: A lot of people enjoy the challenge of assessment week. Yeah. Jeff:  Yeah. But a lot of others have anxiety, and I don't want to fail, I want to improve and what if I haven't improved, then all this is for nothing. And so, don't entertain that self-talk. That's bad self-talk. So, there's mental skills that go along with that, and I would encourage athletes to do that too, to visualize doing success. There's a lot of visual training, mental skills that are very important to if there's a negative thought about it, don't let it stay in your head, push it out. If it's not helping you push it out, put something else in its place, get some things that are ready to replace it. You know, I'm going to do this, I'm going to do great. I'm going to be consistent at different times of your training phase like John was talking about earlier as you're winding up your stamina getting ready for a half or full Ironman, your RunDot’s not going to go up. You want to keep it there because you're building something else, you're putting all your energy into holding a percent of that for a longer period of time. But you don't want that threshold to drop by not doing the assessments and not doing the work and because now you're going to do be doing that percentage of a lower number. So, that long tent pole, your functional threshold, you want to keep it up. And then you want to develop that toughness, that grit that he was also talking about earlier. And then I think we said the military you heard it I'm sure, embrace the suck. And so it's realizing-- Andrew: Oh, my father says that all the time. [crosstalk] Jeff: ...you gotta just embrace it. I think associate the pain and that pushing it hard with the results. You know, triathlon’s not for sissies. If you want to do a sissy sport, go do golf or something else. I'm looking at John right now, he's a great golfer. Andrew: John's a big time golfer, John. Jeff: But he's not a sissy. Anyway, so-- Andrew: He's only a sissy when he golfs. Jeff: Right. So, just you know whatever saying is meaningful to you, embrace the suck, suck it up buttercup. I tell our junior team that you know with a smile and laugh and it’s just a push - realized it's supposed to be that way, this is triathlon. You could have picked any sport you want, this is a triathlon. It's one, that's why you cross the finish line at these races and it's significant, it's why people go wow, you did that? Oh, my gosh because it's pushing yourself and that's inherent nature of the sport. So, treat that like it's a mini race, like it's a mini-competition. Get your head, your self talk right, positive, constructive and go into it and see what you can do. Andrew: So, John assessment days are no doubt tough sessions, we gotta embrace the suck a little bit on them to grit our teeth and get through it. And so maybe to close us out today, Jeff just gave us a great word on why to do that, how to do that. But what advice do maybe you have to encourage athletes to do their best on those assessment days? John: It really mirrors what he said. It’s use them as motivation, its look forward to it, and approach it like a race. Oftentimes-- Andrew: You versus you. John: Yeah, exactly. Or you versus you from a month ago, you versus old you and see who's better, who's stronger. Oftentimes, we will go long periods between races and your next race maybe six, nine months away. So, what keeps you motivated? And oftentimes it's hard to really focus and work towards that race that is so far out there and you can't see it. Well, these assessments are a great opportunity for very immediate goals, immediate ambitions. And even Jeff mentioned, sometimes athletes get nervous heading into assessment week. That's actually something I hear fairly common from athletes is oh, I was nervous. Well, great, because you're going to be nervous on race day, you're going to be nervous in those days leading into the race. Andrew: Just letting you practice handling all those emotions. John: Exactly. So, just like we want to dial in intensity and pacing for race day, it's important to learn how do you deal with those quote-unquote, pre-race nerves? Well, you're going to deal with the pre-race nerves the same way you deal with the pre-assessment nerves. So, it's building confidence, it's knowing what you're capable of, and proving that to yourself over and over. And so, let them be motivational, let them be fun. Enjoy those gains and chances are you may be the only one there at the finish line, there's not going to be Mike Riley or the big crowd cheering you home. But still, celebrate those wins and let it be fun. It's not anything to dread, but something to celebrate your gains that you've made over the last several weeks. Andrew: So, you can take a boombox out to the track, throw on the Rocky theme song and just pound out a 5K with your bad self and see where it goes. Great set everyone. Let's cool down. Andrew: For today's cool down, I am super pleased to introduce a new segment that we call the TriDot Bookshelf. While we are recovering from all that training and racing, many of us love turning to a new book to read as we relax and recharge. I've always liked reading but I gotta say and this is just a selfish plug for Kindle, all right. They're not paying me to say this. I got a Kindle and it changed the game for me on how quickly I go through books and how easily I can look into finding my next read. But that's also where my TriDot coaches can help. So, guys for our cool down today, if you can just kind of give me maybe a hot tip on a great book to read, there's a lot of great endurance sports, multi-sport kind of books out there that are great reads. So, what's one that you can recommend for me and for our listeners to check out as maybe their next go-to book? Jeff, what do you think? Jeff: Yeah, I guess the first one that comes to mind just because I mentioned it earlier, is the Daniels Running Formula. That's just one that was really pivotal in my thinking of my approach, not just to running. Andrew: Jack Daniels, the Founder of the V Dot and not the Founder of-- [crosstalk] Jack Daniels Kentucky bourbon. Jeff: No. Yeah. So, there's just his methodical approach to it, creating standards from which you could work with athletes and have just a known basis for decision making and evaluating progress. So, I thought that was really great, so give him props. You know, everything that we do today is just realized it's built on the back and the shoulders of someone that came before, someone that put an idea in someone's head and you advance the ball as best you can and we're doing that in our own way. And so, I’d just like to give him a shout out for that great book. Andrew: Thanks, Jack Daniels. Jeff: Yep. Andrew: John, what about you, what's a go-to book that people should check out? John: So, one that I've used for a number of years, little less technical than Jack Daniels, it's more of a story which is great. It's called You Are an Ironman by Jackie Steinberg. It's older now but the time-- the story is kind of timeless. And it's just a story of six normal people just like the rest of us preparing for Ironman, and it goes through their story, probably takes about a year to read through. [Laughs] It depends on how much you read but it’s-- [crosstalk] So, it's their year leading up into their first Ironman and some of the things they encounter which are real common stories, but it's just kind of interesting to see these six people and what the experiences they prepared for Ironman and what they experienced on race day. So, it's great for those coming up for their first, - it has some great insight as to things that they might experience and just interesting read, You Are an Ironman. Andrew: No that's great. I have not read that one. So, I will add both of those to my list. John: As you come up to your first Ironman. Andrew: As I come to my first Ironman. And so that's actually a great segue into mine because I kind of purposely the first time we debuted this segment, I didn't want to go with something that was like a straight-up Ironman triathlon book. I wanted to kind of pull something from the endurance sports sphere that might be different from what you guys are saying. But the more I thought about it, the more I could not depart from Mike Riley, Finding My Voice. He's the voice of Ironman, we all know him and love him. He's the one that calls so many people, thousands and thousands of people across the finish line every single year. And I was flying to a kind of destination half Ironman. My wife and I were going to vacation, knock out a half Ironman in a foreign country. And on the flight, Mike Riley had just put out this book and I was like, oh, that'd be a perfect book to read on my way to do this half Ironman. And I admittedly like I love doing half Ironman. I never considered doing a full Ironman. I was always the one who was like I just don't want to be on a Racecourse for that many hours. I just don't, I'm never gonna do one. I'm perfectly content in my nice little bubble flying to exotic 70.3s. And I read that book on the plane and it just-- [On Kindle] on my Kindle. Yeah, my Kindle, white page, whatever it's called. And I just, he just goes through, he kind of goes through his own story of how he became the voice of Ironman and just kind of opens up on that how he kind of went from being a racer to the MC. He kind of walks you through kind of how he approaches that job, which for me as a media professional was super interesting. But then he also just shares a ton of great stories of just athletes over the years that he's had the privilege of calling to the finish line. And you can't read these people's stories and not get fired up to do an Ironman. And so by the time we landed, in the back of my head, I was like, dang it Mike, like-- [crosstalk] John: Needs a disclaimer. Andrew: Yeah, you totally just kind of busted my bubble. I was perfectly happy just doing 70.3s. John: This book will cost you a $700 entry fee. Andrew: Yeah, that $15 book or whatever it was, but yeah. So, shout out to Mike Riley wherever he's at right now. I don't know if he'll be the one at Ironman Texas this year doing the calling. And if he is great, if he's not great. John: And he’s usually there. Andrew: He’s usually there, so he was the one. And when you register, they kind of asked you for notes right on “Hey, is there anything unique about you, anything different about you, anything  special we should know? And so I don't know if they'll mention it, I'm sure other people will say this, but I literally wrote down like I signed up for this race because I read Mike Riley's book. And so shout out to him for that. I'm excited about the opportunity and I'm more excited to go back to my career of doing 70.3 is when it's all said and done. John: We'll see. Andrew: But really, really great book. So, I recommend that all of you guys, I'm officially adding it to the TriDot Bookshelf. We're adding all three of these and the recommendations for you guys to check out when you're looking for your next read. Well, that's it for today folks. I want to thank TriDot’s Founder, Jeff Booher, and Coach, John Mayfield for inspiring us to give it our all on assessment weeks. Shout out to our friends at TRITATS for partnering with us on today's show. TRITATS are the perfect way to show up for your first triathlon already styling like a pro. Make your mark by heading to TriTats.com and using our special code TRIDOT to place your first order. Enjoying the podcast, have any triathlon questions or topics you want to hear us talk about? Head to TriDot.com/podcast and let us know what you're thinking. We'll do it again soon. Until then, happy training. Thanks for joining us. Make sure to subscribe and share the TriDot Podcast with your triathlon crew. 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