Music can definitely help push your body through tough training intervals, but I often prefer listening to podcasts during the easier recovery runs and rides. Focusing on the content helps me scale back my effort, and more importantly, offers me additional education on how to improve my training and performance. Below are five of my favorite triathlon podcasts that I recommend to anyone interested in swim bike run.
1. The Purple Patch Podcast
Matt Dixon offers knowledgeable and realistic advice for the time-starved athlete. He focuses on four pillars of performance: endurance, strength, nutrition/fueling, and recovery. Rather than just citing research and expecting me to figure out how to apply an idea to my training, he gives multiple real-life examples of exactly what I should do. How can a working mother of three fit training into her schedule? How does an over-achieving age-grouper scale back from fatigue? What does Matt prescribe to pro triathletes in terms of recovery? He answers all these types of questions honestly, never holding back any secrets reserved to his coached athletes.
Side note 1: I'm slightly biased towards this podcast. After discovering the podcast, I read both Matt Dixon's books and signed up to be on the Purple Patch training squad. But that just shows you how much I agree with his coaching philosophies.
Side note 2: "Purple Patch" is informal British English for "a run of success or good luck." Matt is very British, which is either a bonus or a drawback depending on your appreciation of British humor.
2. That Triathlon Show
In terms of cutting-edge research review and application to triathlon, Mikael Eriksson's That Triathlon Show can't be beat. Many of Mikael's shows start with a research paper or an expert interview, and he goes deep into the nitty-gritty details. It's the level of detail that many triathletes love, including me. Mikael does a superb job of hosting a wide variety of experts on the show, including many experts that disagree with each other. This is helpful because you get to see many different approaches to training. Occasionally, Michael will summarize many experts into his recommendations, which are helpful suggestions. In addition to producing more content than most other shows (That Triathlon Show releases at least two episodes a week!), Mikael is also actively training and competing, as well as coaching other athletes. AND, on top of that, he answers almost anyone's questions (either via email or through Q&A episodes). He was even game for a quick meet-up in Nice, France at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 World Championships.
So if you're the type of person that loves the science nitty-gritty of triathlon training, and you're searching for those final 5% of gains, then That Triathlon Show may be your next favorite resource.
3. Endurance Innovation Podcast
Two mechanical engineers walk into a recording studio. Deep triathlon analysis ensues.
It sounds like a joke, but it's also a great show focused on the tech side of triathlon. Andrew Buckrell of STACPerformance / 4iiiicom and Michael Liberzon of X3 Training get into details about heat and aerodynamics quite a bit (since that's their background). However, my favorite shows are those where they discuss products. They'll talk about bike and wheel choices, as well as the latest innovations and how they might be used in training. The real-world discussion on specific products is missing from the other shows I listen to - and it's a big part of triathlon training. Knowing which products to buy, and which to pass on, is a substantial financial decision, and Andrey and Michael do a great job of guiding others in their purchase considerations. They also have some great guests - including many that aren't usually related to Triathlon, so you don't see them on any other podcasts. My favorite recent episode was about the effects of music on exercise, episode 88.
4. Zwift PowerUp Tri Podcast
I'm a huge fan of Zwift, and the Zwift PowerUp Tri podcast brings much more to the conversation than the online game. In fact, very little is actually mentioned about the game - except for my favorite segment where they ask their guest what their dream Zwift PowerUp would be. Currently hosted by former pro Matt Lieto and current pro Sarah True, their banter with guests is thoroughly entertaining. More than that, they dissect some important topics, including diversity and acceptance in triathlon. Some of their recent episodes on bike positioning and running dynamics have helped me rethink and improve some key training components. The publishing of episodes is a little sporadic (not quite weekly), but I'm always excited to move them to the top of my playlist when they land in my podcast app.
5. Faster - Podcast by Flo
Faster by Flo Cycling has one purpose - help cyclists go faster. Hosted by Chris Thornham, every episode ends with one question - "How does this translate to improvement in watts (or speed) on my bike?" Virtual wind tunnel = 50 watts worth through aero improvements, AltRed Beet Extract = 9 watts, Tubeless Tires = 30 watts, etc. My favorite episode, number 18, talks about altitude training, which is the best concise summary of the topic I've yet to find.
The one thing unique about this podcast is that I recommend starting from episode 1 and working through it sequentially. The best advice comes early, with the more abstract ideas coming later (such as Japanese acupuncture). The approach to all the topics is interesting and engaging. Best of all, it helps prioritize what's worth trying, and what might not bring that big of improvement.
Bonus - Trained by Nike
A final bonus podcast I recommend is Trained by Nike. Host Ryan Flaherty talks through many important topics that relate to triathlon, although they're positioned as sport in general. Visualization, positive self-talk, and sport psychology are common themes as he meets and talks with some of the most accomplished athletes and coaches. Even though it's not triathlon specific, it's great content that will help you achieve a better swim-bike-run performance.
Give these shows a try, and let us know if the comments what other podcasts you recommend.
Written by: Alex Fuller
Alex Fuller is the co-captain of the all3sports and Podium multisport triathlon teams. Based North of Atlanta, Alex has three young kids and does marketing full-time at UPS. He leads the Slowtwitch Rise & Grind Zwift group ride every Thursday at 5:35AM EST, and recently qualified for the 2021 Ironman World Championship. Find him at @alexfullertri on Instagram.