AG Review: The #1 Triathlon Podcast in the World
Jack Kelly’s “How They Train” has quickly become a must listen for all triathletes and endurance athletes.
Disclaimer, AgeGrouper is in no way affiliated with the How They Train. This is not a paid post and the below is purely based on my own experience.
As the head of AgeGrouper, I’m in a constant state of discovery and learning. My main focus is to generate and share the information that matters to endurance athletes—based on tried and true guidance from experts and experienced athletes.
Recently, I came across something that I felt compelled to share with you all not just as Matt from AgeGrouper, but as Matt the athlete as well. It’s rare that I get the opportunity to write a piece based on my personal experience so I’m excited about this one.
Back in July, my coach and friend, Kurt Perham recommended a podcast called, “How They Train” hosted by Jack Kelly. The episode I hit play on was an interview with pro triathlete Kyle Smith. During this hour plus chat, he covered off on what it’s like to train as a pro, including his feelings towards being the main training partner for the G.O.A.T., Jan Frodeno.
My first reaction was to push back, because our entire premise at AgeGrouper is NOT to try to train like professionals, because we’re not. We don’t do this full time and it definitely does not pay the bills.
But Kurt was persuasive. “Just listen,” he urged me. “There are no secrets—age grouper, pro, it doesn’t matter—the way to get better is to just do the work.”
So I gave it a chance and since then, I have consumed all 65 episodes currently available on Spotify. This is now my go to podcasts that I listen to each week. It’s incredible. I’ve since had a chance to talk to the man behind the microphone himself and I can say for certain, the show is as authentic as Jack is in real life.
A podcast that puts everything is on the table
The main premise of the show is to connect with those operating in the professional endurance sports world and to get a glimpse into how they train (hence the name). Jack started this show because no one was asking the direct questions. There are no generalizations or wishy washy answers.
“What do your hard bike sessions look like?”
“What types of intervals and how much power are you pushing?”
“How often are you doing these sessions?”
“Take me through the four week build you did leading into Kona.”
There are no secrets, no stones are left unturned. By the end of an episode, you know EXACTLY what that athlete does during training, how fast they run and how much power they push.
He doesn’t shy away from controversial topics either. Regularly, Jack will dig into sensitive issues in the sport such as eating disorders, weight obsession, doping and others. These topics are important and only by talking about them, will we reduce the stigma surrounding them.
Jack showcases interviewer mastery
The quality of an interview will always come down to the skill of the person running it. A great interviewer brings an extensive knowledge of the subject matter and crafts thoughtful and engaging questions. Jack’s DEEP knowledge of all things triathlon is on full display every episode. He’s able to go toe to toe with some of the biggest stars and brightest minds in our sport. And he does so in a way that creates a sense of welcomeness and mutual respect, prompting his guests to be more open and honest with their thoughts and feelings.
The focus is always on the athlete, which makes every episode completely unique. There are many podcasts where hosts tend to step in with their own anecdotes, stories and opinions. Jack takes the complete opposite perspective, using his questioning as catalysts to help guests expand and share.
The guest list is impressive and thoughtful
He does an incredible job of curating guests from the past, present and future of our sport. It’s amazing to hear how mega stars like Dave Scott, Chris McCormack and Craig Alexander trained in the 2000’s and then compare it to how today’s top ranks like Sebastian Kinle, Braden Currie and Skye Moench get it done.
Athletes are only one half of the story and Jack juxtaposes their perspective with that of some of the world’s most elite endurance sport coaches. Dan Lorange (coach of Jan Fordeno, Lucy Charles-Barclay, Anne Haug, etc.,), Mikal Iden (coach of Lionel Sanders and Collin Cartier) and even the legendary coach Brett Sutton (coach of Daniela Ryf, Chrissie Wellington and Olympic gold medalists, Nicola Spirig) share their pearls of wisdom with today’s listeners.
My favorite episodes
Go into the weeds on Nicola Spirig’s build into the London 2012 Olympics where she won gold. Did you know that Brett had her do a track session that included thirty two 200 meter sprints…the MORNING OF her Olympic qualifying race!? When questioned by Nicola, Brett responded “If you can’t do this workout and get top eight, you’re not going to get the podium at the Olympics anyway, so why go?”
Kyle found himself in a dream scenario for any up and coming athlete, becoming Jan Frodeno’s main training partner. They go into detail of exactly what training sessions they are doing while at altitude camp, what they eat and what life is like to be training at the absolute top level of the sport.
Joe may be one of the most entertaining personalities in the sport of triathlon. Jack has had Joe on multiple times and each episode is hilarious and telling. You get to see how Joe operates his training camp and his raw thoughts on the governing bodies of the sport. Each time, the two concoct another way to take over the world of triathlon.
Sebi has been a fixture at the top of the sport of triathlon for over a decade. His public perception is nerves of steel, never breaks, never shows weakness. In this episode however, you get to see the authentic side of someone many of us have looked up to for years. Did you know that in 2014 when he won the Ironman World Championship, he was actually ready to back out and book his flight home days before the race?
Jack’s soothing and inviting voice asking inquisitive questions to some of the best triathletes in the world, there is no other podcast out there like it. I highly recommend giving How They Train a listen, it’s great for your next long session.