How AI Makes Triathlon Training More Efficient

At first glance, the time demands of work and family make the idea of training for and finishing a triathlon feel like a fantasy. Even more fantastic? Training to be competitive in a triathlon. Well, it’s no fantasy — getting to and flying through your next triathlon while managing a career and a happy family can be done. All it takes is expert time management, the perfect training plan, and the ability to endure hard yet relatively short workouts. The time management and determination are up to you. The perfect training plan? Humango can help with that. 

Plug in your goal race and time available each week to train, and Humango’s AI-powered coach, Hugo, will map out a unique plan that considers your current fitness. And when life interrupts, as it always does, your Hugo will reconfigure your plan to put you back on track. That said, there are some things to know before you tackle a time-saving triathlon plan.

Sprint and Olympic Distance Triathlons? Yes. Ironman Triathlons? Not Recommended.

Objectively, a triathlete with less than 10 hours to train each week will struggle to accrue the necessary mileage required to finish — much less race — an iron-distance triathlon of 70.3 miles for the half and 140.6 for the full. But, 10 hours a week is plenty to race a sprint triathlon (16 miles) and enough to pull together a strong effort in an Olympic distance triathlon (32 miles). 

Thanks to Humango’s AI, all you need to do is plug in your goal distance and the event date. Based on your current fitness level, the AI coach will lay out a training plan to get you to the start line in top shape. If the prescribed workload is too much, you can change your goal to better match your training availability. (switching from a half-iron-distance race to an Olympic-distance triathlon). 

Train Smarter and Harder, Not Longer.

With less time to train, you need to make every workout count toward building up your capacity to swim, bike, and run at threshold, which is the maximum amount of power or speed you can sustain for one hour. As such, most of your workouts will be extended intervals at just under your threshold intensity or short, max-effort intervals designed to boost your top-end power. The silver lining to these hard workouts is they don’t last long, and thanks to the nature of triathlon, you spread them among three different sports, utilizing your muscles in different ways. This means less risk of burnout or injury since you have plenty of time to recover from each workout.

After uploading the results of each workout (heart rate for running and heart rate and power, if available, for cycling), Humango’s coach can ascertain whether or not you’re on track, falling behind, or progressing ahead of schedule and able to adjust the training plan accordingly.

The Humango AI Edge

For time-crunched triathletes, every single workout matters. Missing half a week due to unexpected things in life will impact your progress, but a tech-enabled coach who readjusts the rest of your training plan after those missed workouts can mitigate the setback. The program will bring you back to speed gradually, assigning workouts and intensities you should be able to handle as you rediscover your training rhythm.

Come race day, you shouldn’t have doubts or “woulda, coulda, shoulda” scenarios playing through your head on the start line. With Humango’s training plans and your hard work during every training session, you know you arrived in the best form possible. That’s all you need to execute your best race possible.


How AI Helps Injury Prevention in Endurance Athletes

Despite their non-contact nature, cycling, running, and swimming still generate overuse and overtraining injuries. Common ailments include sprains, muscle strain, joint pain, and stress fractures. In some respects, these injuries can feel more insidious than, say, a broken bone caused by a collision on the playing field. Why? Because they don’t always feel catastrophic when they happen. As a result, many athletes push through the pain, unwilling to throw out weeks or months of productive training by stopping to heal.

Common Signs That Lead to a Future Injury

A poor training plan that demands an athlete do more volume or higher intensity than their body is ready for is one of the top paths to physical destruction. While the body is excellent at adapting to the workloads placed on it, adaptations take time to evolve. Hence, the classic progressive training plan that builds up the athlete’s endurance and strength week by week. 

Another common source of overuse injury is poor gear fit. The most advanced and highest-performance gear will do more damage than good if it doesn’t fit properly. This could mean anything from running shoes that don’t fit or support an athlete’s foot to bicycles that aren’t adjusted to maximize an efficient pedal stroke and rider comfort. An athlete will significantly reduce their injury risk by taking the time — and investing the money — to find the perfect fit.

Not warming up before an intense workout or race also contributes to injuries, specifically muscle pulls and strains. A light 5-10 minutes of activity is all it takes to prime the muscles and joints with blood flow and go. At the end of a workout, a 5-10 minute cooldown will help reduce muscle soreness and pave the way for better recovery. 

Reduced Injury Risk Through Coaching

Coaches know that they need to push their athletes to the limit and just beyond to help them reset their mental and physical awareness of what’s possible. Conversely, a coach can’t continually push athletes to exhaustion day after day. If they did, their athletes’ injury risks rise dramatically, and a coach who guides athletes to injury will quickly find themselves out of a job.

A massive part of avoiding these injuries comes from listening to the athletes. Are they tired? Are they sore when they shouldn’t be? Are they in any pain? Another guide to avoiding injury comes from monitoring athletes’ workout data. Were they able to complete the prescribed workout? Was their heart rate higher than expected? Were their watts at threshold on the bike down while perceived exertion was up? If so, these early signs indicate that the athlete has not recovered and is pushing themselves into a window where overuse injuries can occur.

The AI Assist for Training Smart

With Humango’s AI app, athletes can load their workout data into their program, let the AI crunch the results, and set up the next workout. Humango’s intelligence will prescribe a program that incorporates rest and recovery while ensuring that the athlete stays on track to become faster, stronger, and more resilient. The guesswork that can often plague a motivated athlete (Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much?) disappears. The AI-generated plan will accommodate warm-ups and cool-downs and add cross-training to shore up muscles that don’t see much use in a sport (i.e., hamstrings in cyclists).

Ultimately, Humango’s AI coach utilizes a data-driven approach to keeping the athlete on track to achieve their goal by prescribing the right amount of training volume and intensity along with the necessary amount of rest and recovery. The net result should be a successful, injury-free journey.


Dial In Your Race Tapering

The multi-week taper is the most welcome block in any periodization training program, and it’s not hard to see why: the hard work is done. There are no more days where the athlete is pushed to their limits and beyond. The day-to-day exhaustion from the final building block of workouts is over. In short, the athlete is as fit and strong as they’re going to get — and they should have a pretty good understanding of how well prepared they are to finish, compete, or even win their goal event. 

From the start of the taper, a good training cycle will have the athlete reduce their workload, which gives their body time and energy to recover, grow stronger, and build up the endurance to crush their race. Ideally, the taper will leave an athlete bursting with energy in the last few days before their event. But a taper gone wrong can leave the athlete tired (they didn’t taper enough) or with lost fitness (the taper was too long or too easy). Even messing with sleep patterns can throw off a taper. Too little sleep won’t give the body the time it needs to recover and recharge — a tough battle to fight when the body feels, but may not be, brimming with energy.

Like everything in life, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tapering. Each person needs to find and follow the unique taper that works best for them and their event. Shorter events such as a 5K running race or sprint triathlon require a shorter taper than a marathon or half iron-distance triathlon. Same goes for a time-trial bike race of roughly one hour vs. a 100-mile mountain bike race that takes 8-10 hours.

Better Tapering with Coaching

Even experienced endurance athletes with decades of training get their tapers wrong. Something unusual throws them off their game and takes their taper with it. It can be a business trip where they did zero training when they needed to do something to maintain their fitness. Or it could be something as benign as a hike with friends or family that somehow turned into an all-day, exhausting slog. Illness, lack of sleep, you name it — there are a myriad of ways to screw up a taper.

A coach can review the data to determine what’s going right or wrong and adjust the taper accordingly. Even if the taper goes wrong due to a sustained respiratory illness, a coach can modify the taper enough to salvage what’s left of the athlete’s fitness. Likely, the coach will modify the athlete’s performance expectations as well. For example, the goal of a PR (personal record) might be lost, but a solid and respectable performance is still possible.

The taper is where races and peak performances are won and lost. A coach, even Humango’s AI coach, can help athletes do it more effectively and confidently. An athlete who believes in their taper will bring that confidence to the event — and that may be the biggest boost a perfect taper provides. 


Endurance Sports Success with an AI Coach

There are two types of athletes in the endurance sports world: those who train with a coach and those who don’t know how much more successful they can be by working with a coach. Fortunately, Humango’s AI coaching app gives athletes ranging from experienced competitors to novice participants access to the benefits and guidance of a customized, flexible, and effective training program. As the following stories highlight, Humango’s app can unlock your best performances whether you’re a runner, cyclist, or triathlete.

The First-Timer

“Humango is a fantastic way to structure training,” says Mathew Hann, who trained for his first 70.3 triathlon using the Humango app. Instead of generalized workouts, the coaching AI adjusted his training loads and intensities for what he could do. The result was a plan that didn’t grind him into the ground but pushed him harder than he may have pushed on his own. Posting a time of 4:42, he finished 13th in his age group. Hann’s result speaks to the accelerated learning curve that a coach provides.

The World Traveler

Przemek, a 40-something professional from Poland, used Humango AI to train for his first sprint triathlon last spring. His finish of 1:33 kicked off an aggressive calendar of goal events that will carry him into next year, ending with a 70.3 triathlon despite a heavy business travel schedule. “Next one would be a half distance 70.3 in spring 2024,” Przemek says. “I may have to take 5-9 business trips with some training to be done in other EU countries.” That Przemek can see a pathway to training for and compete in a half-iron-distance triathlon despite his travel schedule speaks to another benefit of an AI coach: adaptability. With Humango’s ability to restructure workouts daily, Przemekcan trusts that he’s on track to be ready to go on race day, no matter how haywire his schedule gets. 

The Pain-Free Runner

“I’ve lived with running-induced knee pain my entire adult life, but with Humango’s strength training (guidance), I’m finally running knee-pain-free!” claims Bethany Thibou of Milwaukee. Strength training is a core ingredient in any Humango endurance program, and as Bethany’s experience shows, there’s a good reason for that. A strong core and body serve as the steady platform for all endurance sports. Humango athletes can all expect a comprehensive strength-training component to their program, one designed to produce exceptional results on the course, not in the gym.

The Multi-Tasker

An oft-overlooked benefit to working with a coach is the coach’s ability to incorporate training for multiple sports simultaneously. Take the case of Humango athlete, Billy Richards. “With Humango, I no longer have to go through the mental process of creating plans since the training automatically fits my schedule,” he says. “It helps to create plans when training for different events at the same time, which is a game changer for me. Currently, I’m training for a half marathon event as my A race, but I’m doing some cyclo-cross racing too.” With Humango managing his workloads and intensities automatically, Richards is assured that his cyclo-cross training and racing will contribute to making him a faster runner overall.

The Team Player

For Guy Stapleford, Humango’s AI data has helped his longtime endurance coach, Pav Bryan, turbocharge his training — and his results. “I’ve been working with a coach for a couple of years now, but with Humango’s AI, we’ve been able to take my training up a gear,” he says. “Humango adds a huge amount of intelligence to how I work with my coach, and it has enhanced my training plan and the results we see from it.” Humango’s role as Stapleford’s assistant coach is another example of how Humango AI can elevate the human-coach-to-athlete dynamic with improved data, faster adaptability, and more flexibility. Stapleford’s coach can spend more of their energy coaching the mental side of Stapleford’s athletic journey while leaving much of the workout planning to Humango’s AI.

Taken together, Humango’s AI coach can help athletes through a wide range of sports, training options, setbacks, recoveries, and multi-disciplinary focuses. As these Humango athletes can attest, using Humango won’t shrink your world of possibilities to fit its intelligence. It will expand your potential and give you the confidence to set more ambitious goals.