People Over Programs: The Benefit of Human Coaching in Triathlon Training

In the era of technological advancements, AI platforms have revolutionized many aspects of our lives, including how we write, research, and maybe even train for demanding athletic events like Ironman triathlons. However, the role of an educated and experienced human coach remains irreplaceable when it comes to truly individualized training, contextualized interpretation, and knowing that training for an endurance event is not just about developing physical fitness. Don’t just take our word, our athletes who have used AI-driven training in the past have key insights on these differences.

AI Programs Training Using Algorithms, Humans Program Training By Knowing the Individual

Every athlete has unique strengths, weaknesses, and personal goals. Educated coaches bring a level of personalization that is unmatched by AI platforms. They can tailor training programs to suit individual needs, considering factors like past injuries, lifestyle constraints, and specific performance goals. This bespoke approach not only enhances the effectiveness of the training but also minimizes the risk of injuries.

“The AI-served workouts did not vary or adapt week-to-week based on my workout performance or fitness levels. Also, they provided little variation in terms of sport-specific blocks or specific areas of focus for fitness development. In my opinion, AI-served training did not provide nearly the value of training prescribed by a human coach.”

Triathlon training is unpredictable. Athletes encounter unexpected challenges, from sudden weather changes to physical ailments. Educated coaches are skilled at adapting training plans and solving problems as they arise. Their ability to think creatively and react to unforeseen circumstances is a crucial advantage over AI platforms, which may struggle with situations that deviate from their programmed parameters.

AI Can Assess Data, But a Human Is Needed To Understand an Athlete

While AI platforms are excellent at processing and analyzing data, they lack the ability to contextualize information. Human coaches understand that a range of factors, including work stress, family commitments, and mental health influence an athlete’s performance. An AI platform will look at a workout, benchmark, or race and use only the data to assess the athlete’s performance and to draw conclusions about the athlete’s fitness. A human coach will be able to see the data as well as understand external influences and emotional factors to assess the athlete’s performance in context and to draw conclusions about both what contributed to the athlete’s performance and what can be improved in future training and racing.

“Doing [an] FTP test [or] all-out 5k … was unpleasant, and if for some reason you were having an off day, then the result was depressing and the zones were set too low.”

AI Does Not Emote or Form Relationships

Triathlon training is not just about physical endurance; it’s a journey that intertwines mental, emotional, and physical challenges. Educated and experienced coaches excel in understanding the human aspects of this journey. They recognize the importance of motivation, mental strength, and emotional support, often beyond AI algorithms’ scope. Human coaches are adept at reading emotions, providing encouragement, and adjusting training plans based on an athlete’s mental and emotional state, something an AI platform can hardly replicate.

One of the most significant advantages of human coaches is their ability to communicate effectively and build strong relationships with their athletes. Good communication fosters trust and understanding, creating an environment where athletes feel comfortable discussing concerns and feedback. This relationship is vital for long-term training success and is something an AI platform cannot offer.

“I think the biggest problem with AI training is our bodies are not machines and each of us is unique. There could be a number of reasons why, on a particular day, our body doesn’t execute a workout as planned. A coach helps see the bigger picture, particularly if there are a string of bad workouts.”

Concluding Thoughts

While AI coaching may seem like an enticing new development, its data-driven algorithm based on generalized assumptions will never match the nuanced understanding, personalized approach, and deep experiential knowledge of educated and experienced coaches. As technology continues to evolve, it’s important to remember that the heart of coaching lies in the irreplaceable human connection and the personalized expertise that only a human coach can provide.

NYX Endurance

Our mission is to develop an endurance community that empowers each member towards both individual and collective potential. At NYX Endurance, we believe in the relentless pursuit of better. We believe there is no success without suffering. There is no progress without perseverance. There is no light without darkness. #embracethedarkness