Bereda is where endurance athletes help each other improve.
Today we’re announcing an exciting new direction for our company:
Peer-to-Peer Coaching for Endurance Sports.
Goal-oriented cyclists, runners, and triathletes are intrinsically motivated to improve and embrace the challenge that comes with their ambitions on a daily basis. Achievement requires hard work, but also the knowledge and experience to know what to do.
There is a fundamental need for guidance and athletes’ options currently include:
- Content (books, blogs, online videos)
- Pre-Made Training Plans
- Hiring a Coach
Of course, there are some downsides with each:
- Learning through content can be overwhelming
- Pre-made training plans are too rigid for the realities of everyday life
- And unfortunately, while coaching is the best options for athletes that want to improve, it remains cost prohibitive to the majority of endurance athletes.
Over the past year, we’ve been listening to our customers and hearing their stories about how they got started in endurance sports and how they improved to where they are today. In doing so, we were continuously reminded of another significant and somewhat obvious solution for guidance:
Talking to a friend.
While the three options listed above are all well represented and supported online, talking to friends about your training is not.
Bereda intends to fill that gap.
Existing solutions fall short
Social platforms like Strava have allowed athletes to connect with one another to share activities and encouragement, but public comment boards aren’t built to support meaningful conversations about improvement.
Guidance is best delivered through 1-to-1 conversations. Email, Facebook Messenger, and other modern messaging apps all enable this, but when it comes to endurance training, these tools lack the context required for a helpful conversation.
Wearable devices create that context with data, which is why coaches typically require their athletes to use them, but unfortunately, for most athletes that data ends up being of little use: isolated in the private accounts of various analytics tools, only accessible to others by sharing passwords or setting up special coaching accounts.
These tools were built for a time when only professional teams and data-enthusiasts would pay for expensive wearables, but here’s the thing:
that’s a world which no longer exists.
As the price of power meters, heart rate monitors, and GPS watches continue to fall, more athletes are turning to data to help them improve. They expect the apps of the future to provide value that goes beyond “track and analyze”.
Our Vision for Peer-to-Peer Coaching
Bereda combines modern, 1-to-1 messaging with access to training data and future plans, bringing context to conversations about training between, athletes, their peers, and coaches.
We believe giving endurance athletes the ability to connect and collaborate can unlock the potential of individual athletes to help each other improve their performance, achieve their goals, and gain the experience they need to confidently self-direct their training.
Allowing athletes to be involved in each other’s training leads not only to better results, but a better experience in these sports along the way.
1-to-1, Peer-to-Peer connections are how people start in these sports, yet there is no platform built to maintain and enhance these relationships over an athlete’s lifetime in endurance sports.
We’ve really enjoyed hearing our customers’ stories of that helpful friend or coach that guided them towards the experience they have today, and we want to play a role in creating more of these success stories by supporting the evolution of the industry with a platform that helps athletes improve through Peer-to-Peer Coaching.
Our Customer’s Journey
Bereda has had the privilege of working with some absolutely amazing customers, and we love hearing their stories.
These aren’t professional athletes, they’re everyday people that are making themselves a priority in their lives. They set goals and embrace the challenge that comes with their ambitions.
These pursuits are not only good for themselves, but for their families and communities as well.
They’re intrinsically motivated to improve, whether they’re trying to win an Ironman triathlon, finish their first 5K, or get a personal record in their next Gran Fondo.
Their pursuit of improvement is remarkable, and Bereda wants to continue supporting their efforts and be a part of their journeys.
Every Hero Needs a Guide
Of course, with any great challenge comes the need for guidance.
Sure, these sports require hard work, but in order to get the results you want takes a certain amount of experience and know-how.
Everyone is trying to figure out what to do.
We’re on a mission to grow these amazing sports by increasing athletes’ access to the support and guidance they need to improve their performance, achieve their goals, and confidently self-direct their training.
The Beginnings of Bereda
When I started cycling as my primary sport in university, I knew I had the potential to race at a high level, but needed to figure out how to get there.
So, I took matters into my own hands and started studying training theory like a science. I made a lot of progress on my own, but things really went to the next level when I joined my university’s cycling team and started learning from others by bouncing ideas off my peers.
I fell in love with the process of improvement, watching the strategies I developed for my training turn into results on the road.
Eventually, I had progressed enough that teammates started asking me for advice, and it wasn’t long before I discovered that being part of other athletes’ improvement was just as addictive as creating my own.
Naturally, I considered coaching.
I wanted to help people but was limited by time, so I decided to start a small coaching business to help support my efforts.
It was when I started building training plans for my first six clients that I realized my ability to help others had a significant bottleneck: the time-consuming nature of plan building.
Building these plans was very repetitive and robotic, and I thought to myself: “If I could model the process mathematically, then I could make a computer do the whole thing.”
So, I broke out excel and things got really, really nerdy.
I enjoyed coaching, but I knew that if I could build a product that helped people help themselves (and others), we could have a much bigger impact for endurance athletes than my coaching services alone.
Our First Product & First Customers
Soon after, I teamed up with Blake and we set out to turn customized training plans into something that were quick to build and easy to adjust.
On our way to that vision, we developed some Annual Training Plan (ATP) technology that could quickly and flexibly develop weekly training targets to guide the rest of workout planning each week.
It wasn’t our original vision, but we realized that this tech could be a helpful product all on its own, so we decided to put a landing page together, launch it, and see what people thought.
And man, am I glad that we did.
A Big Thank You
Look, we haven’t made a whole lot of money from our ATP product, but it’s been enough to show that there’s a real problem in the industry that people are willing to pay money to solve.
So I have to say a big, big thank you to everyone who has become a customer of Bereda so far and has given us that very important vote of confidence.
For a first time founder, hearing our customers say our value proposition back to us was nothing short of a mind-blowing experience. Hearing that Bereda was saving people time and helping them get clear direction in their training was absolutely incredible and it’s made all the hard work so very worth it.
But here’s the thing:
It was when customers consistently told us that they were getting benefits from Bereda that weren’t written on our landing page that we really started thinking twice about what we were working on.
The thing we continued to hear was that Bereda was a great learning tool.
Goal-oriented endurance athletes are continuously trying to figure out what they need to do to improve. So with that in mind, it’s no surprise that they valued a tool that could help them gain experience by testing and iterating through different strategies for their season.
And with that experience and planning efficiency, they often told us they wanted to build plans for other athletes as well.
Turning Point: Discovering our Purpose
We knew there was a big opportunity in front of us.
Our Annual Planning product was technical and built for experienced coaches and self-coaches. While we’re still aiming to help them, we knew this group represents only a small portion of the endurance sports industry.
The truth is that there are more inexperienced athletes in these sports that are struggling to navigate their training, given the unique challenges of their everyday lives. They’re not able to self-direct their training the same way athletes and coaches do on the more experienced side of the spectrum:
And that’s fine, everyone starts off the same way in these sports: a bit lost, confused, and overwhelmed. It’s all a part of the journey.
But we asked ourselves:
- How can we help more people make this transition, gain experience, and confidently self-direct their training?
- How can we help people get the support and guidance they need to improve their performance and achieve their goals?
- How can we reshape this industry so that the graphic above isn’t so lopsided?
The Marketplace for Guidance
With guidance being the core need of the athlete, we started looking at athletes’ options to access it in the industry.
Pre-Made Training Plans
Pre-made training plans are a staple of endurance sports.
In general, training plans are how we communicate instruction and exchange guidance from experienced to inexperienced individuals.
Despite being an integral part of endurance sports, training plans haven’t seen any innovation that’s made building them much better than simple pen and paper, which is what first brought Bereda into existence.
There are other challenges with pre-made plans, too:
- Choosing the right one for your fitness level
- Understanding and executing the plan on your own
- The fact that they are not made with the realities of your schedule in mind (who has 12-week blocks for uninterrupted training?)
- And the fact that they have no answers or ability to respond when things go awry where the plan might need to change.
When you’re new to endurance sports these pre-made plans seem like a great idea, but many of our customers have told us experiences that were similar to our own: unsuccessful at following these templated plans only to move on to other options, feeling like they wasted their money.
Content (books, blogs, online videos)
For those inclined to take matters into their own hands, there’s no shortage of books, blogs and online videos to educate yourself on the best training theory and practices.
But besides figuring out where to start, getting past the Ph.D. level writing, and generally not getting lost in a sea of overwhelm, the real challenge with content is:
Theory vs. Application.
You can learn anything on the internet and can get access to the best teachers in the world. The same is true in endurance training.
But online thought-leaders are limited to high-level theory and talking in generalities. They’re addressing a large audience and can’t get into the nuances of every athlete’s individual circumstances.
They can speak to best principles, but the devil is in the details.
You can learn as much theory as you like, but the challenge is often in its application.
Hiring a Coach
Plain and simple, this is the best option for guidance, but the current state of the coaching industry has only a small minority of athletes choosing these services, which is a real shame for both coaches and athletes.
Bereda has been helping coaches deliver better plans in less time, and we’re still committed to this mission. We also know that coaches struggle with communication with their athletes, with client acquisition, and general business management, all of which we’re aiming to improve with Peer-to-Peer Coaching.
We’ll have more information available about how Bereda plans to help coaches in the coming weeks.
Another Option: Talking to Friends
Over the past year, we’ve asked our customers a lot of questions about coaching, content, pre-made plans, and other tools they’ve used to figure out what they should be doing in their training.
We were listening for their best sources of guidance.
These conversations would often get sidetracked into a story about a helpful friend or coach that helped them get started in endurance sports and improve to where they are today.
It’s an obvious and integral part of our sport that we, and the whole industry, have overlooked: talking to a friend.
It’s also an incredibly powerful way to get guidance.
With a 1-to-1 connection, friends can get into the details and have a real impact helping each other with their training. They can help turn theory into real-world application, and be there to adjust to the setbacks along the way.
Everyone wants a training partner.
And how could we have forgotten this?
Despite the fact that 1-to-1, Peer-to-Peer connections are how people start in these sports, there is no platform built to maintain and enhance these relationships over an athlete’s lifetime in endurance sports.
Bereda thinks that’s a real shame, because these sports are hard, and athletes are more successful when others are involved in their training.
Peer-to-Peer Coaching: Our New Direction & Mission
With this in mind, we’d like to introduce the new Bereda: the Peer-to-Peer Coaching platform for Endurance Sports.
We’re on a mission to grow these amazing sports by increasing athletes’ access to the support and guidance they need to improve their performance, achieve their goals, and confidently self-direct their training.
We believe that if we can help athletes connect and collaborate, not only are they going to get better results, but they’re going to have a better experience in these amazing sports along the way.
Different than Strava
Strava has done an amazing thing by bringing the endurance sports world together. They gave us a place to connect, explore, share our adventures and encourage each other along the way.
They’ve shown how much endurance athletes want to connect with their peers, and Bereda plans to expand on that by connecting athletes and coaches in a whole new way.
Bereda doesn’t use public comment boards like Strava and Facebook, all communication happens through private, 1-to-1 messaging.
Private messaging is how society communicates, after all, and Bereda is bringing it to endurance sports so people can get into the details of each other’s training and provide support and guidance where they can.
If email, Facebook Messenger and texting were good enough solutions already, coaches wouldn’t tell us that communication with their athletes is a real pain point, which they do. A lot.
When it comes to discussing endurance training, what existing messaging apps are missing is the context to have a helpful conversation.
Let me explain…
Inexpensive Wearables & the Evolution of an Industry
Here’s the thing: over the past few years wearable technologies (GPS watches, heart rate monitors, cycling power meters) have not only gotten better but much more affordable for everyday athletes.
As more and more people buy devices hoping that they’ll help them improve, they’re signing up for apps that track and analyze their training and experiencing a moment that is all too common… “Now what?”
Charts and graphs are great, but without the guidance to know what to do with that information, it’s tough to take action on it, and things fall flat.
These tools were built for a time when only professional teams and data-enthusiasts were willing to pay the big prices for wearables, but that’s a world which no longer exists.
These early adopters are the types of people who enjoy sifting through data all day, which is fine, we’re those people too!
But we realized that the reason these analytics tools aren’t being adopted at a time when wearables are becoming widespread and Strava is able to grow at a rate of one million users per month is that people simply aren’t seeing the value of track and analyze all on its own.
So it’s no wonder that athletes are turning to groups online, whether it be Facebook or online forms, and making use of their data by sharing it with friends to provide context for anecdotes and questions about their training. They’re trying to figure out what to do with that information.
This is happening in 1-to-Many group coaching scenarios, and we want to do two things:
- Improve an athlete’s ability to share goals, plans, and insights with easy access and well-organized conversations.
- Bring it to the 1-to-1 level, enabling them to be more involved and have conversations at a greater level of detail.
Isolated data: Built for a World which no longer exists.
Here’s a question:
Why are we hiding all this data in private analytics accounts?
I get it, when these insights were new, professional teams and early adopters wanted to keep things to themselves. But as more and more people get data, this concept of isolated accounts has blocked many athletes from finding value.
Your training data and future plans should be yours to share with people who want to help you with your training.
And that’s a wrong Bereda wants to right.
Peer-to-Peer vs. the Virtual Coach
Right from the start, people were surprised when we didn’t describe what we were doing with Bereda as a virtual coach.
We resisted that terminology a lot.
And that was a tough line not to cross, because when it comes to marketing, “virtual coach” is an easy concept to understand.
But we knew that we weren’t trying to build a virtual coach with Bereda, what we were trying to do was enhance a coach’s ability to deliver value.
Here’s the thing:
Coaches draw on more than just data when making decisions.
There are a lot of things that affect an athlete’s ability to train that aren’t measured by wearable devices. In order to take these into consideration, a coach needs to be able to communicate with their athletes.
Coaching is also a bit of an art as much as it is a science. Given the same athlete with the same history and same goals, different coaches would prescribe different styles and strategies to the situation.
Bereda didn’t want to take that away with a one-size-fits-all virtual coach working off limited data. Instead, we want to maintain a coach’s ability to customize, but enable them to do it ten times faster.
And some people clearly saw that.
The day we launched the first version of Bereda, we posted into a single Google group where some industry experts hang out. That evening, I got an email from Australia:
“Dennis, for too long data and analytics have been the primary focus of the industry, but the big gaps are in planning functionality and communication between coaches and athletes.”
– Alex Simmons, RST Head Coach
We couldn’t agree more.
This industry has been so focused on developing automated solutions to training problems that it has forgotten to innovate on what already works: people helping people.
Bereda believes the best product for the future isn’t a virtual coach. It’s not a purely technological solution.
It will be technology supporting Peer-to-Peer connections.
Build Your Peer Group to Improve
So, who got you started?
Who’s interested in your training?
Who do you have or want as a training partner?
Chances are it’s not the 300 people you follow on Strava, but maybe five people you know more personally.
Here’s the thing: Great athletes have people around them.
They’re not isolated, doubtful of their training or lacking confidence, though they may struggle with those things. They’re not alone.
Why should you be?
If you’re goal-oriented and have the ambition to achieve something, avoid the road to ruin. Build up the support you need to take on these hard sports and achieve with a group of people around you.
Not only will it lead to better results, but better experiences along the way.
How Peer-to-Peer Coaching Works
Peer-to-Peer Coaching provides an easy way to bring athletes and coaches together to share in the process of improvement.
Easy to Connect, Easy to Start
If I want to get any significant insights into someone’s training, why do I have to ask for their password or buy a special coaching account?
Bereda makes it easy for athletes to connect and collaborate with their peers and coaches. Users are in control to easily give access to those who can provide support and guidance.
Bereda doesn’t believe in additional hoops for coaches to get started. We only have one account type, which means its quick to get up and running.
Once connected with a peer, they have full access to training data, analytics, and future plans: the full perspective needed to get involved and lend a hand.
When it comes to data and analytics, more isn’t always better. Bereda keeps things simple, surfacing what matters most so athletes can take action on their analytics.
Training can be complicated, so discussing it requires organization. Bereda enables 1-to-1 conversations right where the insights live and provides the ability to pull that context directly into the chat.
Instead of talking in generalities, users can get into the details and provide better guidance.
Bereda was born from an effort to make customized training plans quick to make and easy to adjust.
Not only can you discuss the past, but you can also impact the future. Leverage Bereda’s plan building technology to quickly build and iterate on training plans, figuring out the right path forward for yourself and others.
A Training Partner for Everyone
The best question we’ve gotten about Peer-to-Peer Coaching so far is this: “what if I don’t have any peers?”
While Bereda can be used alone, everyone wants a training partner, and it’s Bereda’s mission to help athletes connect with peers and find ideal training partners.
That said, this problem won’t be solved right away, so we encourage people to invite and connect with athletes and coaches they already know in real life.
Peer-to-Peer for Teams & Clubs
One place Peer-to-Peer Coaching can have an immediate impact is with endurance teams and clubs. We’ve seen so many examples of close-knit communities of athletes and coaches helping each other improve by sharing their stories and insights online, whether that be through online group coaching or face-to-face discussions in real life.
These groups are already helping each other, and Bereda wants to enable that to happen online, with access to data, to complement their face-to-face time.
Bereda is looking to partner with select teams and clubs that believe in our mission and want to help us build Peer-to-Peer Coaching into everything it could be.
For such inquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Movement
Bereda believes that Peer-to-Peer Coaching can help athletes:
- Figure out what they should do in their training
- Feel confident their plan will help them achieve their goals
- Get the support, encouragement, motivation, and accountability that comes with have people involved with your training.
- Learn from each other, get more enjoyment from training, and share in each others’ success.
Everyone loves to see themselves get better. It’s intoxicating, and that same feeling can be had by helping others.
Great athletes have peers around them who help them improve.
We want to enable that for every athlete.
Bereda believes this is how we can have the biggest impact for endurance athletes all around the world, and we’d love it if you’d join us on the journey:
And when you do, make sure to reply to my welcome email 🙂
We’ve been able to develop the vision for Peer-to-Peer Coaching only through the amazing feedback from our customers. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn more about our users so we can build the best platform to help them improve.
I can’t wait to hear from you.
Thank you all so much,
Co-Founder & CEO | Bereda Training