November 2006 BT Triathlon Training Chat

author : KevinKonczak
comments : 0

Discussions on swimming, observing, asking questions, flip-turns, flexible ankles, rotation, Stretch Cordz, skiing substitution and resting.

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[KevinKonczak] Okay, time to get cracking, and start dreaming of next season!

[chile7473] What would you chose as the first accessory to buy for improving the swim? Paddles, fins - that stretching thing Finis makes, or something else?  I swim around 32 for 1500.  I would like to do my Ironman swim in April in 1:10 or so.

[KevinKonczak]  First thing to improve the swim...this is an easy one...a good eye, and good listening skills. Really. I've picked a lot up from Tim & Nicole DeBoom, Tony DeBoom as well, just listening & watching them. Any FAST swimmer will do.  Ask questions when they look like they aren't really into a serious portion of the workout or at the end of it.

[chile7473] Well, they don't swim at my gym...LOL!

[KevinKonczak]  Any good swimmer will do.  Watch everything they do...even count their strokes, how far the hand enters the water.  Watch under water too with your goggles...sit on the bottom of the pool.  See how & where their hand exits the water.

[chile7473]  I have some good swimmers I swim with at a lake here.... but the water just got too cold... I am relegated to the gym now.


[KevinKonczak] All styles will have some common elements that are the same, see if you can pick them out & train your eye, and visualize it while swimming, and think about it when you're at work sitting at a desk or hauling hay or whatever your job may be.

[Cavu9] What if we don't have any "good swimmers" where  we are? I am coached by Andrea what type of questions should I ask?


[KevinKonczak]  I've met Andrea several times, nice gal. Ask her what top three things you should focus on. Do one at a time, when you master each one, try to combine two of the three, and then when you master those two together, add the third element.

  So don't worry about training accessories then?

[KevinKonczak] It could be focus on high elbows during pull phase, good exit at hips, and body roll. Those are three good ones to start with.

[chile7473]  I was mostly wondering about the kick.... I really don't kick at all and my ankles are not very flexible (runners ankles).


[KevinKonczak]  Ankles aren't as big of a deal for wetsuit swimmers. Pool--yes, but you will be dangling your feet a little more saving your legs for the bike/run anyhow.  On the kick, you only need enough to stay balanced. In triathlon, the propulsion will come mostly from the upper body. You need a good kick in pure pool swimming. Distance swimming is mostly upper body.  One thing flexy ankles will help with a lot in triathlon is if you are doing XTERRA races. Flexy ankles will be good for the  trail running.


[chile7473] I know that, but I read something this past week about developing a kick that goes with your stroke... for the distance will help with the speed and flow of the stroke.


[KevinKonczak]  2 beat kick, yes.  It helps with body roll a bit, flipping your upper body to the sides a little easier. But most of the roll will come from shoulder rotation.


[Lucy] Shoulder rotation? Shouldn't the shoulders be in line with the hips?


[KevinKonczak] We're all built different, they'll never completely line up. Especially someone like me. I've got super wide shoulders & a 29 waist. I'd have to break a shoulder off to line it all up.


[Cavu9] What is your view of flip turns during pool workouts....that much of a necessity?

[KevinKonczak] Yes, flip. You get less time stopping.

[chirunner134] How far back should your arms travel before you pick them up for the next stroke?

[KevinKonczak] Your hands should exit at the hips.

[chirunner134] Would you do any weight-lifting to help with swimming and if so what would be your focus?

[KevinKonczak] Yes, I would actually suggest green or red Stretch Cordz (brand name). Put them around a Smith machine/squat rack, which is around should height, hold the handles shoulder-width apart, and act like you're double poling like in skiing. This is actually a mimic of the freestyle stroke, with high elbows. Finish the stroke at the hips.  You will be standing with enough tension on the cordz so they are taught when your hands are in the start position (about eye level).

[rkreuser]  That's like the high row weight machine. Except a better range of motion.


[KevinKonczak] Yes & no, the rowing is a direct line. The cordz allow a 3 -D range of motion for the stroke, the rower is more linear, but you are pulling in both.

[ron]  What kind of substitution of bike and run volume would you do with Nordic workouts in the winter? Half your workouts?

[KevinKonczak]  Biking = skate ski & running = classic skiing (for most similar muscle groups). Classic is 2 tracks cut into the snow, you look like you're running. Skate ski is a flatter, wider path and you look like a duck waddling down the trail or a ice skater with ski poles. I would use Nordic whenever you want to bike outside & it is too cold to bike.


The best all around upper, & lower body workout all in one (with cardio AND strength) is classic skiing.  But I think skate skiing is a little more fun because of the faster speeds. It is about 20% faster than classic skiing.  You'll have a good transfer over to running for sure in the spring. The 2 styles will make you a cardio monster if you keep it up all winter.  You can sub the classic style for running, and you will build much strength from the explosive kicking motion in your lower leg, which will in turn, really boost your toe off on the run.

[KevinKonczak]  So for off-season training, if you want fun, and a great twist which will boost both biking & running, try Nordic Skiing (or take a lesson or two), or do like I mentioned about the pool aid questions...and find someone that is good, and ask some simple questions about basic motion. A little technique work so you're not fighting yourself will go along way to having fun, and boosting your overall fitness.

[rstocks3]  Hi Kevin. I'm training for my first marathon in May. Is there a difference in running volume if I am doing a lot of biking vs just running?


[KevinKonczak] Anytime you add a sport, you'll likely be reducing volume in one.  For marathon, the long run is the key.


[autumn]  How important is the 'recovery' phase of training? I have had some volume problems, going longer than scheduled on days when its nice out. Am I going to do myself more harm than good? Or can I increase volume for that week (when the weather is nice) and start recovery the following week?

[KevinKonczak] I use a 1 on & 1 off ratio myself. That is fine.  So long as you don't do 2 long runs in one nice week & then are on the couch next week dying. Or bikes, or skis. Recovery is everything. If you're sore, back off.  When the body asks for rest, give it. You won't gain anything, you'll hurt yourself or get injured.

[autumn] If I don't feel sore or tired or grouchy?

[KevinKonczak] You start to get overtrained without recovery, and by time you figure it out, it is usually too late. You're fine. You're base is likely big if you keep adding the volume & feel fresh, motivated & aren't pooped out day after day.  I get grouchy if I DON'T workout. It's a chemical addiction I think. Motivation isn't an issue when you live life as a lifestyle in triathlon, it's more time becoming the issue.   Tired= sleep, rest. That's a no-brainer on that one don't we all agree?  Rest is when you improve...the body builds itself stronger during rest.


[chirunner134]  So if you feel tired all the time but when you train you should back off?


[KevinKonczak] Yes, we tear down with training & build up with rest.


[autumn] Yeah, I was sick twice this year, and raced sick, and just made things worse for myself...but now that I feel strong and healthy, and the weather is nice (while it lasts), I've been going beyond the planned workout pretty much every time I walk out the door. Is it important to have run and bike recovery simultaneously? Or can they occur in separate weeks? If I have an easy run week, but a lot of long rides, is that still allowing my legs rest enough to heal?

[KevinKonczak] Autumn, I use a 1 week ON running, 1 week bike on, 1 week swim & repeat. The 'rest' is on the weeks I'm not on the focus week. So if it is running focus with mileage, speed, hills, etc, I'm resting the swimming & biking portion of my game. Not exactly classic coaching--but it works for me & my athletes, and they don't get bored either.


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date: January 7, 2007