November BT Chat with Kevin Konczak, Tri Coach

author : KevinKonczak
comments : 0

Discussion including HIM's, heart-rate monitors, water running, TT's, high kicks, hi vs low volume training and nutrition for weight loss.

Welcome! You have entered [BT Lounge] at 7:59 pm

[KevinKonczak] As in intro, I'm coach Kevin Konczak (KK as they call me), I'm the guest coach who will answer the questions tonight. Does anyone have any questions about anything (all goes!)


[mtnchick13] I've just started training with my HR monitor - it seems hard to keep my heart rate at the EA spinning at 128 or so. I felt like I was spinning easy but would easily go to 140 or so and I had to keep telling myself to go slower. How much does it hurt to be at 140 for the hour, vs where I was supposed to be which is 125-128?

[Lucy] All this HR stuff is lost on me- I wore it to track workout and it was staying around 175 almost the whole time.  I haven't worn it since.

[KevinKonczak] This time of year, going easy in the off season is something you can usually do without a HR monitor if you're able to talk during training.

[hpadkisson] I just bought a HR monitor. Still figuring out how the device works though.

[KevinKonczak] Mike wrote a neat article about RPE training for this time of year, to get away from the science of it all, and refresh for that 'love' of the sport rather than the love of the numbers.

[KevinKonczak] HRMs have an instructional manual, sometimes they aren't written by the best technical writers...

[mtnchick13] Ok - I will look - this is my first week with the hr monitor - didn't use it last year…so don't worry too much about it till the spring?

[KevinKonczak] Until you get some pre-prep work done. You really need to train to do the real training later on. Pre-base strength & low aerobic levels are good for now, a HRM can keep you really low HR if you watch/set the zones.

[marmadaddy] I have a scheduling question.. I'm doing my first HIM in May at Disney and I'm hoping to do another in mid-July-the 21st. Is there enough time for recovery?

[KevinKonczak] Still, that is over a month & a half, plenty of time to recover. Even for a new 1/2 racer, a couple weeks & you'll be ready for a regular schedule again (weekly).

[marmadaddy] That's what I wanted to hear. Thanks

[mtnchick13] I have a question on water running - I have that listed as an option for x-train...I tried it but didn't seem to get much out of it....

[KevinKonczak] With water running, it is a low HR/low pounding exercise...The sweat is washed away & the cool water keeps you cool... so your HR doesn't get up high.

[mtnchick13] My leg muscles got tired but I didn't even feel like I was breathing hard at all- just seemed weird

[KevinKonczak] Deep end running with a belt is what the top athletes use.

[mtnchick13] Guess I'll have to try it again then :-)

[KevinKonczak] Cadence...up the cadence. Go to the website & there is an article on water running. I water run 1x a week, especially if I'm doing hi mileage weeks, and I'm over-extended.

[mtnchick13] What does the belt do?

[KevinKonczak] The belt keeps you from drowning. Actually, it keeps your head above water & the body below the surface perfectly... I was kidding on the drowning part...unless you sink right away like a stone. It (belt) keeps you in the optimal position for water running.

[rkreuser] Kevin drew a crowd again. Carry on.

[DRLski] If I want to concentrate on my road racing, particularly stage races (cycling), can I incorporate that training in with my triathlon training or do they require different training?

[KevinKonczak] It's all cycling...however.

[DRLski] Will one interfere with the other?

[KevinKonczak] Cycling is more aerobic/anaerobic training, where Tris are more constant pacing. No, As long as you get your aero bars & do some longer even-paced riding. Just like 5km races will help your marathons....same idea.

[DRLski] k, also, I assume TT racing is recommended for triathlon training as well?

[KevinKonczak] Fast is good for long race training, and slow training is good for fast races that are short (like as in mitochondria building...)

[rkreuser] The real question...should you do it on the same bike?! Heh.

[KevinKonczak] TT bikes usually have a steeper set up...and positions are different. The stem to nose of saddle distance is greater on a TT bike to accommodate the "laying down" position on aero bars. That's just one difference... A relaxed seat tube on a road bike is better for descending/climbing, but doesn't put you in an ideal place for TT'ing.

[DRLski] Do you have any online references for this?

[KevinKonczak] Look at lance, he is a good reference. Actually, recently had an article on bike that.

[DRLski] k, thx Kevin

[KevinKonczak] Lance has a different set up for TT & for road.

[KevinKonczak] TT=Tri bikes. The TT bike the Grand Tour riders use today stemmed from the sport of triathlon. We (tri-bees) blew the doors wide open for bikes used for the TTs in biking. There really isn't a difference. Time Trialing IS what we do in Triathlon. Except for those willing to cheat in non-drafting races.

[DRLski] So the big difference is that in the TT you use a more aero position?

[KevinKonczak] Okay, the only real difference would be, in tris/dus, we need a position not so extreme that it will hurt our ability to run afterwards--once we are off the bike. In TT'ing (for biking), they can get off the bike & fall into the arms of a soungier.

[KevinKonczak] The jury is still out on that pose running though. Peter Reid does well with it, but for every Peter Reid, there is someone equally good without that pose form, who runs just as fast as Peter.

[DRLski] thx for clearing that up Kevin

[Rennick] One thing I've been noticing is that good/fast runners seem to have a high kick.

[KevinKonczak] I think there are general basics to follow in running, but in the end, beyond that, your body sets its own most efficient form (but most need some degree of form change). Not in tris, you're looking at the toe-off. The 'kick' is just the follow thru from a strong push off.

[Rennick] Ahh… Here I was thinking I just needed to lift my feet more.

[KevinKonczak] Well, if you are tripping on stuff all the time, yeah, lift your knees higher. As I mentioned last month, the distance in stride comes from neither the knee lift or the 'kick'--but rather the power from the push off.

[Rennick] So how do you increase that power?

[KevinKonczak] Lots of ways...anything that works the lower leg...calf raises, plyometrics---Or running from the wife after you've burned a $12 steak!

[rkreuser] There's a raging debate amongst me and some people that are faster than me... some of them follow Pfitzinger for marathon training (hi miles), and the more popular training methods (read: big base) and hours for off-season and into build for next year. There's a growing number of folks opting for lower miles and a not-so-huge base (a la McCormack)...train fast to go fast, when you're recovering, really recover. Do you have an opinion on hi-volume vs. low volume but great quality?

[KevinKonczak] Geez...gimme a minute to read this...This is an easy one...

[KevinKonczak] For every mileage monster out there (such as Gordo Byrne), there is someone equally fast who trains on 1/2 the mileage as him. How's that? It tells you one thing, we are all different, respond to rest & training different, you only need to find the path best for you in that respect. This is where a coach can cut that learning curve in half.

[rkreuser] Got it. Thanks.

[KevinKonczak] You train slow or fast...I prefer to go on less mileage, higher quality. Why? Because I can have more balanced of a life style & not spend my entire life just training, but get the fun I need, the fitness I need, and still race well. I'm happier when I get to lead a normal life & do normal things that many Ironman athletes or triathletes seem to have trouble doing due to spending too much time training.

[KevinKonczak] Efficiency!

[rkreuser] I want to think that I can go as fast as the 250-mile a weekend cyclists, and the 100 mile a week runners, and the swimming yardage hounds (Jen, Bostic - was that my outside voice) on somewhat less mileage / yardage. But if that's dead wrong, I don't want to leave anything on the table - knowingly.

[jldicarlo] Hey, ‘swim lots’ works...don't knock it til you've tried it Rick!

[KevinKonczak] On that, I can only say...again, find what works best for you. To improve, and break thru that barrier to get to the next level, you may need to put in some extra mileage here & there.

[marmadaddy] I've got another question about my HIM in May... : I live in upstate NY, but will be racing in Florida in May. I live in upstate NY. What can I do to prepare for the heat?- The temperature difference between training and racing is going to be significant.

[KevinKonczak] Figure out nutrition & how you react to it in HOT weather. Train in the heat...and use your race food & drinks in the heat (body reacts differently to hot Gatorade or whatever compared to when you put ice in it for your training rides/runs).

[KevinKonczak] Japanese runners use extra clothes in Boulder to prepare for hot races.

[marmadaddy] Extra layers. Good. I can do that. My neighbors are going to think I've completely flipped out.

[KevinKonczak] I think ideally pacing & nutrition are key. Don't go too fast too soon, and keep an eye on hydrating. Great chat today, thanks for joining me. Everyone take care....Oops okay, last question.

[Rennick] I have a food question: I'd like to lose 10-15 (fat) pounds over the off season. It looks like the typical plan is to eat 500-1000 calories less than expended in order to lose weight. Would you recommend that as a good plan? I'm concerned it won't be enough calories to support my training.

[KevinKonczak] You can aim for even a lb per week & have plenty of time to take that off. Just cut out the Doritos. Or soda. I read it takes 25 calories to heat cold water in the body (per oz or cup) drink ice water. Okay, that was actually John Tesh Radio (

[Rennick] Ice water. THAT I can do

[KevinKonczak] Soda is the American culprit...we drink wayyyyy too much of it. Thanks all! Take care. Coach Kevin Konczak ( signing off...

[the bear] Darn, I wanted to ask what color bike was really the fastest.

[chriscal] I thought you knew, bear.

[jldicarlo] BLUE bear! BLUE!


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date: November 27, 2005