February BT Chat with Tri Coach Kevin Konczak

author : KevinKonczak
comments : 0

Discussion on tapering, treadmill workout, long run issues, insituting run/walk, surrounded by hills and knowing your LT.

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[KevinKonczak] Who here is training for their first or one of their first races & doesn't really know what they ought to do for tapering?

[drwilca] At 56 years old and just planning to Tri I do not have my first race in my sights yet. I understand the taper in terms of running - have done a handfull of 1/2 marathons in my past.

[KevinKonczak] For starters, for your A (most important race of the year)...be fully rested obviously...and what most do as a mistake first time out is think they need to sneak in last minute training.

[drwilca] Yes, I can see tapering as part of the overall plan.  Do you suggest a taper for all three sports or by sport?

[KevinKonczak] I suggest all three...let me type out an example...

[KevinKonczak]  A classic taper three weeks out for a long race...Say you are averaging. 15 hrs/wk...3 wks out, drop down to 12, then 8, then 4 finally on race week.  That doesn't include the race.  Day before...here's a classic I use myself & with all my athletes, it works well...15 min. swim easy, a few accelerations of 15-20 sec. Bike easy 15-20 min. spin, and jog 10-15 min.  Do this all before NOON, of course, after you wake up because--you want all the sleep you can get the few days before.  Chances are you will be nervous a little & won't sleep well the night before.  So the best/most sleep before a race comes TWO nights out from the race.

[Lucy] I feel so bad b/c I've missed three days in a row of workouts, but I moved one to what was a rest day and yesterday was a triple workout day I didn't do either.

[KevinKonczak] Okay, don't panic. The work isn't lost in 3 days.

[Lucy] I have another triple coming up in a few days. I WILL do that one.

[KevinKonczak] Never try to make up a workout. Just adjust the duration & intensity so you don't come back too quickly after a layoff.

[Lucy] Gotcha.

[drwilca] I have had 5 days off to get over an upper respiratory thing - felt good to get the legs really rested for a bit. I called it a plateau and get better week and let it go.

[KevinKonczak] If you have a "triple"--don't go too hard The duration alone will be enough. Besides, the point of a triple this early--other than shortage of time in the week--isn't really needed.  For every day sick, take two days of 50% less volume & 50% less intensity.


[Lucy] Yep, race isn't till April.


[lobstergirl] So, I have Swim Workouts in a Binder, and indoor Cycling workouts, but I need to spice up my treadmill life. Any tips?


[KevinKonczak] Yes...Warm up 10 min., easy flat .5% grade. From there, increase .5 to 1 mph each minute until you get to your 10km race pace. Then come back down & cool down.

[drwilca] How about any diet changes during the taper?


[KevinKonczak] Eat normally, but cut out some things like lots of dairy will make you gas everyone out. Not as much fiber, because you don't want to be loose so much that you have to stop every mile on the run.

[mtnchick13] Any tips for running -- I've had some great runs lately with 13 and 16 miles - felt awesome and yesterday everything hurt, calves, feet and my hips were killing - I've never experienced that before - any tips on what I did wrong?

[KevinKonczak] 1) check shoes, 2) check what you did for recovery-- 3) surface--it will hurt if on all concrete just to name a few.  If shoes are old, get new ones.  If you didn't fuel, stretch or did labor work after...do it better next time.

[mtnchick13] Shoes are ok - I was running on the rails to trails - do you mean recovery from the day before?

[KevinKonczak] Try to do longer runs on dirt of patches of grass.  A couple runs should do it.  Recovery from the day before if you went too hard...yes.  And after...fuel up with lots of protein after, your legs will have been trashed & they need repair. Glutamine also...

[mtnchick13] Yes they were - I just haven't felt that bad before.

[drwilca] Ice down sore areas well and gentle stretches.

[KevinKonczak] Just so you don't put the ice directly on the skin & freeze it. Long runs...I usually spend a good half an hour stretching after or yoga.

[mtnchick13] My hips were hurting I could hardly walk.

[KevinKonczak] Toes...& blisters.  Liquid skin on the hot spots, several layers, and Vaseline.


[mtnchick13] Liquid skin on the toes?


[KevinKonczak] Yes, on the toes. Where you normally get blisters.

[writers2] I hate running and after the NYC marathon, I put away my running shoes for a while. I love tris though, even if they do have running. I have been walking briskly since, but not running. Question is, my first tri for the season is June, when should I start "introducing" running back in? I got injured a lot (am very Athena) and it's a lot of pounding. Thx.

[KevinKonczak] You can start by incorporating several minutes at a time into your walks & build from there.


[writers2] Should I start now?

[KevinKonczak] Yes.  Few minutes at a time though. You can also aqua jog in the deep end of the pool after swimming--starting at 20 minutes or so.


[writers2] Thanks, I really think running is very overrated. Too bad you don't see the Aquabike much.


[KevinKonczak] Running isn't over-rated--as all but about 2 Ironman Hawaii champions won it on the marathon.

[KevinKonczak] If you like info on aqua jogging, you can search the web on it, or go to the "tips" section at www.d3multisport.com & look for aqua jogging.

[vortmax] All of my long runs are supposed to be easy zone 1/2 runs on flat ground. Where I live, there is no such thing as flat land and all of my long runs end up having quite a bit of elevation change. Should I be adjusting my volume or time accordingly? I do the entire run in zone 1 or 2, but have to get into zone 3 on some of the hills,
else I'd be walking up them.

[KevinKonczak] If it really is that hilly--you have to work with it. If your coach says z1 & z2, then walking may be the only way to get around that. Unless you want to use a track--which is boring for runs most of the time. That is why it is used sparingly for speedwork & testing.

[vortmax]  For the most part I can keep it within zone 2, but is it a big deal to occasionally break into zone 3. I would be in zone 3 for maybe a total of 5 minutes out of the 90+ I run. spending no longer then a minute at a time.

[KevinKonczak] You can keep the same volume though on the long runs. There was a blog entry by Bobby McGee that said top Kenyan marathoners sometimes use 4-5 hours a week of walking in their running each week. If I recall the blog right. www.bobbymcgee.com

I would expect some hills to be low to mid-z3, yes.

[vortmax] Okay, Thanks. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't pushing too hard.

[KevinKonczak] On my long runs, I aim for Z2, with the Z3 coming on hills, but backing off as I approach z3 to keep tabs on it. Actually, my belief is that if Ironman or half IM training, I like to aim upper z2 for most of the long run, and possibly hitting low z3 to mimic my race pace. Most z1 stuff I do is on the shorter runs & longer rides--which is where my low aerobic efforts are. I'm sort of different from most theories I read about.

[Lucy] Is it really important to know your Z's?  Because I don't know my zones. I just wore my HRM for a long run the first time in a while... and my chest was sore for two days.

[KevinKonczak] Yes, know your zones!

[vortmax] Then on downhills, should I keep pushing to stay in zone 2 or just let it drop into zone 1?


[KevinKonczak] Yes, stride it out! Use that hill to your advantage. If you're doing a z2 workout, and need to stride out on the downhill to keep it up there, you're still within the goal of the workout right? So by all means...


[Vaiza] Kevin, here's another question for you: I'd like to find out what my zones are, but I can't run steadily for the amount of time you say to do a TT (I can't run for 30 mins straight!). How can I go about doing this at my present level of fitness?

[KevinKonczak] First I would suggest you maybe testing on the bike instead. I would do that, and then adjust accordingly as a base number.

[Vaiza] That's a great idea - didn't think of that. Thanks.

[KevinKonczak] You really want to learn your LT (lactate threshold) number, to determine your zones. Either a lab like the physio lab at the local college or a trainer should be able to help you establish this--like at your local gym. Remember, your bike #'s will usually be around 10 beats per minute lower than your running zone #'s.

[Lucy] How about the LBS?

[KevinKonczak] If they understand testing procedures, sure, they may know about that.  They may even be able to help you figure out your watt output on a LT test if you have a watt meter too.

[sue7013] Actually Mike Ricci wrote a nice article for BT awhile ago about how to do this on your own.

[KevinKonczak] There really isn't a substitute for BLT testing. Blood lactate threshold testing.

[KevinKonczak] Anyone have anything else before I head to dinner!? Tapering...(or recovery for that matter!)

[sue7013] Go eat.

[vortmax] Yeah, thanks for the advice.


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date: March 5, 2006