June BT Chat with Tri Coach Kevin Konczak

author : KevinKonczak
comments : 0

Discussions regarding wetsuit for a Sprint, Master's swimming, TI, aqua jogging, HIM fueling and salt, power meters and Tri vs Road bike.

Welcome! You have entered [Coach Connect] at 6:06 pm

[KevinKonczak] This is a open forum today, I decided that steering a chat one direction wasn't working because there are so many different stages everyone is at, during the season, and may have different questions not related to the topics. SO it is now a 'free-for-all' chat.

[TwoRiversTri] Okay well there's a question... how much does a wetsuit REALLY help you? I mean it's going to cost you a few seconds anyways. I know a wetsuit is almost mandatory for speed in a Oly on up... But a sprint?

[KevinKonczak]  ALOT. In a sprint not so much--400 meters isn't that long really, in an Ironman you're talking minutes.

[KevinKonczak] However, in a 400 meter, it could mean some considerable time.  I did the 5430 sprint today (750 meters), and Mike Ricci (my coaching partner) of D3 Multisport, said I was 3rd or 4th out of the water--ahead of guys I have never come out ahead of before. I wouldn't have been at that position if I hadn't a wetsuit in that sprint.  A buddy of mine usually--always, comes out of the water ahead of me...today I was out in front of him. So yeah, without a wetsuit in a sprint even (if everyone else is using it), I wouldn't have done as well.

[TwoRiversTri] I know I have a 800M sprint coming up in August...I might invest before then in one.

[D.Z.]  How can I swim faster?


[KevinKonczak]  Do you do Master's?


[D.Z.]  No. Frankly, I'm frightened of anything with the word "master" in it...

[KevinKonczak] Okay, beginning master's then. They have them, really. Newbies attend.  Or pick the slow lane at master's, and discuss with the coach you NEEEEEEED feedback on your stroke.  Expect them to watch you swim, and offer stroke correction.


[D.Z.]  I'll have to check with my local Y. What do they do in a "masters" class?  I guess what I need most is FORM help. I used to swim like a fish, so water doesn't frighten me, but I've never done competitive swimming.

[KevinKonczak] The expensive way is 'Total Immersion' courses that travel the country...but a master's group will suffice & is much more practical.  Exactly, form...stroke, the samers.


[D.Z.] Okay, I'll have to look into it. I know they are up EARLY.  


[TwoRiversTri]  So Master's groups will work with someone who is a triathlete? I mean, these guys are all "swimmers". What I worry about is during the practices, focusing on speed instead of conserving energy.


[KevinKonczak]  Freestyle is freestyle....triathletes just take it to a new level with climbing on top of each other & kicking & punching.


[D.Z.]  What is Total Immersion? I've seen the books recommended.

[KevinKonczak]  Type it into Google. It is a coach that is well known for stroke clinics but costs lots of deniro. But it helps many that I've talked to. Some have said not so much...but the majority. 

[D.Z.]  Are the books worthwhile? I spent all my money on a bike and running shoes...


[KevinKonczak] Then check into a Master's. A video/DVD is a good option, you can see what they do on screen & then practice watching your underwater pull as you swim.


[TwoRiversTri] Ya' know it's so stinkin' Chaotic in an OWS...how do you actually get a rhythm?

[KevinKonczak] You find a pair of feet about the same speed as you (or a little faster) and draft.  Just focus on stroke.

[D.Z.] KK, you recommend I get involved with Masters so someone can tell me I am a poster child for 'how not to swim'?

[KevinKonczak] Yes, get with a Master's group. You'll have people with the same goal...we want to swim faster, and you'll have folks AND a coach there to help with motivations & stroke.

[burniect] KK, I've been unable to run for about 4 weeks now hip/groin injury. Substituted aqua jogging. Any thoughts on how the aqua jogging translates? When I do get back on the road how much run fitness can I expect to have lost?

[KevinKonczak]  Aqua jogging...there was an ITU world cup guy or gal I read an article on, they were injured for months. With 1 week of running, on ground,
and the rest aqua jogging, they had run the same times as when they were running regular ground/trail/track runs. So it is a good substitute. Always consult your P.T. or sports clinic/doctor first before you hit the road again.

[burniect] That's encouraging. I have a PT appt Thursday. Helpful knowing that the mind numbing 12.5 yards back and forth will translate. Thanks.

[KevinKonczak] Yeah, it is really boring, but it works. I still aqua jog in the summer as supplemental running break from the roads, and I'm not injured. So you don't have to be injured to benefit from aqua jogging.

[tommybull3] I'm a Clysdale 5'9'' 205-210 doing my first tri on Saturday...HIM in Tupperlake, first tri...any last minute tips?

[KevinKonczak]  Last minute advice, do you have your calories worked out yet (the amount per hour you'll need)?

[tommybull3] I believe 2 calories per hour per pound...yes?  About 400 calories per hour?

[KevinKonczak] Not if you're super efficient...you won't need as much. If you're not, then more. It is individual...hopefully you've figured it out by now (or it's a little late), but 400 calories for your height & weight sounds like a pretty solid ball park number. I was going to say usually 300 to 400 per hour. For a Clyde that is pretty good & you should be fine.

[KevinKonczak]  Don't forget salt. Salt Tabs.  I found a great salt tab in between Endurolytes (about 100 mg) & Succeed (300+ I think).  It is called saltsticks. www.saltstick.com

[tommybull3] Ok...how much salt would you recommend?

[KevinKonczak] I'm not advertising for them, just suggesting one that agrees with my tummy, and in between (like 200 mg or so) per pill.  I need about 1 per hour with my other nutrition, and I'm 5'9" & a buck fifty.  I don't sweat much though so I don't lose a lot of salt compared to others.

[tommybull3] Ok...more or less for me...I do sweat.

[KevinKonczak]  Some come in across the line just pasted with white on their suits.

[tommybull3] That's me!!

[KevinKonczak]  Are you having your salt appear mostly on your suit after a race? Then you likely need more.

[tommybull3] Ok...2 per hour?

[KevinKonczak]  Yeah, 2 per hour is fine.  Of course, if you adjust your diet, you may be able to lower your salt requirements (check with a nutritionist on that statement), and lose some water weight, then you may not be a Clyde anymore...because it'll drop you below that limit (you're barely in the Clyde div. anyhow).  Reason is, because if you have too much, your tummy will be turning flip-flops because it'll be upset from too much salt. Just like too much sugar...it can actually mess up your race & get you in a walking mode.  But you may want to experiment a little more with that in the future...analyze your results & training log, and maybe talk with a nutritionist.

[KevinKonczak] I have a suggestion...go to the D3 website, and drop Collen Cooke (D3 nutritionist) an email on this. She really knows her stuff in that area.

[tommybull3] I came onto BT a little to late and have learned a ton...if I only knew then what I know now.

[KevinKonczak]  When you want to get super serious, look into a power meter & start training with power.

[TwoRiversTri] How much does one of those run? I think when I buy my house I am going to take out a little more (15K) for "home improvements."

[KevinKonczak] Well, honestly, the Power Tap is around $600, the Ergomo is around $1500, and the SRM professional is $3999 or something. I have the Ergomo. It is just a fiber optic bottom bracket that gives you about everything you need. The Power Tap you will need a wheel built just around the hub, and isn't practical for training/racing. If you want to race with power, you go ERGOMO or SRM.  But Ergomo will take over SRM soon I think, it is lighter, has more functions, and costs 1/2 of the SRM.

[TwoRiversTri]  I am in the market for a new bike...this question has probably been asked a million times...

[KevinKonczak] Steel, aluminum, Ti...carbon...so many options...

[TwoRiversTri]  I know that COMFORT is the number one priority. What I am talking about is sizing. Crank length, size of the bike...wheel size, headset length.

[KevinKonczak] How long is your inseam & what is your height?

[TwoRiversTri] No clue on my inseam... I got that measured when I test rode a Felt over at my LBS. 5'9 1/2 and a buck 75 (and dropping thank you very much).

[KevinKonczak] I'd seriously go into a bike shop that has a good rep. They'll set you up. I am 5'9" & a 30 Levis. That is a 175 mm crank for me. 175 lbs...a Felt may be a little mushy of a frame for you. The old felt's were very spaghetti-noodle like...not stiff enough of a frame to be as effective as other bikes for that weight. But the new ones have carbon stays so that may be good now.

[TwoRiversTri]  So basically just leave the measurements up to the rep?

[KevinKonczak] You'll likely want a 175mm unless you have eentsee-weensy legs.

[TwoRiversTri] No, not at all... I think I am about a 30 pant leg size.

[KevinKonczak]  Go 175 mm then. You'll be happy with that. You are time trialing not bike racing. Otherwise I'd say 172.5 mm.

[TwoRiversTri] Is there any considerations that need to be taken in when considering a tri bike instead of a road bike?


[KevinKonczak] Yes, take into account what you use it for. Hilly/flat or TT'ing? Road bikes climb/descend better because of the relaxed geometry. The TT bikes/Tri bikes put you in a position that usually doesn't compromise the running legs as much. It is up to you what you want to use your new bike for, and what is most comfortable after that. Frame geometry & adjustability of the components/bars, etc. need to be considered. Lighter guys can use softer frame materials, heavier guys usually will need something stiffer like a aluminum bike frame. Also, the comfort materials are: titanium & carbon. I have ridden carbon, it breaks down after time & sort of loses it's stiffness properties if not well made. Ti will always be Ti...virtually indestructible, but more deniro...$$$.

[KevinKonczak] Well folks, as always, it is a pleasure answering your questions. Remember, a lot in triathlon is good for one, and not the other. So much is individual, and try products & methods, and for sure a coach can cut that learning time down...drop me an email if you have more questions, I'll be happy to answer.


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date: July 3, 2006