October BT Chat with Kevin Konczak, Tri Coach

author : KevinKonczak
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Off season training, nutrition, faster run, strength training, treadmill and more.

[KevinKonczak]: Howdy ho folks, Coach Kevin Konczak here of D3 Multisport, ready for questions...

[rkreuser] OK, Kevin...how long a season is too long a season? I've been at it pretty hard since January, and what kinda break should I take to get me to next year's A-race in April?

[KevinKonczak] Okay, too long a season is basically when you lose the desire to get out the door & continue.

[rkreuser] So I spose I'm there.

[KevinKonczak] I tell my athletes to take mandatory time off after the season, until they are like a caged lion & feel antsy to get going again. When they get hungry again, they will be mentally & physically ready to go.

Most of my athletes are going to start up again by the first week of November, Some have had a month off (they workout a couple times a week with the idea of getting out & enjoying the outdoors).

[rkreuser] Sounds about right. Next time I eat a raw steak, I'm goin' to the double length spin class.

[KevinKonczak] Regain the balance in your life, with family, job, kids, etc. It could even be getting all those things around the house done that you need, maybe doing some landscaping in the backyard that has been put off all season. We need that time off.

[rkreuser] That, I think, is about my plan. Start to hit it hard in Nov, half weights, half cardio addressing the limiters. Then by kinda Januaryish refine and make the weights secondary, bumping the cardio hours, getting into typical perioditization. (sp? is that a word)?

[KevinKonczak] That actually sounds like a good plan/approach for the prep period.

[KevinKonczak]
Just keep the HR low, and as the cold weather comes, remember a good warm up so you don't injure yourself.

[rkreuser] OK...stake...listen up...another question...Weight training...What are the two best weight exercises for swim? bike? run (if any)?

[KevinKonczak] For the swim, you want pushing & pulling exercises. First, you'll be pulling towards you in the 1st part of the stroke... then pushing away past the hips at the end just before the recovery

[rkreuser] Ok...so would seated row, lat pulldowns, incline rows? Bench press? : Dips? Rope tri? Cable crossovers?

[KevinKonczak] Dips are excellent. So are stretch cordz... It mimics the pulling & pushing of the stroke.

[rkreuser] Military?

[KevinKonczak]
Military press isn't as specific as say....Stretch Cordz.

[rkreuser] Stretch Cordz, huh?! Hmmm.

[KevinKonczak] Tricep kick backs are good also.

[rkreuser]
Tried 'em for a bit, they hurt. I got better results from a jillion dips and incline row...but I'd give it another try.

[KevinKonczak] Isometric "downward press" where you use a fixed object to simulate the catch on the freestyle is good. Use a bent wrist, keep the elbows fairly high & pull.

[KevinKonczak] Regarding the bike, squats & leg extentsion & leg curls...leg curls, the hammies are tied into the glutes...ever get a sore butt from pushing a big gear?

[rkreuser] I just didn't think they were a major contributor. Maybe if my pedal stroke was round I'd notice.

[KevinKonczak] On the run, stride length, comes from the actual push/toe off where the power is applied--rather than from higher
knees.

[KevinKonczak] While it is important to have good knee lift, the power is generated by the lower leg, so weights for the calves are key.

[gj50] is there something that can replace squats???

[KevinKonczak]
Yes, Smith Machine is easier on the back, it is like a squat rack but the bar is locked onto a up/down plane.

[rkreuser] Would you recommend weights, or other force
workouts like stairs, running in sand, etc? and the standard calf raises...

[mtnchick13] what about walking lunges instead of squats?

[KevinKonczak] Sand absorbs alot of the pounding, and stairs need alot of knee lift, and I see Tony & Tim DeBoom doing LOTS of dumbell lunges in the weight room, those are all good. Thing with sand is, you get an uneven pushoff because of the ground being so soft, so for "form" running it isn't the best, but is the best for long runs. It's a trade off. Depends on the specificity of the run you are doing.

[jldicarlo] Tag along weight question...I've always heard that lifting legs then going out and running can be bad for your joints....so, how do you fit weight training in with the cardio?

[KevinKonczak] Early season though, strengthen the tendons/ligaments thru high reps but low weights throughout the prep phase of periodization, then add the weight in the Base phase. Don't want to blow a knee out, especially if you have issues already.

[KevinKonczak] Often runners don't have the 'right' shoes for them. Find a shop that really knows their stuff, and fit you with the right shoe (like semi-curved, curved foot shape shoes, or stability or neutral shoes). Boulder Running Company is really good (many elite runners work there like Mark Plaajes)...former world marathon
champion.

[jldicarlo] Mark ROCKS! He fixed my orthotics for me! No more nasty blood blisters


[KevinKonczak] Wrong shoes = wrong landing = potential increase in injury & inefficiency of your run form.

[KevinKonczak] Here's something many forget...CORE exercises... The upper & lower body are connected by what? THE CORE!

If you fatigue the upper body & it isn't supported with a strong core, you legs will 'feel the heat' & wither away as your upper body sways with lost form, so CORE is so important & you don't here much about it from athletes.

You hear, "Oh, I swim, bike & run..." But there is so much more to training for triathlon than that. One of course is CORE. It holds the hold package together but without a GOAL for the season to work towards, there isn't much to motivate. So I'd say a GOAL is the main thing you need to keep it going.

[jldicarlo] What kinda goal?

[KevinKonczak] As for the "GOAL" question, you need a goal, something to work for. Maybe it is getting in shape for a specific A race. Put a specific name/race/time for accomplishing some "test" down the road. Maybe you want to finish your first Oly Race...on June 25 something...or a sprint. That's the goal. Along the way, you may be picking several 5km races or a 10km, to use as training & race experience. Those are great ways to have intermediate goals on the way to your A race.

[rkreuser] OK...I'll set this one up...what are the two (or more) key core exercises?

[KevinKonczak] I think balance boards/or using the big air ball are great--you can perform dozens of core exercises from back ententsions to situps or even oblique exercises. The stabilzer muscles get used alot with the air ball, affects/works the hips, balance & abs/back on a multitude of exercises.

You can even get a video tape or even search online for many examples. There are some on the D3 Multisport.com website if you want some core exercises.

[jldicarlo] So, how do you fit the weights/core around workouts? Sometimes when I lift legs my legs HURT...I think I'd hurt myself if I ran or biked too soon...any good time between numbers or do you just lift AFTER cardio?

[KevinKonczak] If your legs are beat up, maybe take a day & lift & swim. If there is a DEEP soreness, get a massage & swim with a pull buoy. But you need to feel fairly ready to handle weights in the weight room, even if it is high reps. Otherwise you're not getting a quality workout. I usually pick a day where I'm not doing a high intensity or long workout (bike or run) when weights are being done.

You should be upping the protein, and get some Glutamine as well, it will aid in recovery. Self massage (or a S.O.) if you can rope them into helping out with the sore legs.

[gj50] With the weather changing I am forced to do some treadmill running do you have any adivice or know of any articles out with treadmill runs! I am trying to increase my speed.

[KevinKonczak] Leg speed or overall velocity?

[gj50] well I would like to get my 5k speed down! So overall or both?? Also get my longer runs (time) down.

[KevinKonczak] You need a good base for overall velocity,
coupled with a good leg speed for 5km...so...you... really need the leg turnover for 5km, not as much distance focus, as you would if you were doing longer races. LT (lactate threshold) intervals will work wonders for 5km.

[KevinKonczak] Do you know your LT?

[gj50] No how do I get that?? My 5k is right around 29 and would like it to be 25.. And then get going on longer runs

[KevinKonczak] For the longer run, you'll need more long runs at a fixed aerobic pace. What's your long run at now & what are you thinking of for long race distance?

[gj50] Well I just finished my first marathon and would like to get that in 4:40 by May

[KevinKonczak] If you have HR zones established, try to hold your long runs in upper Zone 2. If you don't have HRs established, there should be some insight to getting those also on the D3 site. I haven't memorized everything on the site there as to what Mike Ricci has posted. Best way to do that is a blood lactate threshold test, it'll establish the most accurate zones.

[gj50] Thank you!! I will try that, I am going to look on the site...

[KevinKonczak] On a marathon training, you'll need to do some Z3 work too. Remember, in races your HR is affected by weather, hyradation, nutrition or calorie reserves AND nerves. In a race your HR will be artificially high from nerves alone. Often you'll see HR numbers higher than you would in training.

[gj50] I did notice that in my marathon!!!

[jkbostic] Question: Is there an ideal sequence to go about training/stressing the body to develop faster. Is biking three/four days in a row more effective in training the body than perhaps biking every other day?

[jldicarlo] So mix RPE with HR then?

[KevinKonczak] They both have merits.

[KevinKonczak]
Alternating bike days with non-bike days is effective during the season more than the 4 days in a row (usually something I'd recommend in the Base 1-3 period). You need to do a bike or a run once every 3 days to keep the muscle memory at a good "memory level" in my opinion. Otherwise, you feel a little out of practice. Well, I do anyhow. It's all about balance with not only the job, the family, but all 3 sports that will be keeping you motivated & happy & hold the sicknesses & injury at bay.

[jkbostic] And what's a good mix of intensity/duration say for the offseason?

[KevinKonczak] What sorta time do you have? Other commitments will dictate that.

[jkbostic] Say 10 hrs per week for all 3 sports

[KevinKonczak] I have a guy I train that did his first Ironman, has a full time job, and S.O, and he thought I was nuts having him train a maximum of 17-18 hours a week, with only 3 workouts a week in each 3 sports.

[KevinKonczak] He took 5th overall on his first Ironman at Vineman this year. So you don't need alot of hours, just be smart about the balance & not going too long without doing a particular sport.

[KevinKonczak] 10 hours is good (up to 12 hours) for a half. I think you can do well on 10-12 hours a week of all 3 sports combined (and weight training) if you are not
screwing around with "junk" time. Each workout has a purpose, all quality, and make it count.

[jldicarlo] 10-12 is a lot (or it seems like it)....whew...

[KevinKonczak] Seems like alot, but when you add in maybe 2 or 3 master's swims a week, and an hour of weights...that's four hour right there. Add in the rest of bike/run time & you get 10-12 really quick.

[KevinKonczak] Long runs...practice it like a race with all the same race nutrition & warm up you'd do in a race. 10-12 for a half ironman we're talking.

[jkbostic] I'd say at least 4-5 of those hours are on Sat and Sun....since most of us work m-f...any issues with having your long days sat and sun? Or is it more effective to half something more like a wed long workout and a long one on the weekend?

[KevinKonczak] I really think the biggest mistake beginners & non-elite athletes make is... they try to cram in too much on the weekend where.. hey do a long bike AND run on the days of SAT & SUN. I'd suggest alternating...long run say...this SAT...and along bike next Saturday. And whatever else they want on Sunday, maybe a mid-distance day... Or they can make that on Sunday... Whatever their schedule allows.

[gj50] then do you have another long run or bike during the week?

[KevinKonczak] If you cram in a long run/ride on consecutive days, the quality of the 2nd day is usually pretty poor. Especially if it follows traditional age grouper mentality where...they like to hammer harder than they should.

[Rennick] That's an interesting take on things, Kevin.

[jkbostic] Okie...with winter coming up...many up north are going to be hitting the dreadmills. Is there a good "setup" to most approximate being outside. I've heard setting it on a 1% grade. Any merit to this?

[KevinKonczak] Yeah, 1% grade is better than 0%, it works the legs better. I*'m originally from UPPER Michigan, so I know training in the winter.

[KevinKonczak] Have snowshoes or XC ski?

[jkbostic]
LOL! From NC! What's a snowshoe!

[KevinKonczak] I raced nordic skiing in NCAA's, it is a great winter tri substitue. Look up snowshoes on the web...hehe

[jldicarlo] Snowshoes are fun

[PirateGirl] I have a question about resting before a 1/2 IM. Should one take the day right before the 1/2 IM off? There's a cyclocross race I'd like to do, but it falls on the Sat before my Sun 1/2 IM.

[KevinKonczak] Yes. Use the cyclocross as a training race. Don't nuke yourself, a 1/2 IM is not an easy task. It takes a blend of speed & endurance.

[Rennick] Yeah! And the Vanilla Coke

[jkbostic] What effect does nutrition have on performance? Should I drop the biscuits and gravy?

[KevinKonczak] Nutrition will make or break you on a longer race. The longer the race the more effect it has. Coke is great at the end of a 1/2 or full Ironman.

[jkbostic] I'm thinking in terms of regular life/daily nutrition

[KevinKonczak] Oh, here's my answer…I like Vanilla Coke, but daily...I pretty much suggest to my athletes to eat normal, and if they want a treat, go for it, just as long as your typical meals are not all TREATS. Within reason, but don't need to have some macro-biotic trip. Some take it to an extreme.

[jkbostic] They're obviously not good for you, but one of the reasons I tri is so that I can pound 3500 calories without gaining weight. If I can get better performance in training and racing, I'll change.

[coredump] But I do eat 'healthy'. lots of fresh fruits/veggies (salads), unprocessed grains ( meaning not much bread aka biscuits ), and good fats ( from fish, advocado, other sources )

[KevinKonczak] If you add up a 5,000 calorie menu, and make it all 100% tofu & brown rice & veggies, etc...you know how much food that would be? ALOT. So you need to supplement with some fun stuff.

[jldicarlo] Yeah, and no calories left for BEER

[KevinKonczak] I saw a nutritionist & we went over my training, I should be eating/drinking 6,000 calories a day.

[Cavu9] Beer is a supplement

[rkreuser] Isn't is one of the food groups?

[coredump] nah, it's a recovery drink ( heffeweizen! )

[jldicarlo] Beer and coffee are staples....

[KevinKonczak] So basically, (no beer is not a supplement)...I added up all the calories one day, trying to eat 6,000. I was nautious when I hit 5,000, and had food in my mouth all day, trying to eat all tree-hugger food.

[jkbostic] LOL

[jldicarlo] heehee

[KevinKonczak] Hey, I'm not saying go get a bag, but I like my ice cream & doritos on the side! But within reason like for desert you know?

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date: October 30, 2005

KevinKonczak