Author Archive

An Athlete Profile: Doug Farmer

August 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Doug has been a “KET” triathlete since April of 2010. Below is his “tri resume”:

  • 4th in division at Devilman(Sprint)
  • 6th in division at Black Bear(Olympic)
  • 16th in division at Philadelphia(Olympic)
  • 3rd place finish in division at North East Maryland(Olympic)

Next goal:

Completing the Ironman 70.3 in Syracuse, NY in September. Good work Doug!!

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The North East Triathlon in Maryland

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

This just about expresses a first time triathletes experience to perfection. Dave Winfield, a former college roommate of mine, wished to complete a triathlon this year. He set his sights on a Olympic distance tri in North East Maryland. The event is organized by CGI. They do an excellent job.

Dave mentions Doug in his commentary. He is referring to Doug Farmer who reached the podium for the first time in his division. Doug and I have been working together since April. Good work Doug!


Some of you knew I was doing my first triathlon so I thought you’d like a little update. Clearly, I didn’t drown – which is a good thing – I know some of you were a little worried based on my reports of my swimming adventures. Bright and early we got there, got body marked, found our rack row and set up for the transitions. The body marking was new: bib numbers on the arms, calendar year age on one calf and event on the other. Now the age is out there for all to see. Once in the corral, we found our rack and dropped our stuff, to set up for transitions. You get a towel width of space to place your running and biking stuff. There are many articles on the web about how to do this and it help that Mark had sent me a check list prior to the event. That doesn’t mean I didn’t forget stuff, just forgot less stuff. It is crucial to have your area set up before you go so you are not fumbling through your bag to find, well, whatever to get on with the next stage.

On to the water to warm-up and test the water temp, which was 81 degrees. The water was warm enough that wet suits where semi-legal – participants who used them would race and get times, but they wouldn’t be podium eligible. Also, you need to get your stuff set up and get out of transition period by a certain time so I got back just in time for a few adjustments and out. I also found that testing the run from the water to the transition corral was essential as it provided me with a warm up run and allowed me to count the steps to the bike – they all look a like and yes, I lost it at first.

The next step was the race to the potty. ‘nough said.The the waves started. We had yellow caps so I didn’t get out for about an hour after the first wave left. Aside from the transitions, using a swim cap was a new experience and I missed sealing the goggles so I ended up with leaky goggles. Not awful, but annoying. It probably cost me a few seconds, but getting better at swimming is more important. And the swim. Yes, I used the breast stroke about 90% of the time through the 1.5k (.9 mile) swim. I was comfortable, I could “go”, and, more importantly, I could float. Better that, than panicking that I didn’t have enough gas left to get through. The other advantage to this stroke is that I could always see where I was going so I was never going in the wrong direction. This happened to many people who crossed my path doing the crawl (or freestyle) and it’s a big waste of energy. I will work on my open water swimming for the next Tri.

LAND, HO! I was done. Ready to get out, I made my way across the sand and started the run to the corral to pick up my trusty steed. This would be the new Felt bike I built up (with Matt’s help). Nothing fancy but I picked up this 2010 Felt s32 aluminum frame (carbon fork and seat post) and bought the pieces for it over the next few months. This was definitely my better event, but still have improvement to make – my rank was 130, my pace was an average of 18.8 mph (I think/hope it was mph!), but I am encouraged. I was beat handily by the other members of Team KET (Kotarski Endurance Training) Mark (the Coach) and Doug (our medal winner in his category!). I did lose time when I dropped my water bottle and had to go back for it. No Excuses!

The transition to run from bike went smoothly and I headed out to the 10k (6.2 mile) run. The weather was perfect for this Tri, cloudy and between 68-76 degrees. There was some rain sprinkles but in general, no showers. Starting off running after biking 40k (25.5 miles) is generally considered to be difficult – you are asking your legs to do something completely different from what they had been doing the last hour or so. In this case, I felt good, started out with smaller steps to try and warm up a bit. This course is considered to be rolling hills, the run had it’s share. Through the unattended midway point and back I trudged on. I never stopped running, but I felt like I kept throwing my legs forward, willing the next couple of steps. It helps to pass people – use micro goals to make progress.

Finally, into the chute, your name announced to the cheering crowd and cold water. A few minutes after I finished, I couldn’t decided if I was feeling good or not. There was the normal strain you feel in your muscles after a good workout, but there was something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. In retrospect I think I bonked on the run or probably dehydrated a bit. Not enough food and water when I was on the bike to prepare for the run. I guess that’s why they have those funky aero bottles on the handle bars. After a nap and about 100oz of liquid I was feeling better – but boy, what an appetite. I was scarfing down any thing I could get my hands on.

In all it was a great experience and I am hoping to do it again – but I won’t bore you with the details of the rest!

Here are the numbers from the event!


Race Statistics:
Total rank
Swim Rank/time/Pace 288/40:01/44:28
T1 3:01
Bike Rank/Time/Pace 130/1:14:36/20.5
T2 1:54
Run Rank/Time/Pace 191 54:52 8:51
Total for the day/rank in Age group 2:54:22 20/31
AG(45-49)/Rank (against the other guys!) 148/243

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Sorry I have been busy coaching

I apologize for my absence of late. I have been busy training 3 age group athletes for various goals.

The goals vary from the most ambitious……..placing in his age group during an olympic (.9 mile sw, 25 miles bike, 6 mile run) triathlon (to date he has placed 4th and 6th) to completing a 5k which has now turned into a new goal of a 10k. In addition, one athlete is now training for a his first half marathon at the age of 60 something.

This has kept me busy.

Please feel free to send an email if you have a question or comment.


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New Goal and what to do with a calf strain.

Calf Strain:

Sorry I have been away. I hope your training is going well. Hopefully you’re not in the same position I am in currently. I strained my left calf a few weeks back and currently I am nursing it back to health.

One training method I turned to is water running or also known as aqua jogging. I ran in the deep end of the pool for 60 min with a float around my waist. It was excellent. I needed to con’t training for a 5 miler this past Sunday at Valley Forge Park. It turned out to be a fair to good run considering the mild discomfort and my awkward gait.

New Goal:

My new goal is the Syracuse Half IM this Sept. Wish me luck!


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The psychology of fitness…..

There is a book entitled “Curious?” by Todd Kashdon, professor of psychology at George Mason University.

In his book Dr. Kashdon defines curiosity as “The recognition, pursuit, and intense desire to explore novel, challenging, and uncertain events”.

Where am I going with this? Studies have shown that older individuals with high levels of curiosity have been found to live longer over a 5 year period.

While training ask questions, run or ride a different route to discover new and interesting vistas, and read new articles in magazines or web sites to answer some of your fitness questions.

Source: ACSM’S Certifed News. January-March 2010. Vol. 20:1
Keep Training!

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The "Enjoyment Scale" and FITT Principle

The Enjoyment Scale

In the April issue of Triathlete magazine well known tri coach Matt Fitzgerald writes about his idea of an “Enjoyment Score”. This can be used to assess how you feel during and following the exercise session and can help determine if overtraining is occuring. He also states how you can average the scores (he uses 1, 2, and 3 with 1 not enjoyable, 2 equally unpleasant and enjoyable and 3 as, on average enjoyable) to allow you to track the weekly scores. So if the weekly avg is 2.4 this was, on average an enjoyable week. If the avg score is a 1.3 than perhaps you need a rest day or more sleep, etc.

While reading this it reminded me of how we used an “Enjoyment Scale” in our Cardiac Rehab program at Jeanes Hospital in Philadelphia ~20 years ago. In an attempt to find what exercise the patients enjoyed we would ask them, by showing them a 1-10 scale, how much they enjoyed the type of exercise they just completed to identify what they will most likely use when they completed the program.

The FITT Principle

This is used for prescribing exercise.
Frequency: Endurance Exercise (run, swim, bike, elliptical, etc) 3-6 days/week. More on the 6 end if weight loss is important, controlling blood sugar, or training for an ironman event. Use 3 days a week to increase heart health(the minimum needed) and maintain your fitness level during the offseason recovery phase.
Intensity: How difficult the exercise is. Heart Rate, Perception of Work (Perceived Exertion) and conversation test (can you hold a conversation–than it’s light to moderate)
Time: 20-60+ minutes. This time can be split, i.e. 30 min in am and 30 min in pm = 60 min. More time more calories expended. But mix up the time to reduce your chance for injury.
Type: Swim, Bike, Run, elliptical –for cardiovascular health and endurance events.

Notice the range of Time. One session can be 20 min and the next days session can be 40 min. On the 20 min day the intensity can be higher (higher HR and Perceived exertion) due to the low time and the 60 min session should be a lower intensity(lower HR and an easy feeling session) due to the longer time.

And the Type can vary. One session use the treadmill another session the elliptical. Notice that you may have different HR responses so use your perceived exertion with the HR.

A variety helps reduce the chance for injury.

Happy Training!

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How do I know I’m ready?

Use the following guidelines to be confident that your training has been the adequate preparation to complete your race/event goals:

5k: You can run at a comfortable pace for 30 min.
10k: ” ” for 45 min.
10 miles: You have completed comfortable pace runs of 75 min and 90 min on different days that are separated by 2 weeks. This reduces the chance for injury.
13 miles: You have completed 10 miles or a 90 min run.
26 miles: At a comfortable pace you have completed a 3 hr run or 18-20 miles 3 weeks prior to the marathon.

Remember consistency is key.

Keep up the good work!

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Joe T. Finishes Marshman Sprint Triathlon

That’s Joe T. after completing the Marshman Sprint Triathlon last year. We worked together on his running pace and I introduced him to a few swim drills. His goal was to not walk during the run. Good work Joe!!
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Client achieves 5 mile race goal!

Today, a client of mine completed her goal of a 5 mile race. She is 15 yrs old and her weekly routine goes something like this:

Monday: Off Day
Tuesday: Kick Boxing Class at the West Chester YMCA
Wednesday: Run 3 miles/40 min
Thursday: Run or Bike 30 min
Friday: Off Day
Saturday: Run 3 miles/40 min
Sunday: Run and/or Bike 30 min (sometimes 30 min bike & 30 min run)

Good Work Katie! (She’s my daughter:))

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The “Bedside Exercise Log”

February 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Keeping a log helps with consistency. Whether it be a diet log or an exercise log keeping one is important to success. It can be as easy as placing checks on a calendar each day you exercise or as detailed as you want it to be with heart rates, exercise times, running and bike routes and swim drills. But recording your sessions will be motivational. You can review each week, month, and year. You can list your weight and go back to a certain date and compare.

Keep it by your bedside so you can easily write a quick note. It may look like this: “biked 20 min” or “35 min run” or “5 mile run”…..just 2, 3, or 4 words or figures will do.

Categories: Training Tips