Author Archive

“Track” Workout You Can Only do on a Treadmill

April 21, 2015 Leave a comment

This is a great workout for improving both climbing and speed.

Dynamic stretching before(leg swings & high knee)

Start with a 10 min EZ Warm Up at conversational pace

At the 10 min mark complete a 1 min climb at 4% grade

At the 15 min mark complete a 2 min fast run at 10K pace(or sub 13.1 pace)

Repeat above sequence on the 5s(20,25,30,35, etc)

for a total of 4, 5 or 6 miles depending on your fitness level

Below is an example using: 6 mph(10 METs), 6 mph at 4%(11.7 METs) and 8 mph at 0%(13.1 METs)


Pittsburgh tmill workout


Categories: Uncategorized

How do You Value Health?–A Very Interesting Article!

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Click to access A54.pdf


“Health competes with other values, including wealth, power, security, knowledge,
and social acceptance.” How would you rate health?

“Behaviors can be ‘health-related’ without being ‘health directed’.”

“An additional issue is that of proximal versus distal goals.”

“Health could be viewed as an intermediate goal or as an end in and of itself. In other words, being healthy may facilitate our achievement of other valued goals or may be valued independently of other goals.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Exercise Physiology and How It Relates to Endurance Training

April 6, 2015 Leave a comment

(Taken from the KET Training Manual)

A little Anatomy & Physiology
Let’s try to understand what exactly happens inside our bodies during all of this endurance training.

The transportation of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle starts with circulation. The delivery of oxygen and nutrients is what helps the muscles contract to produce movement. The circulation and delivery of the oxygen and nutrients to the muscles can be enhanced with training and good nutrition.

The Macro View:
We inhale the oxygen and consume the macronutrients(carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) to provide the muscles with energy. The oxygen moves into the lungs where the exchange of oxygen & carbon dioxide takes place. We exhale the carbon dioxide and the oxygen moves into the blood after leaving the lungs. While in the blood, the oxygen moves to the muscles carried by the red blood cells. The oxygen moves into the muscle with help from oxidative enzymes.

While this is happening in the blood the nutrients from the food and fluid we consume moves into the digestive system where it is broken down and transported into the blood as glucose, proteins, and fats. These macronutrients are then transported to the muscle. So the muscles use the oxygen and macronutrients for energy during endurance exercise.

The sequence goes like this:
Lungs to Heart to Arteries(lined w/muscle) to (oxidative enzymes)Muscle to CO2 Veins(not lined w/muscle-has valves) to Heart to Lungs to Exhale CO2 + H2O(another reason to hydrate).
Blood carries the O2 and nutrients to muscle.

There are also phytonutrients, nutrients found in plants(mainly fruits & vegetables), that also help with transportation of the oxygen and macronutrients by causing an opening of blood vessels(vasodilation)and increased blood flow.

The “Fick Equation”
The Fick Equation is a good example of how the system works during exercise and where the benefits from regular endurance training occur.

VO2(oxygen consumption by the muscle)= CO(Cardiac Output or the amount of blood leaving the heart per minute) x A(oxygen in the Arteries )-V(oxygen in the Veins)o2 difference in arteries and veins.
AND the AVO2 difference increases with increased activity from the oxidative enzymes in the muscle. This is where a large part of the benefit of training occurs.
Skeletal Muscle

The role of the skeletal muscle:
Skeletal muscles contract moving bones through the full range of motion at a joint and overcoming resistance by the generating force. There are different shapes of muscles allowing for different types of movement.

“Form follows Function”

Rectus Abdominus is used during sit-ups or “flexion of the spine” and the Transverse Abdominus is used when rotating the trunk.
How do Muscles Function?

Simply, the muscle contracts pulling on a tendon(tendons connect muscle to bone), the tendon then pulls the bone causing movement.
Now for the Micro view (hang with me!)
ATP(adenosine triphosphate)
In the muscle there are ATP molecules, when in the presence of O2, can multiply in volume to provide greater amounts of energy.

Hence, Oxygen in muscle forms large amounts of ATP which then causes greater amounts of energy for muscle contraction to move the body. Oxygen transported to the muscle is important to form the energy needed for endurance training.

But without O2 the only source of energy available to make ATP is glucose. When only glucose is available small amounts of ATP are formed. This energy does not last long. Just a few minutes. An example is the 100 m sprint.

Inside the fibers proteins Actin and Myosin slide passed each other from energy derived from the break down of CP(Creatine Phosphate) in the mitochondria(the powerhouse of the cell)
Calcium, Potassium, Sodium (electrolytes) move in and out of the cell
This is done in a fluid medium. This fluid medium is important. This is why drinking water and remaining hydrated is so crucial to effective endurance training.

The Power House of the Cell: Where the energy is generated

Anaerobic and Aerobic energy systems:
The 2 systems and differences in intensity and duration
The Anaerobic(without O2 and not a lot of ATP) and Aerobic(with O2 and high amounts of ATP) energy systems are the energy systems used during training. We constantly move in and out of these 2 systems during a training session. An example would be a bike ride where we are riding easily on a flat area of road (aerobic system) then we approach a hill. During our climb up the hill the intensity becomes greater. That is when we are moving into the anaerobic system. If we become so out of breath that we needed to stop and walk the bike up the hill we entered the anaerobic system to the greatest extent and exceeded the anaerobic threshold. More on that later. If we could make it to the top crest of the hill without walking we stayed mostly in the aerobic system.

There are differences in intensity and duration of the 2 energy systems. The anaerobic system is a high intensity, short duration(1-5 minutes)system. It uses primarily glucose as the immediate source of energy in the muscle and blood.

The aerobic system is the lower intensity and longer duration system.
During a comfortable, mostly steady, and flat training session you are primarily using the aerobic energy system.
Oxidative Enzymes and Nitric Oxide

Some physiologists would argue that the benefits of exercise are mostly derived from oxidative enzymes (increase with aerobic exercise)and NO(Nitric Oxide) which causes vasodilation of the arteries(greater blood flow) facilitating the movement of oxygen and nutrients into the active muscle.
There are Different Muscle Fibers

Fast Twitch, Slow Twitch Muscles and In-Between

Skeletal Muscle is composed of 3 types of muscle fibers:
Slow Oxidative(SO), Fast Oxidative Glycolytic (FOG), and Fast Glycolytic (FG)

SO: Is an endurance, long duration, oxygen dependent muscle fiber. Oxygen is utilized to generate high amounts of ATP. Exercise using predominantly slow twitch fibers can last a very long time. The SO fibers are the fibers that are working primarily during those comfortable sessions. At this level of intensity you can hold a conversation.

FOG: Is a fiber that uses oxygen for generation of ATP and also can generate a lot of speed. If you do speed work during the week the FOG fibers will become enhanced. These are the “lactate threshold fibers”. The fiber that can carry you through at a race pace or a good tempo session. This fiber is a hybrid of the slow and fast twitch. It can provide long durations and a higher intensity. Breathing is somewhat difficult at this level of intensity while using these muscle fibers.

FG: These fibers are for very high intensity and short duration activities. The kick at the end of a race. The climb up a very steep incline or 200m repeats on a track. These fibers provide very high intensities but can only be sustained for short periods of time.

Training the Different Systems

So how can we train those different muscle fibers?

• 1x/week of speed training is sufficient to engage the FG fibers during the base and build phases and working on the weak sport during the off-season period.

• 1x/week Tempo and hills engage the FOG fibers

• 1x/week of long slow distance in each sport in base/build phases of training-trains SO

High Intensity-Acids Increase

Lactic acid and Hydrogen:
During high intensity sessions hydrogen and lactate increase. This pushes the Ph to a more acidic range (<7.0). There are organs that can use lactate for energy. The heart muscle is an example. However, most can not. When the production of lactate exceeds the absorption of lactate this state is referred to as the “lactate threshold”. What many athletes are not familiar with is that hydrogen levels also rise causing a more acidic environment in the muscle. The combination of acids increasing cause stiffness, fatigue and soreness but the condition often only takes into account the lactic acid.

The endurance training goal is an increased lactate threshold. This increased threshold means the athlete can work at a higher intensity for a longer period of time.


-Mark Kotarski, MEd


Categories: Uncategorized

Endurance Training Principles:

March 25, 2015 Leave a comment

Listed below are primary training principles used for endurance activities and sports. Through education and experience I have formulated this list to provide you with the edge you need and to begin training in the right direction. All items on the list may not apply to you. It depends on your individual performance goals and training experience.

#1: Training is a balance between performance improvement and injury prevention. The performance gains must come at the lowest possible risk of injury. This means there is a tight balance between the two. During each week the training plan will vary in pace and intensity to meet this goal. Proper training will contain rest & recovery days and recovery weeks from high volume training blocks (blocks of 3-7 days) or high intense racing (“A” races). Remember rest days are training days.

#2: Rest days are training days. To allow the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to gain strength they need time to recover. The rest days or recovery days allow for this time of increased strength and endurance to occur.

#3: Training session plan Bs should always be developed. An example is an athlete who is a runner and has a calf muscle strain. He or she may use an elliptical device or the pool to water run. Also, if weather or time of day prevents an athlete from running or cycling outdoors they can use a treadmill or stationary turbo trainer. The athlete has a flat tire during a bike session. To complete the session, they can use a spin, stationary bike or turbo trainer when they return home.

#4: Communicate with the coach. If there is a pain or a new tightness or ache inform the coach! A change may need to be made in training to avoid injury or to get the most out of the training to improve performance.

#5: If your goal is a triathlon, address all 6 pillars of training: Nutrition, Strength, Recovery, Swim, Bike, Run (if it is one sport then 4 pillars are to be addressed)

#6: Not all races or events are primary races or “A” races. Categorize the races into A(primary), B(secondary), C(tertiary) or simply “goal races” or “training races”. This will help to prevent over racing and under training (quality training weeks are necessary). In addition, it will improve the “A or Goal” races by using trial and error as your teacher.

#7: During training, pay strict attention to nutrition management during the long sessions. Make notes of what you consumed. This will help you discover what provides the edge during racing. These will include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, phytonutrients(fruits & vegetables), electrolytes(salt)and water.

#8: Emphasize carbs, for energy, before a long session (>60 min) and lean protein(to rebuild muscle) + carbs after the long session. The carbs will provide the energy needed and the protein will help rebuild broken down muscle fibers(Powerbar, Hammer & Juice Plus+ are examples of excellent recovery products).

#9: Have a fitting. This includes both running shoes and bike fittings.
#10: Find your natural and most productive cadence. It may be 75 for the bike and 90 for the run. This is an exercise in discovery. During training experiment with different cadences to discover what works.

#11: Before a race, mentally visualize yourself(along with deep breathing) moving through the race, strong and effortlessly. Deep breathing while waiting for the race to begin will also help. These steps will reduce anxiety before and during the event. Don’t ignore the mental aspects of training and racing.

#12: Feel free to use gadgets(GPS systems), pool toys or new apparel. This can help motivate you as well as improve your comfort and performance.

#13: When stretching, attempt to hold the stretch for 30 seconds. This length of time has been found to “straighten” individual muscle fibers into a position that reduces the risk for injury or helps the muscle heal from a strain. The best time to do this type of static stretch, is after the session when the muscles are the warmest.

#14: Always report any aches, pains or unusual feelings to your coach. Mentioned in #4 but worth repeating.

#15: When training for triathlon, always practice transitions and sighting before a race.
This can be done in open water but if open water is not available pools are also extremely helpful for sighting practice sessions.

#16: There are 4 phases of training no matter what the goals are: Base, Build, Prep and Recovery. Base is primarily practiced during the off-season along with some strength and speed work. Build is the increased training volume several weeks or months leading up to the event. Prep refers to the days or weeks immediately before the event. Recovery is what is practiced immediately following the event and can last days or weeks.

#17: Use long training sessions to help with nutrition plans: There are many guidelines for carb and electrolyte (sodium & potassium) consumption. The best method to formulate your nutritional plan for racing is to try various methods and determine what works. Record all you consume for future use and your coach to review after the long sessions.

                                                                                              -Mark Kotarski, MEd

Categories: Uncategorized

Dare To:

March 7, 2015 Leave a comment

• Find New Adventures
• Achieve Amazing Goals
• Create Long Lasting Friendships

Categories: Uncategorized

Antidepressants May Cause Hyponatremia

March 5, 2015 Leave a comment


This case makes it clear for the age grouper with a history of depression to maintain a close eye on electrolytes and hydration.


Categories: Uncategorized

Choices are the Keys to Wellness

February 27, 2015 Leave a comment

– To Smile
– To Laugh
– To Be Happy
– To Be Kind
– To Move
– To Be Moved
– To Be Accountable
– To Commit
– To Eat a Vegetable
– To Eat a Fruit
– To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
– To Be Vulnerable
– To Love
– To Learn
– To Complete

Categories: Uncategorized