Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Avoiding Panic at the Swim Start

The video below reviews tips on how to avoid panic at the swim start. I have four additional tips that aren't mentioned here.

First, train. If you don't do some swim training before your first triathlon event, you are at a much higher risk of panic. Be smart and prepare for the demands of the race.

Second, practice swimming with your wetsuit. Wetsuits are tight around the throat and can restrict your shoulders. Practice swimming with it on so you get use to the feeling of the suit.

Third, keep your head down more during those first moments of the swim. We have a tendency to pick our heads up with every stroke to see what's going on and to make sure we are swimming straight. Swimming with your head up makes it harder to swim because your lower body will sink deeper into the water and catch resistance. Swimming with your head up also makes it harder to breath because your head isn't creating that nice air pocket that it does when you swim in a streamlined position. To guide yourself in those first 200 meters, trust the group. Follow the bubbles and even reach out to lightly tap others feet. Consider sighting every 4-8 strokes instead of every other stroke.

Lastly, don't forget to breath out. In high stress situations, it's easy to forget to breath out. But you need to get all your air out before you can bring fresh air in. Breathing out will help prevent hyperventilation and simply help you to relax. Check it out!

Looking for a Tri coach? Contact Coach Jon and start exceeding your goals today! / 717-368-7198.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dealing with Heat

As the triathlon season progresses into the summer, it's important to refresh your memory about dealing with heat while training and racing. Usually, when we talk about heat, we immediately talk about hydration and salt intake. Here is a great video of Chris McCormack talking about how he deals with heat. McCormack enhances the discussion of heat by talking about ways to stay cool beyond hydrating. Check it out!

Looking for a Tri coach? Contact Coach Jon and start exceeding your goals today! / 717-368-7198.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pacing for Triathlon

Here is some great information on pacing from Dave Scott. The most important tip that I took from this video was Scott's advice on hills. Many age group triathletes tend to really push the hills and try to beat others to the top. It's easy to get caught up in this. That said, triathlon for age groupers isn't about winning every hill climb, it's about finishing the race with your fastest time. One of the most effective ways to have your fastest time is by pacing your effort evenly throughout the race. This usually means holding back a little on the hills and leaving some energy for the end of your race. Check out this video for more tips.

Looking for a Tri coach? Contact Coach Jon and start exceeding your goals today! / 717-368-7198.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

ITU Racing

ITU racing is somewhat unfamiliar to age group athletes in the US because it tends to be an elite only style of racing. That said, it's definitely fun to watch. Today, I wanted to share this clip from the 2014 Chengdu ITU Triathlon World Cup to spread some awareness about this side of the sport. It's amazing to watch how fast these athletes swim, bike, and run.  It's all draft legal which makes for great sprint finishes. Check it out!

Looking for a Tri coach? Contact Coach Jon and start exceeding your goals today! / 717-368-7198.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Nutrition: Have a Written Plan

The most important idea to take from this video is to have a race day nutrition plan. Write it down and practice it every time you train. You may have to modify the plan depending on the conditions of the course, but having a plan that details the number of bars/gels/bottles you will take in and the time intervals at which you will take them will help you have a successful race day. Check out this video.

Looking for a Tri coach? Contact Coach Jon and start exceeding your goals today! / 717-368-7198.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Self Doubt

Even the best athletes in the world deal with self doubt. Jessie Thomas had some major injuries over the past year; injuries that could have ended his career. Thomas had to fight through that self doubt, even as he was finishing the last miles to win the 2014 Wildflower Triathlon.

That puts things into perspective. Everyone deals with doubt. It's part of who we are. The people who achieve amazing things are the ones who work through it. They are the heroes.

Check out this video where Thomas reflects on his race!

Looking for a Tri coach? Contact coach Jon and get started exceeding your goals today! / 717-368-7198.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Quality Training and Quantity Training

There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding both the quality training approach and the quantity training approach. Many coaches take a hard line on one side or the other. In the short article (I posted below) Matt Fitzgerald does a nice job laying out the controversy. He concludes that every athlete is going to react differently to training and should therefore figure out what works best for them.


I agree with Fitzgerald's conclusion and I help the athlete's that I work with find what's best for them. That said, the majority of athletes I work with are pressed for time. For those who train less than 10 hours a week, every mile--slow or fast--is a quality mile. And when time is that limited, a training schedule becomes more complex. As a coach, it becomes more challenging to bring out the athlete's best performance and regulate the rest to stress ratio. I work very closely with the athletes that I coach to make sure they are making the most of that time. We make sure that the athlete is focusing on the things that will allow him or her to have the fastest overall finishing time.

If you (or a family member or a friend) are in the category of "I don't have a lot of time, how do I make the most of it?" please shoot me an e-mail. I'm looking to coach more athletes and I'm confident that I can help you get to the next level. E-mail me at

Definitely check out this article:
"Is There a Such Thing as Junk Miles" by Matt Fitzgerald:

Image from:

Jon Fecik

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Congrats to Ted Breault and Bill Palermo for breaking through challenging conditions to finish strong at Ironman 70.3 St. Croix. What a way to start the season!