The Five Parts of the Swim Stroke

There are 5 parts to the triathlon swim stroke known as the front crawl and/or freestyle stroke.

They are:

  • Entry
  • Reach
  • Catch
  • Pull
  • Recovery


The entry is the point where the hand enters the water in front of the shoulder.  Wrist should be relaxed, hand flat, fingertips facing down with the thumb slightly downward.  Think of your hand as a paddle.

If you hold your arm up and relax your wrist, your hand will naturally fall into proper position.  Spread your fingers, your hand is now your paddle.


Once the hand is in and under the water, the arm will extend out from the body.  Think of the fingertips putting a hole in the water that the hand, forearm, and elbow will follow through.  The head is kept still keeping the neck in line with the spine.


Once the hand has reached forward as far as possible, the hand will grab a pocket of water thus calling it the “catch”.  The hand will catch the water as the wrist flexes (bends downward) slightly and the palm rotates outward. Both moves of the wrist and palm are small moves.  You don’t want to over exaggerate the moves thus losing the amount of water that can be caught.


The “pull” part is what moves you forward through the water.  Pull back your arm toward your hip in a straight line.  The arm will move in an “S” shape in the water but in a straight line with the body due to the body’s rotation.  Keep the elbow higher than the wrist and pull the hand all the way back to the thigh.


The recovery is when the arm exits the water.  The elbow is high with the body rotating from the hip.  The elbow will point up to the sky the arm in the shape of a triangle.  The body will rotate and be on its side in recovery.

It is important to know this terminology for your training.  Your coach may use these terms as you are learning how to become more mechanically efficient and develop proper body position.

As always if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Be healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

Coach Kristie

*This post originally published and can be found on the PRSFit Nation blog







Protein Without the Powder

How much protein should an athlete should take in per day?  I get asked this question, a lot.  Rule of thumb for an adult endurance athlete is .6 to .7g per pound of body weight.  For example, an endurance athlete that is 150lbs would need approximately 90g to 105g of protein intake each day to allow the body to recover and become stronger.

Athletes reducing meat consumption and those with a vegetarian or vegan diet have a challenge in finding non-meat protein packed options.  Many resort to the abundance of protein supplement powders on the market.  Some athletes try to eat their nutrients in whole foods limiting and/or avoiding supplements.

Listed here are some protein packed Vegetables and Fruits


Soy: 19g per cup.

Artichoke:  4.2g per cup, cooked.

Beans:  Black-eyed, kidney, lima, navy, and pinto- 14g per cup

Black beans- 15.2g per cup.

Broccoli- 4.6g per cup, cooked.

Cauliflower- 3g per cup

Corn- 5g per cup

Spinach- 6g drained (frozen/canned), or 5.3g cooked, per cup

Sweet potato- 5g per potato, don’t remove the skin- that drops it to 3g


Avocado:  4g  per cup

Banana:  3.89g

Coconut:  3.33g per cup

Concord grapes:  2g per cup

Going nutty trying to find protein?  Brazil nuts pack the most protein bang at 23.4g!  Walnuts 15.23g.

I hope these give you an idea for some other protein options.  Planning your meals ahead will help you to make sure you are getting the protein you need.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

Coach Kristie

*this post was originally published and can be found on the PRSFit Nation blog



Marathon Preparation Tips

A marathon is not only a physical feat, but a mental one. The best way to have a great race is not just to train, but to prepare.

  • Train within your ability. There are a numerous training plans available.  Find one that fits you.  Don’t be afraid to consult with a Coach.  No matter your ability, it never hurts to have a professional help you along the way.
  • Train at race time. Plan your long runs the same time and same day of the week as your race. Your body has a memory and will learn to run the distance at that time.
  • Experiment. Try energy gels, sports drinks, try it all. Get it down to a science and find out what works for you.  Train with what sports drink and energy gels will be provided at the aid stations on the race course. If while experimenting you find they do not work for you, plan a way to carry your own.
  • Train for the course. If it is a hilly course, don’t do all your training on flat surfaces. Even better if you can train on the actual race course.
  • 18 Mile training runs will drive you batty. Ask anyone. 17 miles, 19 miles, even 22 miles, no problem.  18 will drive you bonkers.  Just accept it, tackle it and run 18.1 if you have to.
  • Have a dress rehearsal. On a training run wear what you plan to wear in the race, fuel and hydrate like you plan to race day. If something isn’t right, you’ll have time to make changes before race day.
  • You will go crazy. There will be a time when your training tapers down that you will experience what has been called: Taper Madness, Taper Crazies, or Taper Tantrums.  Whatever you call it, all your nervous pent up energy will make you a little looney and edgy to say the least. Having a good friend to talk to will really help during this time.
  • Carb load does not equal a car load of food. While experimenting, you should have figured out your best meal for the night before a long run.  Eat what you know is tried and true the night before the race. You do not want to be searching for a porta potty on the race course like a heat seeking missile.
  • It’s code.  Call it superstition, or an unwritten rule, NEVER wear the race shirt in the race.
  • Relax. Race day you know what to do. You’ve trained, experimented, prepared. So relax and enjoy the marathon. When you’ve finished put on that race shirt, slap a 26.2 sticker on your car, and wear your medal with pride. You ARE a marathoner.


*This artical was originally published and can be seen in Health Your Way Online Magazine


Break a Sweat Without Breaking the Bank – Build a Home Gym

Having a gym membership can have major benefits.  A variety of equipment, group classes, and the ability to meet up with friends are all nice perks.  Then there is reality. Gym hours many not work with your schedule, expensive membership fees, location, weather, young children in the home, are all just a sampling of reasons why a gym may not be the best option.

You can go out and spend a fortune to set up a home gym.  You may even have the space in a dedicated room. But there are a few key pieces of exercise equipment/accessories that you can get to economically start your own home gym and not take up a lot of space.

You– That’s right, you.  Body weight exercises (push-ups, planks, for example) don’t require any equipment.

Resistance Bands– With or without handles these are an inexpensive accessory that you can use perform a variety of exercises.

Dumbbells– Start off by just getting a couple of weights. No need to get a full set, I guarantee you don’t use ALL weights.  Adjustable dumbbells that can adjust to different weights are compact in size, but can be expensive ($150-$500) unless you plan on using them a lot, spare the expense.

Yoga Mat– There is no need to go all out and get a designer version, you can get one easily for under $10.

Exercise/Stability Ball– Be prepared to replace it more often if you go with an inexpensive one.

Foam Roller– Every athlete or individual who exercises often needs to have one of these. Keep in mind, just as the exercise/stability ball, cheaper versions will wear out and need to be replaced more often.

BOSU– A little more expensive than a stability ball, a BOSU has a multitude of exercises and can also be used as a substitute in many exercises for an exercise/stability ball.

Trainer– Many people have a bike sitting around somewhere that may or not be used regularly.  An inexpensive trainer can turn that bike into an instant spin bike.

Keep in mind things you already have in your home can be used. Stairs, chairs, and coffee tables. Think outside of the box.  It’s always fun to get shiny new things but don’t forget to check yard sales, garage sales, eBay, discount websites, second hand stores, etc. you can always find exercise equipment and/or accessories at less than bargain prices.

People ask me often what I have in my home gym.  Here you go:  Treadmill, trainer, yoga mat, exercise/stability ball, BOSU, dumbbells (5lb, 10lb, 40lb), weighted jump rope, pull up bar, resistance bands, and a speed vest (weight vest).

We all can’t get to a gym. It’s about being able to do what you can, not what you cannot do. So look at your workouts and see what equipment you need to essentially complete those from home and start building your home gym.  Remember, you don’t have to break the bank, to break a sweat.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

Coach Kristie

You can also view this post on the PRSFit Nation Blog


The Importance of Building Base

When participating in sports in High School and College, one thing I remember for certain was the first practices of a season were all about conditioning, the building blocks of endurance.  Base.

After a strong base was built there was a shift to strength and drill. Form and technique drills, one after the other.  If there was a weakness you better believe that it was discovered, identified, drilled, drilled, and drilled some more.

Not until all the foundation and building blocks were put down, were practice (scrimmages) games/matches introduced.  As an athlete this was understood, and expected.

This process was followed in every sport, every season, with every athlete.  No matter if it was a new athlete or one returning to the team.  Base, strength, drills, and then practice games/matches.

Running and Triathlon are no different. With each training season, every athlete should allow themselves a base building period.  All too often there is an urgent need to go fast right away.  Time should be allowed to build a nice strong base.  Once a strong foundation (base) is laid, strength (intervals, tempo runs, etc.) can then be introduced.

It’s the building blocks that make an athlete stronger and faster.  An athlete has to be really good at going slow, before they can go fast.

Be Healthy, Train Smart, Have Fun

Coach Kristie

You can also find this post on the PRSFit Nation blog