Tag Archives: training

Gift Yourself a Sprint Distance Triathlon (GROUP LEARNING SESSIONS)

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the REX Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher with the Wake County Public School system.

REX Triathlon Raleigh

Eight years ago, I started my own triathlon journey, struggling because I knew nothing about preparing for the sport. Thanks to friends in the triathlon community, I eventually found my way and learned how to properly train. Since then, I have completed 3 Iron Distance Triathlons. It is now my goal to make sure Rex members do not follow the same arduous path I took.

There is a correct way to prepare and I can show you how. Read more…

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Conquering the Beach to Battleship Half-Iron Distance Triathlon

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system.

When October 17th rolled around, the Rex Garner B2B team was ready to tackle the fitness challenge of their lives and we could not have asked for better weather.  Temperatures were in the low 50’s at race start and winds were relatively low.  We already knew from Friday’s pre-race dinner that there would be a very strong tide which meant we were in for a fast swim and we were ecstatic about that.

While we waited for the swim start, butterflies and all, we were able to calm our nerves a bit by cheering for the full iron distance athletes as they swam by.  They always start 30 minutes before the 70.3 group and start a mile or so up channel from our starting point.  We could tell by watching the swimmers go by that the tide really was fast so we were anxious to get started.  Rex Members Liz Jackson and Jason Pannkuk were in that group so that added to our excitement.

102815_Rodney6Shortly after the 140.6 group went by, it was our turn.  Unlike the 140.6 group that had a mass start, the 70.3 group start would be in waves by gender and age.  Our first team member to go was Trey Jolly, and we all cheered at the top of our lungs for him.  Next was Mary Miller, Kristey Evans, Jenny Beazley, Theresa Pearce and me.  Last was Tina Manning, Lu White and Angie Caporiccio.  At the end of the day, I discovered that we all had the same swim experience.  There was certainly a strong tide but the water was extremely choppy and you really had to struggle to raise your head above the water to breathe above the waves.  We all managed to get through the swim, ran to T1 (swim to bicycle transition area) and were off on our 56 mile bike ride.

During our bike ride, we had low winds, which was extremely helpful.  That meant we were in for a fast bike ride and our legs would be in pretty good shape for the run.  I was fortunate to see Mary and Kristey on the bike course and caught glimpses of everyone else during the 13.1 mile run.  Seeing the team during the run was a huge relief because I was assured that everyone survived the bike course without a crash or flat tire.

102815_Rodney1One thing that I came to admire about this group of athletes was their undying commitment to their training.  There was absolutely no quitting in this group; even before the race started, I knew they were all destined to be 70.3 Iron Distance Athletes.  During the course of training, you always experience some doubt in your abilities, but at some point during our 22 weeks of training, they overcame those negative thoughts.

As I watched each of them cross the finish line, I met them with a hug and the words, “Welcome to the Club!”  When we were all done, we huddled together to share laughter, stories and tears.  What a wonderful moment in time that was for all of us.  They did it and I am so proud of each and every one of them.  What a privilege it was for me and Angie to share this journey with them.  Great job Team!  Great Job!


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Fitness Trackers: Which One Should I Choose?

AllyAlly Setliff coordinates and leads the group exercise and health promotion programs for Rex Wellness Center of Raleigh. Ally graduated from East Carolina University with a B.S. Health Fitness Specialist degree. She is also an registered clinical exercise physiologist through American College of Sports Medicine and has experience with cardiac and pulmonary rehab. She holds her primary group exercise certification through AFAA, and personal training certification through National Strength and Conditioning Association. She loves to share her passion for exercise and creativity in every class that she teaches. Her main goal is to make others enjoy exercise as much as she does. Ally enjoys every type of dance, sprint triathlons, running, road cycling, and barre is her newest passion.


Technology is a great way to keep us on track with exercise and healthy eating. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular activity trackers, mobile apps and websites that monitor your workouts and can help boost your motivation.

  • Fitbit: This is the most popular fitness tracker on the market. Fitbit offers different types of trackers that can be worn as either a pedometer, activity wristband, or even embedded into a high-fashioned bracelet. Depending on which device you purchase, you may be able to track steps, distance, calories burned, or sleep patterns. You can set daily goals, earn badges, and challenge friends. Newer Fitbit devices have GPS capabilities that track elevation, pace and heart rate. Some also have music capabilities. Be wary! A few trackers that attach to clothing may be easily forgotten and accidentally laundered. I’ve done it at least 5 times already. I recommend purchasing a wristband style instead. Other options in this style include the Jawbone© or Nike + FuelBand. These devices are very comparable to Fitbit, with similar aesthetics and capabilities.

Don’t want to spend the money on a device? There are several free apps or websites that also measure progress and keep you motivated.

  • MyFitnessPal: This is one of my favorite mobile apps. If you do not own a smart phone, you can track your information through their website at myfitnesspal.com. The app makes it super easy to track daily calories, water consumption, exercise and weight. There is also a social component that allows you to challenge and encourage friends. Progress is shown in easy to read charts. The app and use of this website are free. You need to take time to enter your food intake each day. Research shows that those taking the time to track their food intake are more successful in their weight loss/healthy eating journey than those who do not track their food. Be as accurate as you can about portion size when tracking your calories for each meal. You’ll be surprised how quickly calories add up! Other free apps that have similar capabilities as MyFitnessPal are Fitocracy, Challenges, Fleety, and Lose it!
  • RunKeeper: Training for a race? The best tracker I have found for racing is RunKeeper. Whether you are training for a 5k, sprint triathlon, or marathon, this app does a great job with goal setting and providing training plans. It has GPS capabilities to track distance traveled, pace, and speed for running outdoors. It also has capabilities to track indoor workouts on the treadmill. You can track other non-running activities that you do during the week such as Zumba, Barre, or strength training. The app also helps you motivate your friends. It alerts you when you have reached a personal record and it sends push notifications if you have gotten off track that week. Another personal recommendation: Be smart about free training plans provided for long distance races. If you are inexperienced in long-distance running, don’t forget your rest days! You don’t want to suffer an injury by pushing too hard, too fast. It is also important to include core and strength training in your weekly running plan. Other popular apps for race training are Mapmyrun, Nike + running, and PUMATRAC.
  • Heart rate monitors: Your heart rate can provide a more detailed measurement of exercise and can be monitored in several ways during your workout. How do you know if you are working hard enough during exercise? Exertion and heart rate are the main ways to measure how intense a workout it. Some may be familiar with the “talk test” and RPE scale as common ways to assess how hard you are working. You can always track heart rate by manually taking your carotid pulse, but there are several devices that will track heart rate for you. Polar Heart Rate Monitors come with a sports watch that shows current heart rate, max heart rate, and also summarizes your workout. Some devices go as far as telling you how many calories were burned during your workout. There is a free app that can measure your heart rate on smart phones now called Instant Heart Rate. With this, you just touch your finger to the camera lens on the smart phone to gauge pulse with real-time charts. How cool is that?

Bottom line? There are several different ways to track important info from your workout, and you don’t need to get top of the line equipment to do so. Finding something that gives you a way to measure progress is the biggest factor in staying motivated and seeing results.

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Wellness Wednesday: Safety Tips for Exercising in the Cold


The cold weather is here!

If you plan on exercising outdoors, keep yourself safe by following these simple tips:

  • Check the weather report before going out. Watch out for weather advisories and consider your safety in the event ice is present.
  • Wear layers of clothing and keep your head and hands covered.
  • Stay hydrated, even when in the cold. Hydration is necessary in order for your body to regulate temperature.
  • Check in with your body as you exercise. Don’t let those ‘endorphins’ numb your awareness. Perform a quick, mental, body scan every 10 minutes. That way you can pick up on signs of discomfort that could signal the beginnings of hypothermia before it becomes a problem.

Courtesy About.com

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Wellness Wednesday: Quick Workout

Be sure to visit the Rex Wellness Centers’ Facebook page every Wellness Wednesday for a post featuring recipes, tips, workouts and more from our wellness experts.

May every joy be yoursthis Holiday

Sometimes it’s hard to make time for your regular workout, especially during the holidays. That’s why we’ve put together a quick workout you can do anytime and anywhere.

 Quick Workout:

  • 1 minute: Walk, March, Jog or Climb steps
  • 1 minute: Squats
  • 1 minute: Push Ups (or Wall Push Ups)
  • 1 minute: Jumping Jacks (or Half Jack option)
  • 1 minute: Controlled Mountain Climber (or standing elbow to knee twist)

Repeat this sequence 2-3 times for a quick workout that will increase your energy.

Reduce rest in between each exercise for a more intense cardiovascular challenge.

*Gradually warm up and cool down as you perform this workout.

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Training for the 2014 Rex Sprint Triathlon in Garner

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system.

708014_tri3It is hard to believe, but the Rex Sprint Triathlon in Garner is just a few days away! This year I was given the privilege of preparing Kristey Evans and Keshia Best to participate in their first sprint triathlon.

Kristey has a full time job and children but thanks to a supportive husband (thanks Jason), has made time for training. Keshia works late hours so our meetings have for the most part been by cell phone and e-mail. Proof positive that carving out time to train can be done in spite of work and family obligations! Last year’s winner, Theresa Pearce, easily met her goal to complete the inaugural Rex Sprint Triathlon and continues to compete. I have no doubt that Kristey and Keshia will also be successful.

708014_tri2One of the best things about Rex Wellness of Garner is that we have a very active group of triathletes. As was the case last year, I recruited a number of Rex Triathletes to work with our trainees and all agreed to return, including Theresa who has excelled from trainee to trainer. Theresa and Shannon Thomsen, a seasoned cyclist, have spent valuable time getting Kristey comfortable with cycling in vehicular traffic which is always a challenge for both experienced and novice cyclist.

For people training for their first triathlon, It has been my experience that concerns vary from one triathlete to another. If you come from a swimming background, your greatest concern might be with the cycling or run. If you come from a running background, you may be worried about the cycling and swimming. Regardless of your background, there is always a concern about endurance.

708014_tri4So how do we overcome these challenges? We train. As a triathlete, you are not simply training to swim 250 yards, ride a bike 10 miles or run 2 miles. You are training to ride a bike 10 miles after swimming 250 yards and training to run 2 miles after swimming and cycling.

Thus, we must brick train. Brick training is a training session in which you train on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal to no interruption. Kristey and Keshia have been brick training for several weeks. On July 6, one week before the triathlon, we held a mock triathlon. Keshia could not attend but Kristey was able to participate. My wife Angie, Theresa, Keith Manning, Charlie and Carrie Frey all seasoned triathletes swam, cycled and ran the entire course with Kristey. She did great and in the minds of all of her trainers, she is ready.

On July 13, we will all be at Rex Wellness Center in Garner to cheer Kristey and Keshia on and I can’t wait!

From L to R: Charlie, Theresa, Carrie, Rodney, Kristey, Angie, and Keith.

From L to R: Charlie, Theresa, Carrie, Rodney, Kristey, Angie, and Keith.

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Rex Wellness Members Run the Tobacco Road Marathon

Post by Rodney Jenkins, a Group Exercise Instructor at the Rex Wellness Center of Garner. He is also a business teacher, a soccer coach and an athletic trainer with the Wake County Public School system.


The 5th annual Tobacco Road Marathon, held on March 15, was a milestone event for me and my wife Angie.  It was my 30th marathon and her 20th, and we were very excited.

Our friends, Frida Beltran and Rex Garner member Lu White were running their first full marathon, and Rex Garner Members Keith and Tina Manning were running their first half-marathon.  We all trained together except for Lu, but kept in touch with Lu by Facebook and chance meetings at the gym.  Angie and I were confident that they all would be successful, but they may not have felt the same way.

One thing that most (not all) first-timers have in common is a bit of self-doubt.  Running 26.2 or 13.1 miles in a daunting task that challenges you physically, but I have always felt that the mental challenges are even greater. You train for up to 32 weeks for a full marathon and 20 for a half.  That’s a long time commitment for working folks with families and other life commitments- and hopefully that’s all without sustaining an injury!

040714_tobaccoroadmarathon_3You have long runs, tempo runs, speed work, cross training and of course,  the sweet weekly day of rest.  In spite of all of that training, self-doubt can still linger.  I can’t tell you how many times a first-timer has asked me, “do you think I can do it?” Questions run through their mind such as,  “Am I training hard enough to go the distance?” “Am I getting enough sleep?” “Am I eating the right things?” “What should I eat and drink on race day?” “What should I wear on race day?” “What will the weather be like?” The list of questions that can run though your head during training is almost infinite.  On top of that, I’ll give you 10 to 1 odds that most do not sleep well the night before their first race.

But for runners, there is nothing like having family and friends cheer you on.  Thanks Theresa, Roger, Phyllis, Rebecca, Michelle, Don, Brian, Juliette, Mike, Mike, Mary, John, Amber and all the rest for being there.  If you have ever participated in any type of race, you know how much a smile and cheer can lift your spirits and give you a needed boost.

So how did these first-timers do?

They were AWESOME and are now members of the Marathon Club.  And there was an added bonus for all of them.  Frida’s husband and daughter ran the entire race with her, and her son-in-law ran the last 6 miles.  Husband and Wife team Tina and Keith ran their first together, and Lu’s husband, son, and daughter-in-law were waiting for her at the finish line in the pouring rain. It was a day that these first-time marathoners will never forget and neither will I.

In closing, if you are training to become a “first-timer,” believe in your training and believe in yourself, and you will be successful too.


Left to right: Lu White, Angie Caporiccio, Rodney Jenkins, Theresa Pierce, Keith Manning, Tina Manning, Frida Beltran, Jose Beltran. Front: Mayra Beltran and Roger Dos Santos.

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My First Sprint Triathlon: Part Three

Post by Theresa, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Theresa completed her first half-marathon about six months ago! Her next goal is to compete in Garner’s Inaugural Sprint Triathlon on July 14th, with the guidance of Rodney Jenkins, our “Garner Ironman”. Theresa is blogging about her experiences as a first-time triathlete-in-training to hopefully inspire others to try it! When she has time off from work and isn’t at Rex Wellness Center, Theresa likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends.

As of this post, I am about five weeks into the training program. Over the past five weeks, I’ve gotten to know my trainer Rodney better. Before this program I really didn’t know Rodney as much as I just knew of him. Rodney always responds if I have a question or concern and if I don’t see him for several days he will email or call and check up on me. I have also gotten to know his wife Angie and they are both great to work with!

Theresa on the indoor track at Rex Wellness of Garner

As expected, the intensity level has started to pick up a bit. The swims, bike rides, and runs are all getting longer. I am still working on my swimming technique but I know with more practice it will continue to improve. I feel like I am more relaxed and confident in the water than I have ever been. The more I get in the pool, the more I want to get back in and swim again another day. Rodney showed me how to push off and change lanes as well as other things to expect in the pool on the day of the event. Angie has helped me with things like what to wear on race day.

I’m about as new to cycling as I am to swimming so I’ve really got my work cut out for me, but I’m up for the challenge! There are a lot of avid cyclists at the wellness center and I have sought advice from many of them. I have been on a bike rides with some of my fellow members, Ron and Shannon. Shannon even rode his bike in the rain with me one Sunday! We have done a lot of hill work and I have been on some trailways for my shorter rides during the week. I believe Shannon was hand-picked by Rodney to wear me out on those hills and he does a good job!

I’ve had the opportunity to go on a few early morning runs with Rodney and Angie from their home since they live fairly close to me. I’ve never really been accustomed to running with other people (especially of their caliber) so the thought of it made me a little nervous at first. They made me feel comfortable and ran at my pace. I have a feeling if I were to run with them many more times my pace might just improve a little bit, and that would be a good thing!

This weekend Angie and I are running a 5K in Fuquay Varina. I’ve only done one 5k and it was over a year ago so it will be fun to do another in preparation for the triathlon. Hopefully in the next month I will be Tri ready!

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My First Sprint Triathlon: Part 1

Post by Theresa, a member of Rex Wellness Center of Garner. Theresa completed her first half-marathon about six months ago! Her next goal is to compete in Garner’s Inaugural Sprint Triathlon on July 14th, with the guidance of Rodney Jenkins, our “Garner Ironman”. Theresa is blogging about her experiences as a first-time triathlete-in-training to hopefully inspire others to try it! When she has time off from work and isn’t at Rex Wellness Center, Theresa likes to go to the beach and hang out with friends.

“Garner’s Ironman” Rodney Jenkins, Theresa’s trainer for the Rex Wellness Sprint Triathlon in Garner on July 14.

When I was asked to train with Rodney and blog about my experiences in training for my first triathlon, I have to admit I was a bit nervous. One of my fellow members, Lisa, encouraged me to do it, even though I had just recently learned proper swim technique (thanks to another fellow member, Jim).

Although I could swim, I wasn’t exactly what I would call proficient at it yet! Nervousness subsided and excitement took over. After all, who wouldn’t want to train under the guidance of an Ironman?

I met with Rodney last week and we went over the training calendar and he answered all the questions I had. He was confident that if I stick to the calendar I will be okay. Though I was intimidated at first, I look forward to working with Rodney and the others he’s recruited to help me along the way.

Week one of training went off without a hitch. The weather was cooler this week which made it nice to be outside, though that will soon change. That Sunday morning wind in a wide open neighborhood made for a little tougher bike ride! I’m looking forward to week two. I know there will be challenges along the way, be it weather, work, personal, or whatever — but I can’t worry about those things. That’s just life. I’m going to give it my all!!

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