“It has been 5 months since I started training with RTA. Since then I have lost 40 lbs, completed 4 triathlons including 3 sprints and an Olympic distance a few weeks ago…
If you told me that I would be able to do that 5 months ago, and not only finish, but finish strong, I would not have believed it. I have already signed up for my first half Ironman next June, 70.3 miles and I am not at all concerned about it. Elizabeth and Chris are amazing.”
– Brad H, SVP
“Chris and Elizabeth - I have been meaning to write y’all all week. Thank you so much. You were the smiling, familiar, and encouraging people I needed to see. Wow who would have thought miles 13-26 would be such a shit show zombie land. Seeing you guys and the "special" attention I got definitely helped out a ton. I can’t thank you enough and the camps proved like expected to be a big help when racing. I was out of the water in 56 minutes. My bike split was 5:50 almost negative splitting it. My zombie run was a 4:01. Not a bad finish at 10:56 for my first ever. Looking forward to more stronger performances in the future. Looking forward to seeing you in Maine. It is going to be a fun weekend. Thanks Again.” – Trevor S, Consultant
"Chris / Elizabeth - I just wanted to formally thank you for all the work you put in coaching me and my fellow charity team members, especially at some of the ungodly hours we met.
I felt like all the things you guys drilled into us about hydration/staying calm/ being prepared was amazing as all of that stuff was perfect yesterday... I was very happy with my swim, I didn't push it like crazy and I made it through the run dispite twisting my ankle in T2 (x-rays later revealed 2 small fractures).
All in all it was an incredible experience, vibe and moment in my life and I could never have done it without you guys... RTA rocks!" --Elli O, CEO
“I have to say the 3 sessions I took so far have been well worth it and my swimming has drastically improved since I first came to see you. I actually did 400 yards straight today and would have kept going if it were not for time constraint. You guys are running a great business thank you.” – Izzy, Police Officer
“Just wanted to let you know that we did the Wyckoff Tri yesterday! It was an amazing experience. It was so great to see Eileen and Susan there. My time was 2:29 and I enjoyed every second of it and finished strong coming across the finish line and with a smile!
Doing the open-water swim with you was definitely one of the best things that we did to help prepare. We passed the word around about your Club!” – Christeen I
"I just wanted to tell you how my first ride after the fitting went. Today I went 80 miles, the longest ride to date on that bike. I was much more comfortable both in and out of aero position. I probably spent over 60% of the time in aero position. I was also noticeably faster. I went through my ride history and found that I was over a mph faster today than I've been on any ride over 40 miles. It felt like a different bike.
My half hour transition run also went very well, I was happy with my pace and didn't feel fatigued.
I can't express how happy I am with the changes you made.
Thank you so much, this has a huge effect on my training." -Todd R, CFO
“Things I love about RTA: every workout was geared to get me to the finish line. Nothing was wasted! The support, knowledge and strength of coaches Elizabeth and Chris - that when I doubted myself they were there to help me run through the pain, get over the fear and conquer the unknown (literally). The camaraderie of the RTA athletes - so that you're never alone at a starting line and always with friends; but most of all it's the pure love of what they do and their desire to see all of us succeed. Thank you Elizabeth and Chris!” -- Susan M, Health Coordinator
"Finally got on the bike for a 20 mile ride today. What a difference. I easily picked up 1 MPH with same perceived effort. Thanks for helping me get aligned." - Dave S, Sales
“I would describe the race as smooth from start to finish without red zoning it at all. I knew I was on a special day when I passed some of the usual suspects who typically leave me in the dust. … I was proud to wear the RTA Tri top and show it off near the front end of the pack and at the awards ceremony.” – Steve Katz, Attorney
“I appreciate your knowledge, your enthusiasm and your friendship. Thank you for helping me achieve what I have already and for helping me know what to do next. All that's left is the doing. I am so in.” – John J, COO
"Nothing would have been possible without the help of my coaches Elizabeth Wittmaack and Chris Kaplanis with Ridgewood Triathlete. Their guidance, support and friendship have enabled me to do things I couldn't do on my own. If anyone is thinking of getting a coach - do it. It was the smartest thing I ever did. Look up Elizabeth and Chris on the web or on FB and give them a shout, you won't regret it.” – Kass, Nuclear Engineer
“The bottom line is that I could not have done it without the guidance, support and inspiration I have gotten from Elizabeth and Chris. Their knowledge in training and race nutrition is invaluable.” – Chris P, Executive VP
“I cannot overemphasize how valuable having a good coach has been for me. My results improved in quantum leaps once I was given a structured training plan with the guidance of experienced coaches.” – Jay M, Police Officer
“It was surreal coming down to the finish line knowing that everything I had put into the last 11 months of training had paid off. I crossed the finish line, I finished and the photo shows I was smiling, even though I was not sure at that time.” … “This past year has been an amazing journey with my RTA team mates and coaches.” – Kim K, Teacher
"The personalized attention and customized plans they put together for me exceeded my expectations. It took the guesswork out of training and they were always available to answer my questions and explain anything I needed clarification on." - CK, GE Capital
"A coach is the one thing I will never give up in terms of triathlon. You can take my sneakers and I'll run barefoot, take my Specialized and I will ride my Trek road bike but do not take my Coach. They are my counselors, motivators, inspiration and all around wellness gurus for me. I can say this with confidence." - JB, Honu Way To Live
"With Elizabeth & Chris's knowledge and experience of the sport coupled with their energetic and positive attitude, I was able to accomplish everything and MORE than I originally thought possible." - MG, J&J Worldwide
“Frankly, while we work hard and I get that "kick in the ass when I need it", they make it a lot of fun. For me, they are a great fit.” – RD, Accountant
"With such a busy schedule, I had no idea how I was going to train for my first triathlon. With my trust in the hands of Elizabeth & Chris, I was able to successfully balance work, family, and training. I was able to accomplish all this AND beat my race goal. I was extremely pleased with their coaching and would recommend her to ANYONE!" - SP, Physician
"When I train with Elizabeth & Chris...I get to that point where I think I've had enough. THEN they motivate me to find that little bit more! They are SO knowledgeable and practical with my training." – Steve A, Private Estate Mgmt
"Ridgewood Tri Athlete has been such a blessing. I never ever thought I would be able to run a half marathon! I beat my goal by over 30 minutes! With the help of the Race Day Sherpa service, Elizabeth & Chris ran with me the whole time. They told me when I was going too hard and guided me on when to take in salt and calories! It was a day never to forget." – Terry W, Man Around The House (as seen on DIY “Brother’s On Call”)
"Elizabeth's passion and love for the sport is so inspiring. For coaching, she applies an extremely successful personal experience that comes from years of training and racing. I know that training with her gives one the motivation to push harder and improve their performance. I know this because she has helped me become a better triathlete."
- CL, Morgan Stanley
“From basic bike handling skills to great race tips before my first half Ironman, Elizabeth & Chris really encouraged me and gave me the power to access the Ironman within myself!"
- AC, Designer
“I was hoping to finish the swim in under 35 minutes …I came out of the river in about 31, which I was very happy with …. There is absolutely no way I could have done any of this without the support and help of my coaches Elizabeth and Chris and without Bev (wife). Their guidance and support have been invaluable.” - SK, Professor
"I feel like I have made a lot of progress in my swimming in just the few weeks that I have been working with you and Elizabeth. The video really drives home the point that I need to relax and slow things down and focus...
“Wow! I just watched the video from our first session and compared to today's video and the difference is night and day." – Julie C, Chief Risk Officer
“I joined RTA having signed up for my first Ironman. I was looking to put all of my chips into this race and without them I could not have done this. The fact that all I have to think about is working out makes life a lot easier. They enable the training to fit into life. We work hard and we play hard! RTA is the way to go!” - Koral, Physical Education teacher (former collegiate runner)
To whom it may concern:
Last May I had decided that I needed to make a major lifestyle change. I had fallen out of shape, gained excessive weight and had lost all motivation for having a healthy lifestyle. I finally decided I needed a change and came up the crazy idea of giving triathlons a try. Keep in mind at this point I couldn’t swim the length of a pool, and hadn’t been on a bike since I was 14.
After about 2 weeks of trying to train on my own, I stumbled upon RTA on the web after searching the words “triathlon, help and Ridgewood” the three words I felt best described what I was searching for. I immediately clicked the “contact us button”.
Chris and Elizabeth met with me the next day and I was blown away. It has been 5 months since I started training with RTA. Since then I have lost 40 lbs, completed 4 triathlons including 3 sprints and an Olympic distance a few weeks ago. For those of you new to triathlon, that is a 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike and a 10k run.
If you told me that I would be able to do that 5 months ago, and not only finish but finish strong, I would not have believed it. I have already signed up for my first half Ironman next June, 70.3 miles and I am not at all concerned about it. Elizabeth and Chris are amazing. They are not only coaches but great friends. They are always available and are true professionals in their approach.
If you are thinking about doing a triathlon, you would be doing yourself a disservice but not joining RTA and the coaching it provides. The amount of attention to detail, scheduling and training plans are geared towards any level. They make triathlon fun and challenging at the same time, and their true love for the sport is inspiring.
Brad H – Equity Trader, SVP
Chris / Elizabeth,
I just wanted to formally thank you for all the work you put in coaching me and my fellow charity team members, especially at some of the ungodly hours we met.
I felt like all the things you guys drilled into us about hydration/staying calm/ being prepared was amazing as all of that stuff was perfect yesterday...
I was very happy with my swim, I didn't push it like crazy and I made it through the run dispite twisting my ankle in T2 (x-rays later revealed 2 small fractures).
All in all it was an incredible experience, vibe and moment in my life and I could never have done it without you guys... RTA rocks...
To whom it may concern:
Last November I decided that I wanted to start doing triathlons. At the time, I had never swam, other than recreationally in my pool nor ran further than a mile. So, I decided to hire a coach. I met with Chris & Elizabeth mid November and started my training regimen on December 1st. They started me really slow as to build my aerobic base. At first, I could not run more than a mile or swim greater than 50yds without huffing and puffing. By February, I swam my first mile. In May, I competed in my first Olympic distance Tri; my second in June; a half marathon a week later; and a 70.3 Ironman in August.
With respect to the training regimen, RTA will email your workouts to you, via email, each morning. The workouts will start off easy and will gradually become longer and more intense. There will be times when you workout will entail a “brick”. Before the race, they will reduce your workouts to allow you to taper.
The bottom line is that I could not have done it without the guidance, support and inspiration I have gotten from Elizabeth and Chris. Their knowledge in training and race nutrition is invaluable. I don’t know how long that you have been competing or if this is your rookie season. Whichever the case may be, I highly recommend RTA.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or drop me an email.
Executive VP, Century 21 Construction
To whom it may concern:
I cannot overemphasize how valuable having a good coach has been for me. My results improved in quantum leaps once I was given a structured training plan with the guidance of experienced coaches. Also, especially for the swim, having somebody there to evaluate your technique and teach how to improve it was incredibly helpful.
I have also found it to be incredibly important to have an objective voice that you can trust. This helps keeps you on track and allows for the right balance of encouragement to push you when you need pushing and reasonableness when you are pushing too much and overtraining. I have found that Liz and Chris, as active triathletes themselves, really understand the psyche of triathletes and do a great job of teaching, listening to their athletes and making the experience rewarding and fun. I have worked with other coaches in the past who were generally inflexible in their “go hard at all costs” approach and that simply did not work, leading to overtraining, injury and burnout.
As for the team aspect of RTA, it is great to have fellow teammates for camaraderie and support.
Balancing training around life is tricky, but it can be done. I am a corporate attorney at a law firm and I have 2 kids, so I completely understand the time pressures around life and Ironman training. The thing is that you set your schedule based upon your life commitments and realistically how many hours you can put into training. Liz and Chris will work with you based upon your schedule. In other words, how much you have to commit to the club and training is entirely up to you. There is no pressure to do more than you are willing to do.
I have found that I have a really good chemistry with RTA and their approach to coaching, racing and training. I look forward to talking with Liz and Chris and my coached sessions with them. Frankly, while we work hard and I get that "kick in the ass when I need it", they make it a lot of fun. For me, they are a great fit.
I hope this is helpful. If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me.
I’m 44 years old. Before I began my tri career, before I started working with Elizabeth, there is no other way to say it: I had never, ever, in my life been an athlete. I wasn’t a weekend warrior. I never made Little League. I would get sore after a Sunday of not-to-intensive gardening.
In January of 2010 my wife and I signed up for a sprint tri to be held in May of 2010. We began training right away. We prepared for that race on our own using books, the web, magazines and all the other resources that we could get our hands on. We finished four races with smiles on our faces in 2010. Mission accomplished.
At the end of the 2010 season I knew two things: I was hooked and I wanted to get better – a lot better. I could get through the water but I wanted to be a swimmer. I could ride the bike but I wanted to be a cyclist. I could jog but I wanted to be a runner. I hired a swim coach for a few sessions, but that was just the swim. My LBS of course had group rides, but there was something missing. I needed a coach that would help me improve everything. Enter Elizabeth.
Beginning in October of 2010 Elizabeth began working with me. Her initial approach was methodical. She watched me perform each sport. She established baselines for my fitness level and then built the plan to get me to the finish line of my “A Race” in 2011. Early on we focused on mechanics and overall fitness. We spent time performing the sports using the proper techniques, establishing good habits, knowing that with that base we could build speed and endurance. She has worked with me to build on that base of skills the necessary endurance, and increasingly speed, that will help me achieve my goals this year. As I write this we are working toward peak volumes and speed work in preparation for the race that the countdown timer on my computer tells me is 40 days away. I’ve been promised a taper in advance of the race – time will tell (kidding!).
Having trained on my own and having been actively coached I can tell you the special skills that Elizabeth brings to the people she trains:
Knowledge – Above all Elizabeth is smart about how she coaches her athletes. She studies the sports techniques, nutrition, and training approaches and uses that knowledge to create a unique training program suited just to that athlete.
Experience – Nothing beats “been there, done that” and this really comes through in how she coaches. She’s able to relate to the “can’t do it” feelings athletes get, and can talk about how she dealt with those situations. There’s nothing that her athletes will run into that she hasn’t tackled a half dozen times.
Professionalism – Elizabeth’s level of professionalism comes through in all the interactions that she has with her athletes. She knows this is her business and that she is always being observed by her athletes. She’s a first rate ambassador for the multi-sport world.
Mental Toughness – You can’t be an accomplished triathlete without mental toughness but the one thing that I’m grateful for is that it’s contagious. The more time I spend with her, the tougher I get. About a month and a half ago she showed me that the biggest obstacle left to me achieving what I wanted to achieve this year was my in my head. My body has been well trained. Realizing this got me on the path to having my mind just as well trained.
Passion – I’m going to guess that there were a lot of coached athletes at the Lake Placid Half Marathon this past June. I’m also going to guess that there was only one athlete whose coach started running beside him as he ran onto the oval shouting (screaming really) “Remember Eric Heiden! Now RUN that oval!” She shows that fire to her athletes at exactly the right time (as was the case in Lake Placid) and passion, too, is quite contagious.
I talk to Elizabeth about adding to “The List of Firsts” all milestones that she has helped me achieve: a 1 mile pool swim, 1.2 mile open water swim, 2.4 mile open water swim, a 1:50 100 in the pool, a 7 mile run, an 8 mile run, a 9 mile run, a 10 mile run, a 60 mile bike loop, a 45 mph descent, an Olympic distance triathlon and a half marathon. Along the way I have logged my fastest race paces in each sport and in the only race I’ve done twice, took 20% off my race time year-over-year.
Elizabeth is also helping two other members of my family achieve some firsts: my daughters Kate (12) and Carolyn (10). They each chose to participate in mini-sprints this season and their A Races are fast approaching as well. The enthusiasm that Elizabeth brings and the really special training programs that she’s arranged for the girls speaks to how multi-sport can grow through high school and college programs if training is approached creatively in age appropriate ways.
I will arrive at the start of the Timberman 70.3 an athlete. Watching film of my first race and seeing me in New Hampshire you will not recognize a single swim stroke, pedal rotation or foot fall from that first race because it’s not the same. I’m better – a lot better. USAT doesn’t need coaches that are better at training athletes than Elizabeth. USAT would be doing very well to have more coaches that train athletes exactly the way she does.
All the best,
Owner, Agile Technologies
Harryman Olympic - 5/19/12
Damn, you guys have spies everywhere. Now that your Navy Seal trained, CIA intellegence agents have outed me and spoiled my surprise for you, here is a link to results for the Harryman Olympic Tri this past Saturday. http://www.compuscore.com/cs2012/may/harryoly.htm#overall
A NEW MAN
When my mother passed away in January 2010, it marked the end of life as I knew it. Apart from my wife, my Mom was my last living relative. In the previous three years, my father also passed away and the company I worked for collapsed in the wake of Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy. When I had mentioned all this to a friend, he said, “Dude, you should be in therapy.” Instead of therapy or prescriptions, I turned to triathlon. I had competed in a short distance triathlon shortly before my Mom became ill, but I wanted to try something more challenging and also wanted to lose the weight I put on while my Mom was sick. I have been active most of my life, but was never an endurance athlete. I knew that I would need some help if I wanted to complete the Half-Ironman triathlon that I wanted to train for.
12th overall and 2nd M45-49. By my count I also had the 4th fastest bike split and I can assure you, I was not going all out. In fact I would describe the race as smooth from start to finish without red zoning it at all. I knew I was on a special day when I passed some of the usual suspects who typically leave me in the dust.
was proud to wear the RTA Tri top and show it off near the front end of the pack and at the awards ceremony.
I was going to surprise you with a picture of me at awards in my tri top, but my diabolical plan was foiled by your secret agent. ;-).
But seriously, thanks for your help so far this season. I feel great and the performances have been there on race day consistently. Plus, I am having more fun doing it than I have had in a long time.
Enter Elizabeth Wittmaack Kaplanis, Chris Kaplanis and Ridgewood Triathlete LLC. Elizabeth and her husband Chris are both USAT certified coaches and between the two of them, have completed over 40 Ironman and Half-Ironman triathlons and have both competed in in the World Championships in both the Ironman and Half-Ironman distances. Both Elizabeth and Chris started their unique coaching business in Northern New Jersey by developing customized training plans that are tailored to the unique needs of their athletes. Perhaps the most shocking of all is their intense personal involvement with those that they coach. I vividly remember the first morning I started my training plan. I was expecting Elizabeth to show up with a whistle and a clipboard and a list of painful things for me to do. She had the list of painful things, but she did them with me. Elizabeth and Chris taught me how to run, bike, swim and how to strengthen my core, nearly from scratch and were right beside me, every step of the way. Their approach was so personal, that I didn’t realize they had other clients – until we all met at their apartment in Lake Placid for a 4-day intensive training camp. Several times each year they host a training camp that involves 6-8 hours of training each day, in which “the only easy day was yesterday.” The amazing part about all of this was that most of the others that Elizabeth and Chris coach are people not too different from me.
One of the unintended consequences of my experiences with Elizabeth and Chris is the extraordinary sense of community that has developed. I think the illusion is that triathlon is an individual sport. And while the competition itself is certainly an individual effort, the day-to-day is not. Elizabeth and Chris have not only created a business, they have created a wonderful community of ordinary people who have embraced triathlon as way to sustain a healthy lifestyle. I knew my life would never be the same after my Mom died – and I was right. Today, my life is almost unrecognizable from what it was a couple of years ago. And while I miss my parents terribly, my wife and I have transformed our own lives and discovered new friends and family – thanks to Elizabeth and Chris Kaplanis and Ridgewood Triathlete. Oh – and I finished that Half-Ironman triathlon with a smile on my face!
-Steve Kass, Professor
Rev3 Knoxville - 5/6
Nothing makes me appreciate all the help you both have given me like a race. It's the date on the calendar that motivates me. It's the proof that I am getting better every week and every month. It's a chance to demonstrate to myself that I have really become an athlete. I had some goals for the race yesterday -- I met some and didn't meet others. I wanted to swim harder than I ever had in the downstream leg. I did that. I wanted to get on the bike, and hammer the bike for 25 miles. Check. I wanted to keep it together on the run to make 12:30 miles. Uhhhh, not so much.
But in my mind yesterday was about something else entirely. Yesterday was another first. Before the gun went off I had a plan of how I was going to attack this race. I was not thinking of a plan to finish the race, I was thinking of a plan to attack the race. I was going to take a calculated risk based on training and experience: I was willing to bet that my legs could recover enough on the ride back into town to be somewhat useful on the run. It might not have worked out as I had hoped but the fact that I had the confidence in my abilities to be out on that course working as hard as I possibly could before the last few miles is a first. I never had the confidence to do that and now I do. I'll need to be better at the "calculation" part of risk taking (grin), but it was liberating to be going all out, ALL OUT, early in the race. That just doesn't happen without the confidence that is so integral to how you both train athletes.
In the time since the race yesterday, with your help, I know what I need to do to continue to improve and achieve more goals. I have no shortage of challenges in front of me. But I know that we have a great plan for the rest of the season and if any team can get me across the finish line in LP next July it's the two of you. I appreciate your knowledge, your enthusiasm and your friendship. Thank you for helping me achieve what I have already and for helping me know what to do next. All that's left is the doing. I am so in.
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