TriDot Check-In: Ken Bramble

KEN BRAMBLE is President and COO of Booher Consultants, LLC, a global training firm specializing in all forms of corporate communications. He earned a Bachelor of Science in business marketing from Kansas State University and serves on the boards of the Church at Coffee Creek and Habitat for Humanity International. Married to Michele for 21 years, they have two boys, Logan and Blake.

When did you begin competing in triathlons?

I began triathlon in 1999. Prior to that, I was a runner and mountain biker. I was even a lifeguard for a time. A friend of mine invited me to a duathlon, I loved it, and things went from there!

How many triathlons have you competed in and what distances were they?

I have completed about 50 triathlons, from sprints to half Ironmans. I’ve completed 10 half Ironmans and completed my first full Ironman last November in Florida. The distance I love the most is the half Ironman, and my favorite course is the Redman 70.3 in Oklahoma City.

What first attracted you to triathlons?

I had never put anything like that together, so the idea of the accomplishment of completing all three sports and the training required for all three attracted me the most. 

What has kept you competing?

I’m involved in Tri4Him www.tri4Him.com, and being part of that ministry is something I feel called to do. When I’m training and competing, I feel better. I’ve gone through times – we all have – where we stop training for a while because things happen or life calls. I need this type of outlet and the sense of accomplishment that goes with it on a day-to-day basis. It just makes me feel better. Plus, I really enjoy the preparation for race day. I probably enjoy the prep even more than the actual race day itself! It’s all about that sense of accomplishment.

What role has TriDot played in your Triathlon journey?

TriDot has given me focus. The way I view it, I get up every morning and simply take my daily TriDot “medicine.” It keeps me focused, tells me what to do, and gives me a plan. Come race day, I know I’m ready.

How did TriDot change your triathlon training?

It’s improved my overall performance expectations, helped me better stay within my limits, and shown me the importance of having a plan on race day. Everything is so dialed in with your training – you’re hitting specific paces, putting out the right power on the bike, etc. You don’t just go into race day saying, “I’m going to hit it as hard as I can.” You go into it with a plan. You pace yourself. And that’s incredibly important going into a longer race. You can fudge it at a sprint a bit, but in the half distance, you can push too hard too early and ruin the rest of your day.

What brings you the greatest sense of satisfaction in triathlon?

For me, it’s during some of the longer training sessions. Whether it’s a long run or long bike session, I get a good feeling of accomplishment. Yes, there is the accomplishment on race day, but I also get a great sense of accomplishment from completing the training sessions, especially the longer ones.

What is the aspect about TriDot that you value most?

It’s solid direction. I don’t ever question my plan or change my plan. I go with what’s prescribed for me. I know some people add minutes because they feel perhaps they’re not being pushed enough on a given day, but I stick very closely to the structure I’m given – and the results have proven that to be an effective strategy.

How do you mentally handle pain during a race?

As I said earlier, I’m involved in Tri4Him so I first address it through prayer. I try to go there first, when I’m in a race and hurting and need focus. I’ve raced for 17 years, and I still look for different ways to handle pain.

We recently did a half Ironman in the heat. A buddy of mine who is really fast actually stopped during the run and visited with some people, drank some water, and then finished really well! Fifteen years and I’ve never considered that kind of strategy. Stopping for 2 or 3 minutes never crossed my mind, but it may put you in a better place.

How do you approach transitions?

There have been several races (shorter distances) that I have won because I was more efficient and quick in the transitions – even against guys who were faster than me in the other three disciplines. Training for and practicing transitions is actually an important factor.

How has competing in triathlon influenced your life?

I have two sons, 16 and 13. They have seen the commitment and diligence I have in my training, and that’s been good. I talk to them about my training, but I’ve never tried to turn it into “life lessons” or force anything on them. Now, they’re both on a path of cross country and track which they’ve taken up on their own. They made their own decisions. They care about their training and want to get better. That’s probably one of the biggest carryovers for me: the example I’m setting for my kids.

What’s your most humorous or memorable triathlon story or experience?

There is a group of five or six of us that race together. Of our group, I’m the strongest swimmer. In one race the course was to swim out, across, and back. One of the guys we always race against found this sandbar none of us knew about. I’m swimming and take a quick glance next to me only to see the guy running past me! We’ve always given him a hard time about it, but he always says, “Nothing in the rules said I couldn’t use a sandbar!” I think it was the only time someone in our group beat me in the swim. I’m thinking it was still cheating!

Who or what has inspired you the most in your triathlon journey?

My friend (and TriDot Founder) Jeff Booher. His knowledge of the sport and his interest in getting better and making TriDot what it is has been the biggest factor for me. I’ve been using training plans from TriDot since its beginning. I depend on it for my training, to provide a race plan, and to deliver a structured course of action to follow. I’m a cut-and-dried kind of guy. Give me a plan. I’ll get there. And I thank Jeff for giving me that path.

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