Any veteran triathlete will agree: When it comes down to having a great race, it is all about how you feel on the run. Your run performance indicates how well you balanced your day, and takes special attention in training. Here are four ways you can train and race to make sure you finish your next triathlon while running happy
1. Focus on running efficiently
After a tough swim and high intensity bike ride, your running form is more likely to fall apart. Take at least one day each week to focus on efficient running form. This can be at the track or through strides at the end of a weekly tempo run. The idea is to deeply ingrain proper form into your muscle memory. Practicing this will make it easier to default to that form under the stress of the last stage of a triathlon.
2. Do the brick workout
The brick workout is a staple of triathlon training and refers to a two-part workout that includes a bike segment and a run segment joined in the same session. Whenever possible, every bike ride should finish with a run. This can be something as soothing as a gentle cool down jog after a grinding bike set, or using the bike to warmup for a tough run.
3. Eat and hydrate
It’s easy to overlook, but eat and hydrate enough throughout the race so you don’t start your run in a hole. A good run execution is the result of good planning earlier in the day. The best plan is to stick with what works in training, so choose products that go down easily and seem to provide steady, clean energy (without spikes and crashes or gastrointestinal distress). Pay attention to how long it takes for you to feel the effects of the nutrition. Time this so that you can to top off the tank with enough time to absorb before approaching the second transition (T2).
4. Pace your run
Sometimes we get so excited to be off of our bikes and out on the run course, paired with spectator energy through T2, that it can be easy to head out much too fast. Be careful to not make a mistake in the first mile that you will regret in the second. You can always pick up the pace if you head out too easy, but it’s not so much fun when your body decides that you’ve gone out too hard.
Running well in a triathlon is an art form of balance. Intensity should be increasing throughout the event and climaxing on the run course. The best expressions are by athletes with plenty of calculated experience and an honest evaluation of current circumstances. With the right run focus in training, you will be on track for a smiling face at the finish line.
About Ben Williams
Ben Williams is a first year pro triathlete with a running background. As a member of his high school and university cross country teams, running is the anchor in his triathlon endeavors.
Currently in Australia to prepare for upcoming races, Ben otherwise lives full time in Honolulu, Hawaii. You can follow Ben at www.benwilliams.me