Triathlon running is an entirely different beast to single-sport efforts. Joe Beer shows you how to prepare for multisport on two feet…
Running is the final leg of a triathlon (and duathlon’s start and end, of course). Get it right and you can reel in your contemporaries; get it wrong and all of your good work on the swim and bike will be undone, leaving you dejected come your post-race analysis.
So how do you get the results you’re after? Simple: consistency, targeted training and attention to detail. But while running is the most basic of the three disciplines – and the most efficient to do when time is short – there are several areas your training must focus on to maximise each and every stride…
Running requires little gear, but like new tyres or brake pads, run shoes do require updating. If shoes wear too much, they progressively force the muscles to accentuate what was your normal running motion, leading to overuse injuries and a spell on the sidelines.
You can tell when your shoes need replacing by checking the outsole. Does it look worn? Or when you run, does the cushioning feel flat? If yes to either, it’s time to head to a run/tri store and get a new pair. Research suggests life expectancy of run shoes is about 300km, so keep a diary to monitor run volume and rubber wear.
When you attend the run/tri shop, the expert will watch your run biomechanics either via video analysis or by naked eye to ascertain the correct shoe for you. And don’t go in thinking it’s all about expense and cushioning. We’re all different and you should be prescribed the pair for your running gait, training hours and race distance.
With running it’s very easy to fall into a rather dull routine, covering the same routes and distance thrice weekly. If that stereotype is you, banish those bland thoughts and runs from your mind right now.
Triathlon running needs to be more specific, with less volume than a typical pure runner and with far more emphasis on cross training. This means sessions like bricks and post-swim aqua jogging should become a staple part of your new programme. This is three sports, after all. Train your body to be a triathlete, not a swim, bike, runner.
You should run two to four times each week. (Before you runners-come-triathletes panic that this isn’t enough, remember that your aerobic system will benefit from the swim and bike sessions.)
This amount of running will boost performance while reducing the chances of run injuries caused by too many miles. Going above 40 miles per week severely elevates the risk factor, so stay beneath this number and common pains like those around the knee area should stay away.