You’ve had a great swim, you’ve nailed the bike and the race is going to plan. Then the wheels come off completely on the last phase of the race – the dreaded run. The good news is you’re not alone. Many triathletes set themselves up for a great race but then simply work their way through the run, hanging on and hoping for the best.
Now is your chance to correct that with our eight-week plan to boost run fitness and speed.
The training plan is for those working towards Olympic distance and is run-dominant, so you might need to make some sacrifices to your bike and swim volume, but these can create dividends in the run leg. If your race focus is on sprint, reduce the volume by about 30%, or if you’re going longer then increase by about 20-30%. To improve run form, fitness and speed in the last weeks, we’ve reduced rest days to one, inserting an easy run to up weekly run distance.
It may seem obvious but first and foremost is the need to include the long steady run each week, in order to make the distance comfortable. Once you have this and are confident about finishing the distance, you can begin to focus on improving your average steady run pace. The long steady run is also the best chance to include different run routes and I’d urge a mix of undulating, hilly and flat long runs. Also, a structured plan will include interval sessions to highlight working at faster than race-pace speed, a tempo session so you can work at paces faster and slower than race pace and finally some bike/run sessions to hit race pace on tired legs. Above all, you must focus on the sessions that make your run faster, so expect these workouts to create fatigue.
To keep you focused through the plan, you can execute two time trials – there’s nothing more nerve-racking on a triathlete’s plan than the letters TT but these will ensure you monitor how effective the training is. If you’re improving,
set new pace targets.
While we’re encouraging an increase in run volume, don’t forget most triathlete injuries are caused when run training, so include stretching and foam rolling in recovery. It’s not the most glamorous part of training but often the most crucial.