The run leg of a triathlon is the part that most people worry least about. Nightmares about getting through the swim or having the oldest bike in transition are commonplace - but everyone can run, right?
The beauty of running is that it’s so easy to train for. Being on holiday or working late shouldn’t prevent you from doing it - just pull on your trainers and get out of the door. No fuss. No worries.
Get the right footwear
Before you put on your runners, however, you first need to make sure they’re the best ones for you. This doesn’t mean the most expensive pair at your local sports shop; it’s better to go to a specialist running shop and let them make a recommendation. Pretty often, the shoe that works best for you will be half the price of its ‘fashionable’ equivalent.
Avoiding training injuries is the key to running well. Consistent training is much more worthwhile than doing loads of miles over two weeks followed by a month off with injury. Try to run three times a week for half an hour and build up your time from there. If that’s too much, don’t worry - start with 15 minutes, three times a week. Regular, shorter runs are better than one 60-minute weekly effort.
Try to run three times a week for half an hour and build up your time from there
Start off slowly. A run/walk training strategy is fine. By doing this, you can gradually increase the run sections and decrease the walking. Before you know it, you’ll be flying along the whole way.
Once you’re feeling strong and training is going well, add in some higher intensity efforts. Don’t focus on trying to beat the best time for a particular route, as you won’t warm up or cool down properly. It’s better to start slowly, easing into a session before going for short, intense bursts like 5 x 1 minutes, before a good cool down at the end. Over time, you can increase the length of these bursts.
Mix it up
Treadmill running at your local Virgin Active Health Club is perfect for avoiding stress to your joints; it’s less impactful than road running. Try and mix things up though. If all your running’s done on a treadmill, the tarmac and concrete will come as a shock to your legs on race day.
Bike to run
A more advanced type of training – and one specific to triathlons - is to do something called a brick session. This involves replicating the transition from your bike to run. For example, do a hard, 45-minute ride, then quickly pop your trainers on and hit the streets for a 25-minute run. Feeling the effect of some hard cycling in your legs when you start to run is worth experiencing, as it can take a bit of getting used to.
Brick sessions are also great to do in your club. After a hard Spin class, jump straight onto the treadmill for a 15-minute run. This is enough time to feel the ‘jelly-legs’ effect of the transitional phase.
Reap the rewards
If you can stay injury-free in training and manage to run consistently, nothing should stop you crossing the finish line with a smile that beams as much as the medal you’ll be earning. Happy training and good luck!
For full London Triathlon training plans, visit our training site.