In the final in our series of blog articles with 50 of the best triathlon tips we are dedicating this weeks blog to help you on the running leg. Check out Part One of our Triathlon Training Tips where we cover swim training tips here and check our Parts Two & Three of our Triathlon Training. Enclosed are our Triathlon Training Tips Part Four.
Listen to your heart when training
36 – A heart rate monitor is something we have recommended previously for the bike and in the run it is no different. By monitoring your heart rate while on the run you have a method to understand which training zone you are in. The key here is not to leave yourself running in Zone 2 for your whole run where you are not pushing yourself enough. Equally a full run in zone 5 will be pushing your body to breaking point and at risk of injury. Monitor your stride length
Monitor your stride length when running
37 – If you use a watch such as the Garmin Forerunner 945XT (our current favourite multisport watch) then you can track your stride length. This is valuable as it helps you understand how much you are “striding” out. If you consider your expended effort rate it will not vary dramatically with stride length. So if you can put an extra 5cm on every stride you are taking less strides per run. Your effort to deliver this will be unchanged but you will be covering more ground faster. It may feel funny. Which may translate into some discomfort but you can train your body to adapt to this. Muscle memory can be achieved in under 4 weeks. We aren’t advocating you stretch out with 2 metre stride lengths unnaturally but find an extended comfortable stride.
Keep Variety in your running routes
38 – Few triathlon races have the same course so the same should be for your training. If you run every session over the same course your body will become comfortable in that distance and course. When you come to race and the elevation or surface changes it can throw your run. Keep variety in your course to develop strength and increase your race day performance. I recently raced in the Croyde Ocean Triathlon where the terrain is varied from sand to gravel and some serious climbs and descents. My training hadn’t matched this and I suffered.
Work on negative split runs
39 – If you can work to drive a faster finish than start to your run. A negative split means you run the second half of the run quicker than the first half. This might mean deliberately running the first half slower to achieve it but ultimately it will help you build distance and speed into your overall run.
Don’t make every run a flat out pace
40 – Running every training run like it was your last ever race can mean that you push your body too hard. It can also mean that you become demotivated as you perpetually seek to go faster in each and every session. Include slower paced, longer distance runs into your running where you have less focus on the pace.
Run with your arms
41 – Running isn’t all about the legs. When you run the motion of your arms also affects the pace and effectiveness of your running. The cadence of your legs is heavily affected by the pace of your arms. The same is true in reverse for swimming. The natural flow of your body means to run efficiently and quickly consider your arm swing and motion. Keep the arms moving and tune into the pace of your swing. Quicker arms, quicker legs. This is key to part of your running form.
Vary the time you run at
42 – If you are a morning runner who likes to run before breakfast try a lunchtime run. Likewise any regular running timeslot mix it up and run at a different time. If you body becomes too adjusted to a specific running at any different time can impact your performance. Keep shocking your body and surprising it with when and where you run.
Focus on Breathing while running
43 – It may sound daft but remembering to breathe while running is key. This is about finding your breathing pattern that works for you. The concept is the same with swimming although in swimming more obvious as you are underwater. While running it is also essential to understand if you perform better breathing through your mouth or your nose. Inhale and exhale using different techniques. Try different approaches until you find what works for you. Most important is that the technique that works for you does not leave you gasping for breathe. You should be relaxed and breathing easy.
Use the right technology to support your triathlon training
44 – There is a wealth of running apps from Strava, Nike Run Club, Garmin Connect, etc. All of these have their own merits but they offer similar technology that allows you to track your run performance. Tracking your running means you can monitor distances and pace to determine how your running changes. It is also useful to monitor if you are running too much or not enough. Running too much can also be a problem leading to injury if not introduced gradually. My preference is to run with the Nike Run Club app that gives an average run update through my headphones while running. I also capture my running in Garmin as a single place for all my triathlon training which can work alongside Nike Run Club.
If you need more information on Strava then check out our previous blog article with everything you need to know about Strava.
Listen to a Podcast or Audio Book while running
45 – Your run can be a back to nature experience but it isn’t always this way. If running around towns and cities it can be less relaxing than a beautiful riverside trail. If running along roads or paths you can find it monotonous and this can result in demotivation. You can use your run time to benefit your mind as well as your body with a Podcast or Audio Book. This can give you added motivation to run as you want to get out there and hear more. If you are looking for a good book suggestion we loved “I’m here to Win” by Chris McCormack. Great storytelling. We did a 100 page book review if you want a bite sized version of this.
Find someone to run with
46 – Running with someone else or in a group is a huge motivator. It motivates you out the door as you don’t want to let others down and it drives your performance. Running alone can be all too easy to give yourself an easy run. Others will push you harder than running alone. It also helps break up the monotony of running at times as you enjoy the banter and company of others on your run. If you are part of a triathlon club (use our list of UK triathlon clubs if you are looking) then you have access to free coaching. A 121 coach can be expensive but triathlon club running sessions give you access to qualified coaches for less than the price of a sandwich.
Find a local Sports Physio
47 – Running is tough on your body. Especially if you are heading North of 50 miles a month worth of running. If you want to maintain this then looking after your body will be increasingly important. A sports physio can help to break down damaged muscle tissue with deep tissue massage and flexibility exercises. This is not a one and done solution and something worth maintaining while your running load is high. This coupled with stretching properly will help ensure you look after your body and avoid injury.
Have a Gait Analysis of your running style
48 – We all run differently and displace our weight on our feet in different ways. So why should one style of running shoe be right for all of us? My tread pattern has changed over time as a result of cycling more clipped into my pedals. This has shifted by running gait from pro-nated to neutral. How does a Gait Analysis work? Effectively good running shops has equipment to video and replay your run while on a treadmill. You run for a few minutes on a treadmill and a video focuses purely on your feet and lower legs. This analysis then is used in slow motion to determine how you place your feet. Heel-toe. Outside. Inside. This information allows the shop to figure out the perfect shoe type for you. If you roll your foot and place weight on one side you may have pro-nation (as I did) which means you need extra support. Even placement of the foot means you don’t need this and need a neutral running shoe. All hugely important to ensure you enjoy your run and remain injury free.
Monitor your mileage from running
49 – This isn’t just important for bragging on social media but for monitoring the life of your running shoes. Running shoes should be replaced around every 500 miles. 600 miles if you are not so fussy but certainly more frequently than a 1000 miles. This is the same as tyres on your bike. You wouldn’t expect them to perform when worn. The same is true of running shoes. In terms of support if you run with a cushioned shoe this is especially important as over time that cushioning degrades. If you are a bare foot runner (hard core) obviously you can ignore this but for the rest of us I recommend you replace your running shoes every 500 miles. Nike Run Club and Garmin Connect can track this and have alerts set up to let you know.
50 – For our final tip it is the one you have all been hiding from. Hill running is a fabulous way of cramming in high quality training into a short timeframe. Hill running helps your body prepare for breaking down lactic acid build up as the muscles generate this as you climb. Training through this will prepare you better for race day when lactic build up is hard to avoid. Uphill running session reps where you run up and down the same hill help you develop your running strength and manage your breathing and lactic acid breakdown. Hills benefits aren’t limited to the climb. Running downhill helps you build up running cadence as your foot turnover is forced to move faster. It also works different muscle groups as you head downhill.
That is it for our top triathlon training tips & hacks part four. I hope you have enjoyed this series of blog articles where we have covered 50 triathlon training tips. Use these tips on your run and transform the final leg of your triathlon.
Full list of our 50 Top triathlon training tips and hacks
- Use a Pull buoy when swimming
- Vary your swim sets
- Use an Olympic sized 50m swimming pool
- Leave the car behind and ride to the pool
- Focus reducing your SWOLF score
- Include back stroke in your swim sets
- Join a Triathlon club to join their masters swim coached sessions
- Buy a pair of buoyancy shorts
- Do some open water swimming
- Learn to swim with bi-lateral breathing
- Practice drafting while swimming in the pool
- Practice your vertical swim starts
- Try to make time to train wearing your wetsuit in training
- Use a turbo trainer for your cycling training
- Train wearing your race kit on the bike
- Join a spinning class
- Train beyond your race mileage
- Use a cadence sensor on your bike
- Include hill sets in your cycle routes
- Join a cycling club
- Train on your mountain bike
- Practice technical cycling
- Fuel your ride with the right nutrition and hydration
- Include interval sets in your cycling training
- Build in upper body strength training sessions
- Cycle in all weather conditions
- Try cycling with a power meter
- Build up you base fitness
- Include lactate threshold training in your cycling
- Get a bike fit
- Create a training plan for your cycling
- Practice cycling following the race course
- Warm down after your ride
- Include brick training in your sessions
- Don’t forget to practice transition training
- Listen to your heart rate on the run
- Monitor your stride length while running
- Keep variety in your running routes
- Work on negative split runs
- Don’t make every run a flat out run
- Run with your arms
- Vary the time you run at
- Focus on your breathing on the run
- Use the right technology to support your triathlon training
- Listen to a podcast or audio book on your run
- Find someone to run with
- Find a local sports physio
- Have a gait analysis of your running style
- Monitor your mileage
- Include hill running within your run sets
Let us know if you have any extra tips you would add or any you found really worked well or didn’t(!) for you.