“Getting ready for your sprint triathlon training? Then let these tips help you with your triathlon run. Read more below!”
More than half of today’s triathlons are sprint distance: a series of 0.75-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run). Shorter distances are attractive to beginners and competitors who only have limited time to devote to training.
Even at sprint distance, however, triathlon is a challenging sport. Many athletes tend to focus on swim and bike training, probably because swimming is less familiar to most athletes. However, as the final leg of the race, running is arguably the most demanding segment of a triathlon, both physically and mentally.
As with any race training, the key to sprint triathlon run training is to gradually increase distances over the course of your training program. A moderately fit person can train for a sprint triathlon in eight to nine weeks. You should plan to work out six days per week (two bike days, two swim days and two run days), with one day off for recovery. Your run workouts should look something like this:
Maintenance runs. One time per week: If you’re a novice, your maintenance run should be 15 minutes (or 1 to 2 miles) at a pace where you can carry on a conversation without huffing and puffing. If you have some experience and are trying to improve your running speed, you can alternate easy runs with interval workouts.
Long runs. One time per week: In the first week, your long run should be about 20 minutes (or 2 to 2.5 miles) at an easy pace. Every other week, add another 5 minutes (or another half mile) to your distance. Your longest run, 30 to 35 minutes (or 3 to 3.5 miles), should be about 14 days before your race, and you should taper down your distance to 15-minute easy runs in the two weeks before the race.
The Brick. On your long run day in week 6 or 7, add a bike workout (10 miles at a moderate pace) before your long run. This will allow you to practice your bike/run transition.
The change from swimming to biking or biking to running can add several minutes to your triathlon time. In the next section, we talk about ways to minimize time spent make the T2 (bike to run) transition.
Many experts agree that a successful running leg is the key to a top triathlon finish [source: Mora]. However, all the run training in the world won’t prepare your legs for the shock of transitioning from cycling to running at race speed. For that, you need to integrate “brick” workouts into your training. A brick (which involves two of the three disciplines, swimming and biking or biking and running) prepares your body for the experience of hopping onto a bike sopping wet or setting off on a run with rubbery cycler’s legs. Bricks also give you a chance to practice and time your transitions.
In a run-intensive brick workout, you would bike 20 to 40 percent of your race’s bike distance at an easy to moderate pace. Plan your route with only moderate hills so that you can save your legs for a more intense run leg. If you’ve followed the suggestions in the sidebar, you’ll already be in your triathlon suit with your race number strapped across your chest as you approach the T2 transition.
Here are a few other tips for a quick T2 transition:
Stake out your space. Stage your running gear (hydration belt, running shoes, body lubricant, pack stocked with gels or snacks) on a beach towel.
Invest in “speed laces,” which tighten with a single tug.
Skip the socks. Instead, rub Body Glide or a similar lubricant onto the inside heels of your shoes. This will help prevent blisters and make your shoes easier to slip into.
When you practice, time your transition and try to shave a few seconds off each time you do a brick workout. Once your shoes are laced up, set off on a run that’s 70 to 90 percent of your race distance. Choose a course that’s as geographically similar as possible to the course you’ll be running on race day, and run just little slower than you plan to run at the race. More at How Triathlon Run Training Works