With some races on the horizon here are some tips for running well off the bike.
• Complete brick workouts.
It may sound obvious, but you have to practise the transition from biking to running to get used to that jelly leg feeling for the first mile or so. You don’t have to run your race distance in training, 20-30min is plenty without beating your legs up for the rest of the week. Adding in some race pace intensity to get that dialled in is an added bonus and a big help to get used to what your race pace feels like off the bike.
• Run tall.
No matter the distance, sprint to Ironman, you have been curled over the bars, getting as aero as possible, churning the pedals - you don’t want to be in that position when you’re running, get your shoes on and out of transition and then focus on a nice tall running posture. Focus on keeping your chest up, look up the road not down at your feet and think about an efficient arm movement to drive the legs, if there is another competitor just up the road, concentrate on their shoulder blades or read the writing on their kit to keep you from drifting the eyes back down to your feet. Remember, we are running forward not down!
• Focus on your breathing.
Going from biking, to crouched over putting your shoes on, to dashing out of T2 can cause rapid changes and increases in your breathing rate which could lead to stitch or a steady fade and reduction in pace. Get this into a steady rhythm as soon as you can, breath 2 steps in, 2 steps out. Once you have it back under control, then you can look to build the effort level if you felt good.
• Get strong.
You should have been completing strength, conditioning and mobility workouts regularly to ensure you have a strong enough foundation to hold great form throughout the run as well as becoming more efficient and powerful. Focusing on exercises that brace the entire body, increase stability through full ranges of motion and also focussed on the strengthening the posterior chain, crucial for performance and the transition between cycling and running. We aren’t just going to the gym to smash our legs to pieces, every movement and exercise has a reason related to our triathlon performance for being there.
• Get your nutrition right on the bike.
Get in touch with our nutritionists or dive deep into Xendurance’s website to learn all about the different sources you can use to nail down you’re fuelling. You’re not just fuelling that discipline - you’re bike nutrition is fuelling some of your run. Practise, practise, practise! It doesn’t matter how physically, mentally and technically strong you are if you run out of fuel! Don’t try anything new on race day, all of those brick workouts you have been completing are an ideal time to practise your nutrition and see how you and your stomach hold what you’ve taken in on the bike once you start running.
There is no point sprinting out of T2 if it’s going to cause you to go into the red; relax into your rhythm over the first few minutes, you will finish faster by building into your run than starting too fast and blowing up! Get yourself up to your pace quickly but then stick to it, the longer the distance the more important this is. If you have been practising your brick workouts, you will know what your pace is and how it feels, stick to it - Relax the arms, relax the jaw, relax the shoulders.
Groove the movement, smooth, efficient, fast.
Tom Garbett - Total Tri Training Coach / Strength & Conditioning Coach / Pain Free Performance Specialist
Find out more about Total Tri Training here.