Ask the Coach June 09

I am a good runner (Boston Qualifier) but when it comes to triathlon my run speed is somewhat pathetic. How can I run to my potential or at least not lose as much run speed?


The answer to this question almost always lies not with your run but with your bike! Generally there are 2 main reasons that athletes with good running backgrounds don’t run to their potential in triathlons


1.      Bike Fitness – For athletes with strong running backgrounds but new to the bike can have an issue with a lack of bike fitness, so especially in longer events the bike will take too much energy out of them and they will be too tired getting off the bike to run to their potential.

2.      Bike Execution – This I feel, is usually the main source of poor runs off the bike from talented runners, they have just ridden too hard! Many good runners don’t have a good judge of what proper pacing for themselves is on the big and they ride too hard and are unable to run well off the bike because they put too much energy into the bike ride


In order to run well off the bike there needs to be a focus on the bike fitness aspect and making sure that you are doing the proper bike training for your goal races. The next step is to dial in proper pacing and race execution, running well off the bike is really the key to performing to your potential in any tri, so you really need to hold back on the bike until you are able to run well afterwards. This can be practiced in training as well as racing and is really a key component for anyone, but especially so for a fast runner who isn’t running fast in their triathlons


Nigel Gray is Head Coach of NRG Performance Training, with over 10 years of coaching experience from beginners to Elite athletes