Ask the Coach Nov 09

"I am a new give-it-a-try triathlon participant and have been happy with my results this season.  I am eager to graduate to a sprint and would like some tips to help with the running portion of the race as the run is my weakness."

In order to improve your run fitness there are a few key things to think about:

  • ·         Frequency – the number of times you run a week
  • ·         Volume – the amount of time you run in a week (obviously connected to frequency but duration of your runs is also important)
  • ·         Intensity – what are the intensities of your runs

Running has the highest risk factor in terms of injuries in triathlon so you need to be very careful with how you build up your training, both from a volume and intensity perspective but here are a few things you can do:

·         Start by increasing the frequency of your runs, so if you are running twice/week then add in a 3rd run, this will increase your overall volume without too much increased injury risk

·         it’s important over time to build up the duration of one of your runs so that you are able to comfortably run at least race distance (ideally a little longer) in your training ( ie 5-8km for a 5km sprint distance tri)

·         To first add some intensity into your training you should try hill repeats. Find a hill that is not too steep and will take about 2-3min to get to the top. After warming up you then run hard to the top of the hill and walk/jog back down for recovery, repeat this 3 times to start and over time you can add to the number of repeats. Hills are just a good way to pick up the intensity but with less pounding and a lower risk of injury

·         Varying intensity – one key mistake we see with a lot of athletes is that they run the same pace every day. It’s important to run at different intensities, you should have Easy days, Steady days and some slightly Harder days

·         Running off the bike – it is important to practice running off the bike, you need to get used to the feeling of running on tired legs and building up both the fitness and confidence that you can do it

By working on building the frequency, volume and intensity in your running training you will be able to run both faster and longer!


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