“AVOID CHANGING YOUR GOALS AS YOU GET FITTER. IF YOUR GOAL IS TO FINISH, DON’T TRY SHOOTING FOR CERTAIN TIMES.”
A STRONG RUN IS THE most critical leg in the triathlon, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research. The researchers analysed individual split times and overall race results of topperforming triathletes over a 26-year period, and found that for the Olympic distance, the run makes or breaks the final result.
The best way to build running speed and endurance is to gradually increase the amount of time you spend running. Doing most of your running at low intensity will facilitate this process, but you can accelerate it by running at high intensity once a week. Make sure your form is tight, which will help you go faster with less effort and avoid injury. For race day, make sure you practice the change-over logistics. “There is a lot of thinking while racing a triathlon,” Cunnama says. “You don’t want to be the guy putting his helmet on top of his swim cap. Run through it in training and walk thrugh your transition before the race, thinking about what you’ll be doing every step of the way.”
1. RUN TALL
Slumping saps your efficiency. As you run, think about pushing the top of your head to the sky, which keeps your back straight and chest up.
2. GAZE AHEAD
Looking 10 metres down the road helps your posture and boosts your mental outlook, since it keeps you looking forward, not down.
3. FIND YOUR RHYTHM
Imagine the beat of a song that’s at the pace you’d like to keep (ideally, 120 beats per minute), and swing your arms rhythmically and compactly to the beat, your arms bent at the elbows. This helps you set a consistent tempo for your tired legs.
4. STRIDE RIGHT
Your feet should land underneath your body or just out in front of it. This prevents you from overstriding or under-striding, both of which can slow you down.
Each time you stride, slightly exaggerate picking your knee up. That will help you avoid shuffling, which often occurs when you’re tired.