THE RUN

“AVOID CHANG­ING YOUR GOALS AS YOU GET FIT­TER. IF YOUR GOAL IS TO FIN­ISH, DON’T TRY SHOOT­ING FOR CER­TAIN TIMES.”

Men's Health (South Africa) - - TRIATHLON: - James Cun­nama

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.

5. MARCH

Each time you stride, slightly ex­ag­ger­ate pick­ing your knee up. That will help you avoid shuf­fling, which of­ten oc­curs when you’re tired.

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