Triathlon Magazine Canada - - RUN - BY KIRSTEN SWEET­LAND

Run­ning fast off the bike is a tough skill to mas­ter. If you haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced it, imag­ine run­ning a road race af­ter some­one poured con­crete in­side your legs. It’s a tricky thing to mas­ter. Here are a few tips to help things run a lit­tle more smoothly (par­don the pun):

The most im­por­tant thing is turnover. It’s nat­u­ral to have a slow turnover with bike-fa­tigued legs. If you focus on quick steps you will move quicker and each stride will be less tax­ing. I had a coach (who coached mul­ti­ple short-course world cham­pi­ons) who be­lieved we should run at a cadence of 180 to 200 steps/minute. We even used lit­tle tempo beep­ers to help guide us un­til we got the feel for it.

2Another trick is to prac­tice run­ning off the bike at least once a week. It might not be pos­si­ble to make the strange feel­ing of run­ning off the bike go away, but you will def­i­nitely get used to the feel­ing, which is pretty much as good. I usu­ally do 10 to 20 min­utes at race pace af­ter a hard bike ride. If pos­si­ble I try and fin­ish an in­ter­val on the bike im­me­di­ately be­fore run­ning to make it as re­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble.

3Another way to im­prove your triathlon run time is to be­come a faster run­ner. I use fartlek ses­sions to help de­velop my speed as race sea­son ap­proaches. A short-course spe­cific work­out is one done by leg­endary Aus­tralian run­ner Steve Moneghetti. Af­ter a good warm up you do 20 min­utes of hard run­ning that is bro­ken down like this:

A. 2 x (90 sec­onds at 5-km pace, 90 sec­onds at 10-km pace) B. 4 x (1 minute at 5-km pace, 1 minute at 10-km pace) C. 4 x (30 sec­onds at 5-km pace, 30 sec­onds at 10-km pace) D. 4 x (15 sec­onds at 5-km pace, 15 sec­onds at 10-km pace).

This is a killer work­out if done prop­erly. You can try to go faster than 5-km pace if you are re­ally se­ri­ous. (I’ve lit­er­ally made my­self sick do­ing the set that way.)

4Another great ses­sion is short-rest 1-km re­peats on a track. The track helps you get used to pac­ing and the short rest forces you to work anaer­o­bi­cally, which is sim­i­lar to what you’ll do in a race. I’d sug­gest 5 to 8 x 1 km at goal race pace with 30 to 60 sec­onds rest. These key ses­sions don’t need to be done of­ten, just done op­ti­mally to achieve some great re­sults.

5Lastly, I be­lieve hav­ing the cor­rect mind­set is one of the big­gest keys to a suc­cess­ful triathlon run. Ac­cept­ing the dis­com­fort, but not fo­cus­ing on it, is the name of the game. Focus on your breath, count your steps and think about driv­ing your arms. Any cue that works for you is great, as long as you are in a pos­i­tive frame of mind. Em­brace the pain.

Whistler’s Kirsten Sweet­land rep­re­sented Canada at the 2016 Olympic Games.

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