Nail the run
The run is the discipline that gets you on the podium, if you’re in position to do so. Efficiency is the key – triathletes are fatigued as they start the run and need to be able to do their best work in the final one or two kilometres. This is an impossible feat if you are inefficient. Elite run coaches all emphasize rhythm as the foundation of good, fast running.
FOOT STRIKE: The foot should hit the ground flat, with heel slightly raised. Never run on your toes. Hitting the ground too far forward prevents the large muscle groups (hamstrings and glutes) from producing power. A flat foot plant engages all the muscle groups for better, more efficient power production and reduces injury potential.
CADENCE: Your training and race cadence should be the same. Too many athletes do their base training at one cadence (i.e. 70–80 rpm), but then want to race at 90 rpm. Under fatigue or stress, how will you maintain a cadence you practice only 20 to 30 per cent of your training? Maintaining a higher cadence helps reduce over-striding, improves run metrics and supports the neuromuscular training that will help maintain turnover under fatigue.
RHYTHM: It’s the number-one item on an elite coach’s list. Develop rhythm and build your speed from that. Your breathing, stride and arm drive all need to be coordinated for you to run fast.
RUN METRICS: Stance time (the amount of time your foot is on the ground), swing time (how long your leg takes to move forward) and vertical movement (how much up and down motion you have in your stride) are all important aspects to run economy. A proper run gait analysis can give you ideas on how to improve your run economy.
DRILLS: Will help with run form and biomechanics and help with injury prevention and run economy. When doing drills, do them with purpose. Know what you are doing, why you are doing it, how to do it properly and how it relates to performance.
PACING: Developing athletes need to work on negative splits – the ability to finish faster than they started. While seasoned athletes with many years of specific training can start faster and then “settle in” to a given pace, a young athlete does not have that capacity and needs to understand how different paces affect them, how to measure an effort (pace) by feel and how to build that pace through the event.