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How to Get Ready for Triathlon as a Cyclist: Running

By Jiří Kaloč

Running is the last leg of every triathlon race; it’s where everything is decided. But running in a triathlon race is a bit different. You start the run already fatigued, every imperfection in your technique will slow you down that much more, every insignificant pain will become much more pronounced. You have to work on your weaknesses, otherwise your swim and bike will be for nothing!

Learn proper running technique

There is this strange thing about running – everyone thinks they know how to do it. Unfortunately, most casual runners you see in the park are a proof of the opposite. Running, just like any other sport or skill, requires learning the proper technique. Learning the correct running form is essential if you plan on running regularly.

Getting a coach is always advisable, but if you decide to learn from books or videos, then you should keep one thing in mind: Progress slowly! Running is an impact sport, and if you don’t give your body plenty of time to adapt in terms of bone density and muscle and tendon quality, you might be working towards an injury.

Practice running off the bike

If you want to get the most bang for your buck in preparation for a triathlon run, implement short runs right after your bike ride. This will teach your muscles and neural pathways to switch from cycling to running without a crisis. It will also allow you to experience running while already fatigued and slightly dehydrated.

You should begin with a slow, 10-minute run after a ride and start building the mileage from there. But don’t take my word for it; follow the example of the best. Running right off your bike is important no matter the event, isn’t that right, Chris?

Learn how to pace yourself

If you don’t pace yourself and go all out because you have 2/3 of the race behind you, you might regret it. If you “blow up” on the run, and that’s where it usually happens in triathlon, you’ll be left to walk, sit down, or outright quit depending on how much you overreached.

With the adrenalin of the crowd and your family watching in the transition area, it’s easy to burn yourself out in the first kilometre of the run. Remind yourself of that when changing from your bike shoes. Also don’t be afraid to use a heart-rate monitor, GPS, or other gadgets that will provide you with some objective data. That way you’ll know when to slow down and when to push for the finish.