Training for Sprint Triathlon, Part 4: The Run

SOAS Polka Dot Tri Kit

The SOAS Polka Dot Tri top and bottom are made for high performance for triathletes

by Jessica Summerall

I got into fitness after gaining 60 pounds during my pregnancy. Now I’m in the process of training for my first triathlon and sharing my experiences in this four-part series. In my first post, I discussed my motivations for why I’m competing in my first triathlon. For week two, I talked about the most intimidating leg for first-time triathletes: swimming. Last week was all about the cycling leg of a triathlon, and I’m wrapping up the series focusing on the last of the three disciplines, the run.

The Third Leg: Running

The run portion of a sprint triathlon is 5K or 3.1 miles. If you are new to running, I would suggest starting with a good running plan. The “Couch to 5K” program is wonderful because it progresses at a safe rate, allowing your muscles and joints to adapt to the new demands you are placing on them. Hopefully if you are tackling a triathlon, you will have already run in a couple of 5Ks.

It is a good idea to be able to run five miles or more at some point during your training so your body is prepared for more than just the bare minimum. If you are working on increasing your running speed for your triathlon, you will want to make sure to practice sprinting. Usually once a week, I warm up with a five-minute jog and then I sprint as far as I can. I walk until I’m recovered and repeat the process for 30 minutes. I have seen a great improvement in my speed by practicing this technique.

You will want a good, supportive running shoe. You may want to find a local running store and have them evaluate your stride and gate so they can suggest the right shoe for you. I use a minimalist shoe that has a Velcro buckle and no laces so it makes transitioning from the bike to run easy. However, if you are using a running shoe with laces you may want to consider using a brand like Lock Laces. They will allow you to slip your foot right in your running shoe without having to spend precious time lacing up. One of my must-have products when I run is Glide. I put it on all the areas that might become chafed from running. On me this is usually at my sports bra line, between my legs, and under my arms. You may want to have a small container of Glide to quickly slide over your problem areas before you take off!

I recently practiced my first transition by riding my bike 12 miles and then running a 5K. Practice, practice, practice your transitions! Your legs are going to feel like Jell-O and you’ll feel like you’re moving slow as molasses. The more you practice, the more prepared you will be!

I’d love to hear all about your training and your first event, so please feel free to keep me updated at my Facebook page. Good luck!

Always consult with a physician before beginning any new exercise regimen.

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