What you can do is include a week or two of run-focused training by running 5 to 6 days per week, and either eliminate swimming and cycling or use those sports as active recovery for running. Keep the swim and bike workouts less than an hour.
If you currently run three days per week, begin a run-focus week by adding two or three runs at 20 to 45 minutes each. If you find you tolerate this volume well, you can add more the next run-focus block, if you feel more volume is necessary. You may decide higher quality runs would be more beneficial.
Proceed with caution when deciding to do a crash training block for running.
Include Over-Speed, Short Hill Intervals on the Treadmill
For some triathletes, it's difficult to get the leg turnover speed required to break through current speed barriers. Doing short intervals on a treadmill while manipulating the incline can bring about speed changes for very little metabolic cost. Include one of these workouts per week for 4 to 6 weeks.
Complete Track Workouts on the Treadmill
For the non-seasoned runner, holding the right pace on a track is tough. It often leads to beginning too fast and fading at the end of each interval and throughout a workout. A good way to learn how to hold a new, higher pace is to do track-type workouts on a treadmill. Be sure the treadmill you use has been recently calibrated and you know the belt speed is accurate.
Begin by selecting a pace that is roughly 8 percent faster than your current race pace for sprint or Olympic-distance triathlons. Run no more than half of race distance at your new speed. Begin with repeats of 800s or 400s and descend the distance so pace quality remains high.
For example, to improve 10K speed, one possible workout is:
- Warm-up 15 to 20 minutes and include a few 20- to 30-second accelerations. Then do:
- 2-3 x 800 (recovery interval is equal in time to the run interval);
- 4-6 x 400 (recovery interval is equal in time to the run interval);
- 2-4 x 200 (recovery interval is equal in time to the run interval);
- Leave time for an easy jogging cool down.
Head to the Track
You must learn how to properly pace yourself at higher speeds on the track. Triathletes with a running background tend to enjoy the track while those without run history are less enthusiastic about the rubber ovals.
Learning how to run your new pace and hold that pace steady is best accomplished at the track where you can check your speed each 100 meters. Know that a standard metric track is 400 meters around the inside lane and a standard English track is 440 yards around the inside lane. If you use a lane other than the inside lane you'll need to learn the track markings so you're sure to be running the right distance and pace.
With thought and planning, this season can produce a faster triathlon run pace than you've seen in past years.
Enjoy your new found speed!
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