If you've been pouring over last year's race results and have come to the conclusion that your triathlon run could use improvement, there are several ways to go about getting faster. This column offers seven strategies you can use. You may want to try more than one strategy at the same time, but be cautious about trying to employ all the strategies at the same time and overdoing it.
Rest Up for Key Triathlon Run Workouts
Triathletes that are strong swimmers and cyclists usually love to go fast in those workouts. It's fun to go fast. If running is a limiter, you need to be sure that you do not put your quality run speedwork day within 24 to 48 hours following a tough swimming or cycling workout. The swim and bike workouts preceding key triathlon run workouts need to be primarily aerobic or form work.
Add One More Run to Your Week
If you're currently running two or three days per week, add one more, short, aerobic run to your training mix. Some triathletes find that adding one more run workout in the 20- to 30-minute range is enough to boost speed.
Remove a Run From Your Week
For triathletes running four or five times per week, peeling out one day of running and adding more recovery will often help improve running speed.
Include a Run-Focused Training Block
For many triathletes, there is a balance to the number of workouts they perform in each sport, each week. For example, it's common to have two or three workouts in each sport—swimming, cycling and running—every week.
It's also common for intermediate and advanced triathletes to include a big block of cycling within one training block, while minimizing or eliminating swimming and running. This is easily accomplished by participating in a bicycle tour. This type of big volume training is often called “crash training.”
Crash training isn't used as often in running because a big block of running carries more risk of injury. Additionally, overall training volume will need to be reduced if you decide to do a run-focused week of training. For example, if you are currently training 12 hours per week with swimming, cycling and running workouts, it's fairly low risk to do a week of just cycling at 12 or more hours. It's high risk, however, to do a week of just running at 12 or more hours.