Every training session has a reason or a purpose. Here are some of the key triathlon run workouts—and their benefits—to incorporate into your training schedule.
Brick Run1 of 17
The brick run (run immediately after the bike) is what makes triathlon so unique. You don't start your run on fresh legs. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite, which is why you'll want to build in some short brick runs into your weekly training schedule to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Benefits of Brick Run TrainingHarness the Feeling 2 of 17
It doesn't matter how many triathlons you've completed. Those first few steps off the bike and onto the run course are just plain odd. People often describe their legs as feeling heavy or stiff when they start running. It makes perfect sense since you've just been seated for miles and miles. Blood is displaced and muscles are already fatigued from pedaling. You're going from sitting to running, which isn't an easy transition physically or aerobically.
That's why you want to harness that feeling before race day. Even short brick runs give you the chance to feel it and settle in. It will also give you a sense of how long it takes for your legs to feel "normal."
Benefits of Brick Run TrainingBuild Mental Strength and Discipline 3 of 17
It's hard to go from a tough bike workout into a run, especially if you're exhausted. A brick run can feel useless or extraneous, but guess what? You'll likely be exhausted on race day, too. Creating a non-negotiable brick run builds mental toughness and tenacity. It sets a precedent that your work isn't done. You're only finished with one leg of the training day. Plus, it gives you a chance to practice another important element of triathlons: quick transitions.
Benefits of Brick Run TrainingPractice Run Drills 4 of 17
Even if you don't do a long brick run, a post-ride run is a great opportunity to work on run drills such as skipping and high knees when your legs are tired. You can even make the brick run all about cadence and form work. Practice your mantras and your breathing. Maintain great posture to avoid injury.
Benefits of Brick Run TrainingRehearse Nutrition 5 of 17
A brick run will give you an idea of how well you fueled on the bike. If you are cramping or incredibly fatigued, you could be dehydrated or in a major calorie deficit. If your run feels horrible and you feel listless, chances are you under-fueled on the bike or went too hard.
Treat each brick run as a learning experience of connecting the triathlon dots.
Progressive Pace Run6 of 17
A progressive pace run is one where you start slow and gradually pick up your pace throughout the run. This run is a great confidence booster for race day as it establishes the discipline of a moderate start and fast finish. After all, isn't the goal to finish strong?
Benefits of Progressive Pace RunSettle in for the Distance 7 of 17
Practice bringing your heart rate down (especially if you're doing a longer race) and finding a rhythm at the start of the run. Athletes often shoot out of transition quickly and start running at a pace that is unsustainable. Unless you are going for the podium, proper pacing is advised, especially from the start.
Benefits of Progressive Pace RunEasier for Nutrition Intake 8 of 17
The lower your heart rate and the more relaxed your effort level, the more you'll be able to successfully absorb nutrition and hydration. Ever try to eat or drink something when you are completely breathless? It's almost impossible. Proper absorption of calories and hydration increases your chances of race-day success, and the best way to practice is to ingest your calories when you are training in a comfortable aerobic zone.
Benefits of Progressive Pace RunAccentuate Good Form 9 of 17
Starting at a slower pace is yet another opportunity to work on form and technique. How is your posture? What is your run cadence? Are you shuffling or picking up your feet? Elbows at 90 degrees? Once you've established solid form, then you can start to pick up the pace slightly.
Long Run10 of 17
The distance of the long run is certainly relative to the triathlon distance you are training for, but regardless, the long run is part of the foundation for your training house. All of the speed work and equipment purchases are futile if you aren't confident, and this scheduled run (with some recovery weeks, too) inherently solidifies your ability to "go the distance."
Benefits of Long RunTime on Your Feet 11 of 17
If your race will last several hours, you certainly want to train your body to be able to race for that long. You're building stamina for the required distance.
Benefits of Long RunBuilds Muscular Strength and Endurance 12 of 17
It's true. Long runs make you stronger—strength you'll need (both physical and mental) to go the distance on race day.
Benefits of Long RunRace Rehearsal 13 of 17
A properly paced long run is yet another opportunity to practice actual race day pacing, hydration and nutrition. The more consistent your long runs, the more confident you will be on race day.
Benchmark Test Run14 of 17
This is a timed hard-effort run (usually a 2-mile or 5K run) to determine training paces and/or heart rate zones for training and racing. It's difficult to establish proper training zones without these regular tests, completed on average every six to eight weeks.
Benefits of Benchmark Test RunTake the Guessing Game Out of Race Day Pace 15 of 17
If you know what you can race in a 5K, then you can use that data to extrapolate and practice paces for various run lengths including track sessions, long runs and even race day pacing. The benchmark testing provides a pacing roadmap for all of your training runs.
Benefits of Benchmark Test RunMeasure Progress 16 of 17
One of the measurements of triathlon success is knowing that you are indeed getting stronger and faster throughout your training cycle. The benchmark test will clearly illustrate your progress throughout your season.