If you identify primarily as a runner who does triathlons, then no doubt it’s very important to you to keep up your run performances, even while also training for triathlon. The good news is, this can be done. However, there are several common mistakes runners often make along the way.
In a recently reposted Triathlete Mag article “Be a Runner and a Triathlete” we explored ways to excel at both running and triathlon during tri season. Tips included some ideas about how to schedule your races, which races should be excluded (hint: the marathon), and the important of keeping some swim/bike quality in the mix.
What we didn’t discuss are some common things triathletes do wrong in an honest effort to keep their running in tip top shape. Below are some of the most common mistakes runners turned triathletes make, along with the fixes that can help you keep your run fitness while tri-ing.
Pure runners who want to keep their fitness may think they’re doing a good thing (for their swim/bike) by cutting way back on # of times running per week. Take your current mileage and divide it by four or five runs a week. That workload compared with taking your current mileage and dividing by two will take you a lot farther.
Don’t have time to run so much? An easy way to fix this issue without adding any extra time to your training is to insert a short run after almost every cycle session.
Too Much Hard Running
Oftentimes ‘just running’ the goal. Many runners have a sense of pride about their pace average starting with a particular number. Or they feel like they’re not getting a ‘good workout’ unless they’re huffing and puffing along the way.
Running too intensely on a daily basis has a major downside in won’t allow you to truly reach the levels you need to reach on the hard days.
If you’re a social runner and the the issue is that others drag you along too quickly, either find some mixed pace friends to run with on slower days or learn to run solo on easy days. If your problem is that you’re not sure just how easy easy means, do some pace and HR testing, then use those metrics to hold you back on easy days.
If your reliance is more of a pride thing, log a couple of 20 minute mile walks in strava to realize that nothing bad happens when you do.
Too Much Focus on”Speedwork”
A lot of triathlon running is really just running. Sure you should have some quality runs in there, but assuming you’re doing some quality bikes and swims too, most of your runs should truly be easy.
Pick your quality workout(s) ahead of time whether it be track, hill repeats, or a tempo run, and strictly hold yourself to run intensity during that workout only. For social runners, it can help to do your easy runs solo at least while you get used to the transition.