Running Training

Monday, May 2, 2016 by Coach Kevin

Training for the run is probably the easiest of all three disciplines for Triathlons. We grab our shoes and go!  And running—any running—is great for training.  However, we should all think about what we can do from a training perspective to improve our running.  The good news is we have lots of alternatives to choose from that you may not have considered. Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Off-Road: Running off-road is a fantastic alternative to road running. Off-road running has many benefits, the least of which is being able to run trails among trees, creeks, and nature.  Off-road running is a great exercise to strengthen your joints and smaller muscles.  The uneven terrain naturally makes you work smaller muscles that you don’t work when you run roads, and this will help prevent injuries.  Additionally, off-road running naturally shortens your stride which in turn increases your cadence.
  2. Hill Repeats: Hill repeats not only are good strength training, they are also great for mental training.  After climbing a hill for an hour, you really have to mentally struggle to keep pushing against the hill!  Additionally, with climbing hills you have less risk of injury that can be caused by the explosive nature of interval training.
  3. Interval training: Research is now showing the fatigue is controlled more by the brain than by any chemical processes such as lack of oxygen or buildup of lactate.  Scientist are finding that fatigue may be something that was built into our brains to protect us.  We are soft wired to not expend all of our energy so that if we have to avoid danger we can.  That is all great if we want to avoid being eaten by an animal, but today this protection mechanism can hold us back competing.  The good news is we can train our brain to move past the fatigue set points.  We can do so by doing interval training with short, high-intensity sets that push us past our upper limits, and then recover while still running.  Interval training also obviously builds and trains our muscles for speed!
  4. Abandoned Railroad Tracks: WARNING DON’T RUN ON RAILROAD TRACKS UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY KNOW THEY ARE NOT USED! Running on railroad tracks forces us to run shorter and faster cadence.  It forces us to pay attention to our stride by bringing our vision closer in front of us.  It forces us to picture in our mind where our foot is planting without actually watching it (if you do your next step will surely be a trip).  All of these habits are fantastic for better technique.
  5. Bleachers: If you don’t have a hill to do repeats on, find bleachers. They will help build strength like interval training.  They will help build better visual habits like train tracks.  They will help build better mental strength.  If you don’t have bleachers, find some stairs.
  6. Sand: Running in the sand is a great, softer-impact way to run.  Plus, it builds strength in your lower legs and helps train you to push off better at the back half of your power stroke.  Sand is also a great way to mix in stability training like off-road running to prevent injury and strengthen your smaller joint muscles.
  7. Pool: Pool running is the perfect workout if you’re injured and its active resistance helps build strength. Try running in the pool for 30 minutes and you will be surprised by how your quads and calves are screaming at you.  However, what you won’t have is injury due to impact.  This by far is the best way to continue to run when you’re injured and great way to rehab injuries as well.


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