February 21, 2017

Work Your Triathlon Weakness: Run

Work Your Triathlon Weakness Run

Welcome to Week 3 of my Work Your Triathlon Weakness series. Each Tuesday this month, I am focusing on one of the four sports of triathlon. Yes, four  – Transition counts. T1 and T2 deserve a little attention too. Over the last two weeks, we’ve discussed the swim and the bike. This week we are focusing on the run.

The funny thing about triathlon is that your weaknesses and your strengths can change depending on how you train. Running used to be my weakness. Now, cycling is my weakness. Why? I joined Flying Feet Running Club and have spent the last two years working consistently on my running.

Just like with anything in life, the more consistently you run, the faster your pace will become. In order to improve your running, you need to follow a training plan that focuses on shorter runs, quality runs and long runs. Coach Dave’s philosophy is that we run by time not by distance. Being consistent in the time we run will naturally improve both our pace and the distance we can cover in that amount of time. This is a great philosophy especially for a beginner runner who may look at having to run a 5K several times per week as an overwhelming idea. Telling someone to run 35 minutes as a beginner is a lot less scary. It doesn’t matter if they can cover 2 miles or 4 miles in that time.

Shorter, Easy Runs – Runs that last between 35-50 minutes a couple times per week

Long Runs – Runs that last between 70-120 minutes.

Quality Runs  – This is where we work on something specific like lactic threshold, sprints, pacing and running with a pack.

Over the years, Coach Dave has introduced us to many resources for runners. Among them is Distance Running Coach, Jeff Daniels who talks quite a bit about easy running and the benefits of incorporating it into your running. Especially as you begin to build your base – we are in base training season afterall – easy running is the foundation for your running the rest of year.


Pick one day in your week to run a quality run. Then, run a quality run on that day every week. Some of these may become your favorites. Others, well, at least they’ll help your running.

Start each of these workouts with a 10-15 minute warmup run and end with a 10 minute cool down. Pick one of the workouts below as your main set for each quality run. 

Hill Repeats. The idea behind hill repeats is to pick an interval, say 8 rounds. Run up the hill. Walk down. Repeat that loops 8 times. Or set your watch for 30 minutes and do hill repeats for time. If you’re an advanced runner, instead of walking down the hill, try lateral shuffles or running backwards. 

Bleacher Runs. This can be done anywhere you have a series of steps at your disposal. High school track. Beach. Museum. You get the point. High school track is my favorite because there are two sets of bleachers and multiple rows on each. Alternate running up one flight, down the next until you’ve crossed the entire set of bleachers. Then, run around the track to the other set, do the same again. Run back to the first set of bleacher s and start over. This can be intense, so if you’re a beginner just aim for completing one set and work your way up. 

Tabata Sprints.  The typical workout consists of 20 seconds of high activity, in this case running, followed by 10 seconds of recovery, run as slow as possible. Repeat this cycle for a total of four minutes (8 rounds). If you cross train, this cycle works for any activity. 

Fartleks. Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play”. This is your license to act like a kid again. Head out on your run, sight something in the distance like a mailbox, a sign, or the top of the hill. Run as fast as you can to that object. Then, slow down to an easy pace to recover. When you’re recovery time is nearing its end, sight for the next object. Continue this for the duration of your run.

Another alternative to this is a buddy system track workout. Stand on the track, back to back. One person should have an object in their hand to use as a baton. The person with the object takes off running while the other person walks. When they meet, they pass the “baton” and the runner begins walking and vice versa. This can be a fun family competition too. 

Run using the Galloway method. Pick an interval you can sustain for the duration of the distance/time you plan to train that day. This can be 30secs run/2 min walk, 2min run/1min walk, 5 min run/1min walk. Follow my Run Walk Run Series to get tips I share from Jeff Galloway.

Specific Distance Repeats at Specific Pace. Pick a Distance and a pace from a pace chart. For example, 8 X 200m repeats with 100m recovery at 10K pace.


What types of running do you incorporate into your run training to help you work on speed, pace and endurance?

Work Your Weakness Run

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26 Comments on “Work Your Triathlon Weakness: Run

Kimberly G
February 22, 2017 at 11:37 am

I haven’t done too many speed workouts in the past year due to injuries, but I’m looking forward to incorporating them into my running more this year!
Kimberly G recently posted…Switching Up My Workout RoutineMy Profile

Abbey Sharp
February 22, 2017 at 12:34 pm

This was really informative. I can’t say that I will be doing a triathlon in the near future, but if I ever do take on that feat, I’ll be coming to you for advice! Thanks for sharing 🙂

February 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Great tips for improvement. I like hill repeats and just about always use the Galloway method in my day to day runs.

Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home
February 22, 2017 at 2:28 pm

I’m not a triathlete but as a runner, I do all of the above. Strength training and targeted exercises (like pushing the prowler) have helped me a lot with hills.
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Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
February 22, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Haha swimming would probably be my weakness but I can’t say that I’d be that great at running either, haha 😉 Points for effort?
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February 22, 2017 at 3:52 pm

Great tips. I would definitely need help with the swimming, though. I’m sure I’d drown! Lol.

Kimberly Hatting
February 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm

I have done all of these (except for the buddy system Fartlek). It’s nice to see them all in one place, and explained well!
Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Three Running WishesMy Profile

February 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Ahhh the run, the only part of triathlon that I don’t struggle with, haha! Great post. I think it’s so important for athletes to realize that not all running workouts are the same!
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Yes, absolutely.

Jodi @ Create Kids Club
February 22, 2017 at 5:18 pm

I live right by a really big hill runners train on. I do as well…. but not 8 times! I am exhausted thinking about that 😉
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:26 pm

I’d like to try to tackle that hill if 8 times is too many! That’d be a great test of wills.

Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner
February 22, 2017 at 7:53 pm

A friend of mine is trying to get me to use the Galloway method. I am a little skeptical but may give it a try
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm

You’re in the same camp with my Hubby, but running next to a group in a race and seeing them maintain his same pace convinced him to try it. He’s now incorporating it into his marathon training on a regular basis. You should totally try incorporating it to see how it works for you.

February 22, 2017 at 8:46 pm

swimming is my weakness! I do all those running workouts except the Galloway method. I love Tabata anything!! 🙂

February 22, 2017 at 8:52 pm

Love this series!

I do the Galloway method pretty exclusively. However, I also do plenty of bridges and fartleks. It’s good to keep things interesting.
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Until recently, I did too. I love Galloway Method.

February 22, 2017 at 11:35 pm

Great information re: running. I’m not big on running but I sure learned a lot!
Chrissy recently posted…7 EASY HEALTHY SLOW COOKER COMFORT MEALSMy Profile

February 22, 2017 at 11:47 pm

This is so great! I love the idea of running by time instead of distance. I’m doing that with ultra training and think I’ll continue after my race.

The buddy track workout sounds so fun!
Clarinda recently posted…Staying Fit in Sin CityMy Profile

Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm

It really makes a difference in the mental aspect of it I think. Some days you have good days and some you don’t, so if you’re pushing too hard to reach a certain distance you may be pushing too hard for that day.

Kathryn @ Dancing to Running
February 23, 2017 at 10:09 am

I’m a huge supporter of the Galloway method, and encourage everybody, especially those starting out or pushing themselves to a new distance, to use it. Its amazing how taking walk breaks can help you build both your endurance and your speed.
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Mariangelica @ Chasing Littles
February 23, 2017 at 10:27 am

Running has never been my cup of tea but thank you for the information! That was really great and will make me more aware!
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 23, 2017 at 4:39 pm

It didn’t used to be mine either. I really owe my love of running now to my Flying Feet Running Club group. I learned to love running because I love running with my friends in the group.

dixya @food, pleasure, and health
February 23, 2017 at 1:24 pm

i could definitely do better with endurance.
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Jill Conyers
February 23, 2017 at 8:24 pm

The swim would be my weakness. Running is my strength. Great post!
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Lisa @ Mile by Mile
February 24, 2017 at 5:28 am

Running has always come pretty easy to me, but I just cant get comfortable with swimming or biking. This is great info!
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Cassandra @ Powered By BLING
February 27, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Running is my husband’s natural ability too. It’s the sport I had to work on the most when I first started and it has really paid off.


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