Thursday, May 30, 2013

Triathlon 101: The Run

For me, this is where the race really begins.  This is where I am 100% comfortable.  I think that's probably the case for many first time triathletes as so many of them seem to come from a running background.

This is also the least complicated part of the race.  You don't have to worry about drafting, or wearing a helmet etc.  All you need are your running shoes and a covered up torso and you're ready to go.  You also need to make sure your bib number on visible.  The majority of races in Ontario are held in or around conservation areas so the run course is generally a combination of packed gravel or dirt trail (not anything crazy) and pavement so be prepared to run on a couple of different surfaces.  Normal running shoes are totally fine.  Personally I prefer something that is a bit lighter weight than my normal running shoes.  I wear the Mizuno Wave Riders for my longer training runs and then I'll race short distance stuff in my Saucony Kinvaras. 

My Saucony's with my Lock Laces
 One of the best things you can purchase to make your bike to run transition a whole lot smoother are "race laces", also known as Lock Laces.  I have been using these for years in my triathlon racing shoes.  They allow you to pull your shoes on quickly without having to fiddle worry about tying or untying your shoes.  Pure genius.  I'd say that having these laces in your shoes could probably shave at least 30 seconds off your T2 time.

The bike to run transition usually doesn't require much gear change other than removing your helmet and cycling shoes (if you're wearing them) putting your running shoes on and maybe grabbing a hat or a visor.  I usually wear a visor on the run and I will put that on as I'm on my way out of transition.  It doesn't make sense to stand around and put that on when I could be moving. 

Your legs are going to feel like a sack of hammers when you start running, there's no other way of putting it.  They're going to feel heavy and you're probably going to think why the hell can't I run?  That feeling will go away.  You've just gone from using one set of muscles on the bike to another completely different set of muscles on the run so your legs are going to be confused.   I usually start to feel better at about 3-4 minutes into my run.  Some people can run out of transition full tilt and others take a little while to get going.  It all depends on how much you've practiced running off the bike in your training.  Brick training is key to getting used to the feeling.  The more runs you do off the bike, the quicker your legs will adapt to the change.

Just like on the bike, stay as far to the right as possible so people can pass.  If you are going to pass someone, you don't have to say on your left as most of the time, people can hear you coming but it doesn't hurt to do so either.   There are no penalties for drafting on the run so if it's windy and you can duck behind someone to conserve some energy, by all means do so!  Just be sure to thank them when you pass them.  :) 

Some things you might need for the run:

A hat or a visor:  If it's hot, you'll want the protection.  I use a visor mainly to keep my hair in place but on hot days, I find it much more comfortable than wearing a hat and I don't have to fuss with getting a pony tail through a hole, I just plop it on top of my head, pull it down and I'm good to go.

Sunglasses:  Not an absolute necessity but I like to keep the sun out of my eyes as much as possible so I wear them.

Water and electrolyte beverages are always served on the course so you don't need to bring anything with you, especially if you're racing a short distance.

The most important thing you can bring with you on a the run is a smile.  You're on the last leg of a race and you're that much closer to finishing your first triathlon!  All good reasons to smile!

Next up later on this week:  Transitions!  Tips on how to get out of your wetsuit quickly & how to lay everything out so you're not scrambling.   This post will probably be my first v-log so stay tuned for that!




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