With the swim and bike prep behind us, the only event left to train for is the 5K portion of your sprint triathlon. Since running is the simplest of sports – the only equipment required is a pair of running shoes – we just need to put one foot in front of the other and away we go.
8-Week Sprint Triathlon Training: Run Portion
Week 1: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 20 min.
Week 2: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 35 min.
Week 3: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 40 min.
Week 4: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 20 min.
Week 5: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 45 min.
Week 6: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 50 min.
Week 7: Wednesday – Run 20 min. and Strength Train, Saturday –Run 35 min.
Week 8: Wednesday – Run 20 min., Sunday – RACE DAY.
If you are a novice, begin with a run/walk if necessary to build stamina. Start by running for two or three minutes and then walking for the same amount of time. As you get fitter, increase your runs and shorten your walks.
Essential Gear for Running
- A good pair of running sneakers.
- Comfortable running clothes and, for women, a good athletic bra for support.
- Optional: A GPS watch or smart phone with GPS pedometer app; or even just a regular old digital watch to help track your time and miles.
Laying the foundation: Brick Workouts
It is important to add combinations – such as back-to-back bike or swim and run training – to your regime for a multi-race competition. This practice is called Brick workouts. Bricks are very important because they prepare racers for the sensation of your legs feeling heavy and sluggish when you transition from event to event on race day. Also, some experts believe that by running even a short distance after a long swim or bike ride can help your legs recover faster.
Finding your Strength
Cross-training to prepare for a sprint triathlon is important; but, incorporating strength training – at least one exercise for each muscle group – once or twice a week is critical as well. I mix it up with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) one day and BodyPump another. Light weights and high reps work best for runners and this is true for triathletes too.
Why I Keep Coming Back for More
Most individuals on the sprint triathlon circuit started as runners and I am no exception. I was ready for a break in the monotony of running, and training for this multi-sport event has afforded me the opportunity to get into the best shape of my life. However, there is nothing compared to the euphoric feeling of crossing the finish line after a half-mile swim, 10 mile bike ride and 5K run. It is an addiction that keeps me coming back for more.