Often a podium finish or a race PR comes down to the triathlon run. An athlete may have an incredible swim and bike but fall apart on the run because they went out too hard on the previous two legs.


Finishing your triathlon with a strong run can be one of the most challenging parts of the sport of triathlon.  From newbies to seasoned vets, everyone has a tendency to perform poorly on the run leg of the triathlon on occasion.


So how can we train for our race day run and then run in the most efficient manner on race day? We turned to our all3sports elite team to ask them for their best race tips for training and racing strong on the run.


A strong run starts on the bike. It may seem counter-intuitive but if you want to run strong, then work on being a strong cyclist. Team member Stephanie Liles offers this advice, ‘to run strong off the bike, you must develop bike strength so your legs aren’t fatigued on the run.’. The often-overlooked key to this strategy is to bike hold back on your bike rather than going all out. If you are a stronger cyclist than your race day performance would indicate then you’ll have a lot left in your legs when you get to the run portion of the race. Most people will ride at 75-90% of what they are capable of on the bike depending on the race distance (closer to the 75% for an Ironman and 90% for a sprint).

Professional triathlete, Justin Park adds that the benefit of a strong bike is not only related to stronger legs, but to a stronger aerobic engine as well. 'Success in your run begins on your ride, the more aerobic capacity you have as a rider, the more energy you'll have available for the run'.


BRICK - often! A brick is a triathlon word for ‘Bike and Run’. Most athletes have incorporated these into their training at some point. If you haven’t, then it’s time to start. Depending on your race distance, you’ll want to incorporate 1-2 Bricks into your weekly training. One after your long ride and one after a shorter, more intense ride. These will help train your legs for that heavy feeling that athletes often have in their first few miles off the bike.  

Another tip for your brick workouts is to train like you’re going to race. If you know you’ll have a hilly run course, incorporate hills into your brick workouts. Most of us start our run a little too hard out of transition, so train by going out at a strong effort and then backing off to the appropriate pace. The more you use the bricks for physical and mental training, the better you will perform on race day.


Train like a Runner! As a  former Division II Cross-Country runner and all-conference athlete, Brandon Krout is familiar with what it takes to go fast over long distances. His advice to triathletes is to train like a runner during your run workouts. Your long runs are important but your week should also contain intervals, fartleks, track workouts, hills and recovery runs (not all in the same week)! Know your goal as you go into each running session and execute that goal.


Incorporate some of these run tips into your training and evaluate your next race. Were you able to run at a stronger pace? How did your legs feel? Did you cramp up? Have other tips for us? Then share them in the comments!

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