Created On: 27 February 2011

As we start to seriously think about the 2011 season, it's time to plan and enter your races and review your goals for the year.  Many triathletes spend their time focussing on swim technique meaning that the running gets a little neglected.  Steve Lloyd from Absolute Triathlon Coaching discusses how you can get your running race ready.

Hopefully you've built your running up gradually over the start of the winter and now is the time to not only increase the distance you are running but also to add some intensity and work on your technique and strength. Although the majority of your running at this time of year should still be at a comfortable pace (around 75% MHR and 12-13 Rate of Perceived Exertion) you should add some short spells of higher intensity. This can be done by doing some fartlek sessions (unstructured interval runs) where you run steady for a period and then hard for a period. It doesn't have to be the same length of time but could be between lamp posts, roads or land marks but the important thing is that the hard sections are either the same length or shorter than the easy sections, don't worry you have plenty of time to change this ratio as the season draws near. Another way to add intensity is via interval sessions which are a little more structured in the lengths of the harder sections but again make sure the rest period is equal too or greater than the harder sections. Don't be tempted to make the harder sessions flat out, build on the intensity of the runs you've done over the winter so that you don't suddenly over stress the body but also allow for progression as the season approaches.

Adding some hill work at this time of year is a great idea; it not only builds strength in the legs when running up hill but if you relax on the way down it allows a faster turnover in the legs to help build speed. The other thing you can do is some specific drills running up hill, for example knee raises, strides and fast feet which will increase strength but also get the fast twitch muscles fibres working before you really start the speed work approach at the start of the season.

This is also the ideal time to really spend some time working on your technique. There are numerous drills that you can do and although some are better than others - think about why you are doing a particular drill, what are you trying to develop / achieve and ensure you focus on it properly. It is far more sensible to do a smaller number of drills for a shorter period focusing on good technique rather than rushing through countless drills that aren't doing you any good.

Key things to work on when doing drills:

  • Relax the arms but make sure you work them backwards and forward to help propulsion. Try not to let them cross the body too much.
  • Keep the body upright, especially around the pelvis area. If you find you are weak here concentrate on some core stability exercises such as 'the plank'.
  • Drive the knees high, this will naturally increase stride length but also help the foot land more on the ball of the foot rather than the heel.
  • Run quietly, this may sound odd but try and get the feet to land softly on the ground, this will again help the foot to land more on the ball and also decrease the amount of contact with the ground.

If you wrk on the above during March this should mean you are ready to do some track work or more specific interval work prior to the start of the season.

The above details are for your guidance; if you would like any further information Absolute Triathlon would be more than happy to help.  We can be contacted on tel.0115 9607912, e-mail: or please visit our website at  We offer a variety of training sessions across the week from our base in Bestwood, Nottingham and are also able to work with you on an individual basis providing customised training programmes designed specifically for you, 1-2-1 sessions including swim analysis and specialist bike fitting.

Tags: news,run,beginners,training


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