Over the winter, you’ve spend most of your training in zone one to boost your aerobic base. But if you continue to train at this intensity, you’ll just become good at running relatively slowly. So now is the time to build speed on that aerobic foundation, which means not only extending session duration, but also integrating a number of high-intensity sessions.
Because of its weight-bearing nature, however, running is the most injury-prone discipline in triathlon. That’s why we need to take extra care when raising the intensity…
The art of high-intensity running is to know what the key sessions are; when best to apply them; and the warning signs to look out for when you’re close to a dangerous training overload.
That last factor is the result of not balancing the first two correctly. You see, your leg muscles and ankles go through an increased range of movement when you run faster or when ascending/descending hills, leading to greater stress on your limbs. Repetition of this greater load can result in overuse and over- reaching injuries.
So what do you need to do each week? We’d recommend you maintain one long run session for a sound endurance base, but mix up your ‘other’ runs with your choice from the workouts below. These sessions will power up your triathlon running, while the variety keeps things fresh. Finally, to lower the chances of injury, where possible we’d recommend running high-intensity sessions on softer terrain.
40min run over a looped course that includes multiple 200m downhill fast-feet intervals. Easy jog recoveries back down the hill or a looped course is required here, to give a 1-2min easy running recovery period. Running uphill increase the leg power at a relatively low impact. It will improve uphill running ability in races and raise your oxygen uptake.
DOWNHILL HIGH CADENCE
30min run, using 10 x 8sec efforts with 2mins running in between, using subtle downhill inclines, either on a looped course or as a series of repeats. This trains the nervous system to fire at a higher rate, like higher cadence cycling, in order to improve leg speed.
10min indoor cycle followed by a relaxed 5min run. Then intervals of 3 x (7min bike and 3min run efforts). Possibilities are almost endless when mixing two sports, but a simple series of bike and run efforts lets you play with pace and priority of effort.
Once warmed up, throw in 5-10sec increases in pace – but not maximal sprints – either with a set steady-state run period or in a random pattern. Have no less than 2mins between the bursts of speed.
- High-intensity run training is necessary. But find the right balance of intensity before you risk injury.
- Listen to your body and tweak both intensity and recovery to avoid injury.