As my season finally kicks off after an early injury I really want to hold myself accountable. I feel like I jumped the gun and really did more harm than good this year. Blogging about what I'm doing and what I'm focusing on, helps me stay on track and really see what I'm doing. You will be seeing a few more link ups in the near future so stay tuned!
This week's Tri Talk Tuesday topic is about "The Run" ... my favorite topic! I've been a life long runner. I fell in love very early and started running in middle school. It's never really been something I disliked or struggled with until I started racing in triathlon. I'm not the fasted kid alive and I sure ain't racing for first place in any run, but in triathlon, I find myself struggling just to keep running. It's so frustrating! I realize that my body is tired after swimming and biking, but I also believe that you can train for just about anything and find a way to do it.
Here are a few things I have learned (the hard way) about the run leg of triathlon:
1) If you don't know how to ride the bike portion (correctly), your legs are going to be JELLO when you start the run. What I mean is, cycling for long periods of time (especially in high gear) can create excessive work for your legs creating lactic acid build up. Lactic acid build up creates burning legs, muscle aches and fatigue. As athletes we're drawn to push our limits, but in any endurance sport it's more about pacing yourself to prevent this build up. In my first triathlon I rode the entire bike leg in the highest gear because I felt like I was going faster. When I got off the bike to run into transition it felt like my legs were locked in place. By the time I got my running shoes on and out of transition I literally could not keep my legs stable beneath me. It felt like I was running on two noodles. Learn to pace yourself and save some legs for the run!
2) Practice your bike to run transition! When you swim for 30+ minutes and then bike for 60+ minutes, your going to be tired, no matter how you spin it. Practicing the transition from bike to run really helps your body learn how to recover and adapt those running muscles after a long ride. You need to teach your legs how to carry you when they are tired. The fist 10 minutes of your run are essential to your pace. If you can practice getting off the bike and into a good run pace on tired legs, you've just set yourself up for a great run and race finish.
3) Speaking of pacing....gadgets are your friend! I have a Garmin Forerunner 110 that was gifted to me a few years ago and I now feel like it's an essential part of my run. Typically, by the end of any triathlon I'm so tired that I'm either running AND walking to keep my heart rate down or I'm continuously running until my heart rate shoots sky high and I cant breathe. I've found that using my garmin during the run leg allows me to see where my heart rate is and how I'm pacing. It helps me keep a stready pace!
4) Decent tri shorts or a triathlon suit are essential. I've never been a cyclist and until I started to get into triathlon I never even heard of chamios before. As we know, I'm also to biggest cheap-o in Texas. My first tri, I raced in a walmart one piece layered under padded bike shorts that looked like a diaper (pictured above). Seriously, my tooshie had a tooshie (first pic below). I found them at an outlet store for just a few dollars and they looked like what I had seen in cycling pictures. The trouble here was that all that padding retained a TON of water not to mention they were not meant for swimming so they took forever to dry. Even after I finished the bike portion, my shorts were still wet. When I got off the bike for my run my butt cheeks were chaffed. Then as I started the run my thighs were rubbing together like two pieces of sand paper. Between all the heavy padding, the moisture, the chaffed toosh and now newly chaffed legs I looked like a running duck. I waddled the whole run. I now race in either a tri suit or tri shorts which have a thinner chamios and are usually made of thin quick drying material. No more chaffing for this tooshie!
5) Finally (and most important) get good shoes! If you've read any of my posts in the last month or so you know that old shoes or poorly fitted shoes can lead to injury. Even if you feel like your shoes are a good fit but you have never been fitted...go! Any shoe can feel comfortable for the first 30-40 miles. Over time though, poorly fitted shoes can wreak havoc on your muscles and legs.
Well friends I hope your all having a great week! I've got some fun stuff coming up in this month and hope to share it with you. My first tri of the season is in two weeks EEEKKKK!!! Stayed tuned!