Adding running races into your triathlon training
Running races are a great way for triathletes to build and improve their run performance and to sometimes break up their offseason training/routine. But choose your race distance carefully as typically every 1km of racing in your legs is around 1 day of full recovery. Running races shouldn’t be implemented into a triathlon training plan too early in the base period of your training. Typically we can slowly introduce running races after a minimum of 8 weeks of mileage, to prevent injury and overreaching so early in the season.
Triathlon is one sport, not 3, and the cumulative fatigue we carry from one discipline to the next affects our overall performance. Entering a race and pinning on a number is a sure way to get the adrenaline pumping and the motivation up, but is also physiologically stressful and draining.
If you tend to race all season long, you will flatten yourself physically and your training will be compromised due to fatigue.
As one of my previous coaches said many years ago “your body is a glass of water, every time you overreach you empty a small amount of water out of the glass. That glass needs to be refilled, otherwise, you have nothing left”
The key to using running races for the buildup is to plan and time these races appropriately in relation to your most important event. Racing too early in the season you will find that the higher intensity will lead to a rapid and premature peak in form.
As you move closer to your key event, entering running races is a key way to tune fitness. Using these races to prepare the body for the demands of racing. Just keep these races specific to what you are looking to accomplish.