Running well ‘off the bike’ is a critical component to triathlon racing. Most triathletes practice this skill by simply heading out for a 10+ minute run after completing their bike ride, a couple times of week. The pace is typical slow and not much thought has been put into the run other than the fact that their ‘running off the bike’. This is kind of transition run, while better than none, is not very helpful.
The point of running off the bike to train for what you will experience on race day. Most racers don’t jump off the bike, transition, and then leisurely run out of T2 to start the final leg of their race. Most racers want to fly through transition, and blast out of T2 feeling fast and confident for the run ahead. If this is how you want to race, then you must practice it in training! Instead of plodding through your transition runs, get yourself up to speed with some structured fast running as you run off the bike.
There are a myriad of ways you can structure a ‘run off’ and here is one of my favorites, short and sweet, but gets the point across…
After a solid 2-hour interval ride, transition as quickly as possible to the following run:
1:00-3:00 build to ‘find your running legs’
5-10x[1:00 fast + 1:00 easy] (where fast is race pace, easy is a slow jog)
add any amount of extra aerobic running as desired
finish with a 5:00 walking warm-down
The goal here is to get you used to getting up to speed right away off the bike.
Finding your fast paced running cadence and rhythm after a fatiguing bike ride is not easy, but it is a highly trainable skill.
The ITU athletes have this skill mastered and all others triathletes can stand to improve in this area. Get to work!