The Shift from Triathlon Training to Run Training

For the past 7 years I have been a triathlete. The only run training I did was the minimum required to bring me to the finish line after swimming and biking. I finished my fourth Ironman still unhappy with my marathon running ability. My short distance running has made huge advances in the past 3 years but my long distance i.e. marathon running has not.

2005 Tri PR 5km time: (first year racing - no run races only tri's)
Tri: 31:36
2006 Tri PR 5km and 6.6 mile (longest distance ever run) and Run PR 5km times:
Tri: 29:31 / 1:21:23 Run: 29:37
2007 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1mile and Run 5km / 20km
Tri: 27:44 / 1:10:45 / 2:39:31 Run: 28:22 / 2:14:05
2008 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1mile and Run 5km / 5 mile / 10km  / X-Marathon
Tri: 27:52 / 1:13:29 / 2:41:53 Run: 30:13 / 43:13 / 55:43 / 5:12:37

***Highlighted times are after my 1st marathon. I didn't change anything about how I ran. The only thing I realized after running/walking a marathon was how short and easy 5km was. I broke a mental barrier.

2009 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1 / 26.2 and Run 5km / 8km / 10km / 15km / 20km / 13.1 and 26.2
Tri: 25:52 / 52:53 / 2:03:56 / 4:45:23 and Run: 24:12 / 41:14 / 50:12 / 1:20:10 / 1:55:22 / 4:15:18
2010 Tri 5km / 10km / 13.1 / 26.2 and Run 1 mile / 5km / 10km / 13.1
Tri: 24:01 / 50:35 / 1:50:25 / 4:26:55 and Run: 6:26 / 22:06 / 46:14 / 1:46:09
2011 Tri 5km / 10km / 26.2 and Run 5km / 10km
Tri: 23:06 / 47:56 / 4:43:24 and Run: 21:45 / 45:39

2009 is when I joined Gulf Winds Track and Tri club. 2010 and the beginning of 2011 is when I had a Tri coach: Ian Briggs of Tri3Sports.      

2005: 1st Triathlon - Mad Dog
2011: Red Hills Triathlon

I am into my third week of training for a Marathon as a runner. This approach is brand new to me since I have always been a triathlete who was forced to run in order to finish the race. 

Three weeks in and I already have a much better appreciation for runners. Before, my max runs a week would be 4. Most time I only ran 2-3 times per week. I have had two weeks now with a 5 and a 6 times a week run.....and I LOVE IT. It feels easier to get up and run each day. Let me explain why I think this is:
For the triathletes: you know when you miss a few swims or you haven't been in the pool for a few days, that first day back is always hard. You feel dead, your form feels off, it takes a while to get into the rhythm.

That is how I used to feel about running. The difference now, with every run I feel more and more comfortable. I feel I am finding my pace, my stride, and my form better. 

I look forward to the challenges ahead and I am excited to face this new obstacle. I will keep blogging about my training and keep you all posted on my progress. Till then, see you all on the trails but I am still going to hold on to the pool and road, just not as often. Happy Running!

What makes the swim so challenging?

St. Anthony's Triathlon M30-34 2008

Swimming is the first discipline during a triathlon. Distances can vary from ¼ of a mile for a sprint to 2.4 miles for a full Ironman. Swimming locations can vary from a pool, to open water. Open water swims tend to cause the most fear and dislike for many triathletes. In open water (lakes, rivers, and oceans) conditions can vary from calm or choppy water with waves and swells, to still water or water with currents, the water can be warm or cold. Environmental factors play a big role in the reason why athletes are scared of the swim. Other factors are the pure nature of the swim; it can be the most violent part of the race. Many swims take place in small areas with heavy bodily contact between participants making it very hard to concentrate and think about the correct swimming technique. Oh and we can’t forget about wildlife interactions. Every level of swimmer can work on different aspects of their swimming to make open water swims more enjoyable and less challenging. For beginning swimmers being comfortable in the water is the biggest goal, for intermediate swimmers improving technique and increasing strength for faster swim times and for the advanced swimmer strategy and drafting skills can be taught to improve their race results.

Ironman Florida 2009

Being comfortable in the water, improving technique and learning strategy is very important and can make the swim not as challenging. In order to do that, there are several important parts of the freestyle stroke that all swimmers should know and understand how to perform.

Breaking Down Freestyle Swimming Technique

Breathing and body position:
-         Swimmers should NOT hold their breath. A constant exhale through the nose and mouth should be visible while the swimmer has their face in the water.
-         Bi-lateral breathing (breathing on both side of the body) is very critical in open water. It helps maintain a straight line and also helps to not overdevelop one side. During ocean swims, being able to breath on both sides can be important because of waves, swells and chop.
-         Neutral buoyancy is the key to maintaining a streamline position.
-         Core strength drives body position
-         Maximum rotation is about 45 degrees to each side

Arm motion:
Recovery: Phase when the arm exits the water
-         Keep the arm relaxed during recovery
-         Elbow remains high and drives the forearm forward
-         Keep the fingers relaxed and pointed down to the water
-         Drop the arm into the water almost fully extended in front of your shoulder

Catch: The phase after the arm enters the water
-         Starts with an upward sweep of the hand
-         Drop the forearm
-         Keep the elbow high
-         Fingers should point to the bottom of the pool

-         The overall pattern should look like a question mark
-         Do NOT cross the center line of the body during the pull
-         Fingertips should remain pointed down
-         Elbow remains high
-         Fingers should be relaxed not stiff
-         Finish with a full push through to the mid-thigh

-         Maintain a well balanced kick
-         Do NOT overpower the body
-         Keep the kick aligned with the body
-         Only allow the heels of your feet to break the surface
-         Make sure your kick is originated from the hip with a relaxed knee and pointed toes.

Here is a great video that emphasises all the phases of correct swimming technique.

Look for future posts on Freestyle Drills and Swim Training to help your swimming technique. For further information or information about swimming lessons please contact or follow TriAttic on Facebook and Twitter.