PRESIDENT OF TRIATHLON AUSTRALIA & SIS AMBASSADOR
Spend the money on good running shoes
Our bodies are far too accustomed to sitting these days so running can be fraught with injuries and niggles. The right running shoes can help alleviate many of the issues people face when starting out. What works for your friend won’t necessarily be the right option for you so take some time to try them on, get good advice and find what works best for your feet and body. Yes they can be expensive but rest assured that a physiotherapist is even more expensive!
Invest in a good sports bra
Whilst this is mainly for the ladies out there, gents, could take a leaf out of this advice too on wearing appropriate apparel. The force that is generated through running means our entire body is impacted. For the ladies, that means we need a well fitting, supportive sports bra to ensure we minimise any damage being done. There are so many different styles now and they look fantastic so invest in quality and you’ll be thankful you did.
Don’t run fast all the time
Like people who swim for hours on end at the same speed, when running we want variety. The general rule is to go further you need to go slower. And distance comes before speed every time. So if you want to work up to running 10km and you’re running 1km further each week of your program, then your speed should drop slightly to allow your body to build the big engine it needs to keep up. Once you’ve built that big engine to be sure you can cover the distance, then you can work on getting there faster.
Run off the bike
Boy does this get overlooked. From a simple physiological point of view, your muscle use between bike and run are different so you are asking you body to switch its use very quickly, under fatigue. Learning to understand what that feels like, how long it takes for your body to “get your run legs” and to mentally work your way through that should not be left to race day. Even if it is just 1km off the bike, take the opportunity to get that practice in as often as you can.
Just start, no matter how slow it feels
You don’t need to get fit to start running. You just need to run. Every single little bit you do gets you closer to your goal so don’t put it off, just do it. Some days you’ll feel like you can’t even walk but once you start and your legs warm up, you’ll be surprised by how much you can achieve. No matter how slow you go, you are still going faster than if you were sitting on the couch so be proud of yourself for that.
It never gets any easier, you just get faster
Running is hard. It requires effort and your body suffers through it. But it also releases huge endorphins into the body and is great for our mood so don’t be disheartened when it still feels difficult months into your plan. Chances are you are running further and faster than you were at the beginning. Don’t be afraid of some reflection and perspective to help you realise that hard work brings results.
Don’t run every day
Unless you are very experienced, have a very good plan and are under the guidance of a coach. Your body needs rest to be able to benefit from the work you have been putting in. Without it and your risk profile escalates tremendously. As a triathlete you have the advantage of lots of other activities to choose from so make sure you alternate your efforts.