Is Your Swim Or Bike Strength Hurting Your Run?

  • By Jené Shaw
  • Published Jun 16, 2014
Photo: Maxisport /

Counteract your swim/bike dominance with these tips:

„Restore posture. “Triathlon is a hotbed for postural fatigue,” McGee says. “The swim beats you up real good, and the bike finishes you off. So what you’re left with is a wet noodle for a spine between your rib cage and your pelvis.” After swimming and biking in training, regain posture, range of motion and neuromuscular patterning with a few exercises: Try heel walks with running shoes on after swimming, or a quick-feet drill emphasizing a downward thrust after cycling.

„Run frequently. Plain and simple, McGee says: “Great runners become great runners because they run a lot.” Consider a block of 7–10 days where you run every day, keeping workouts short but frequent (as opposed to volume)—frequency builds skill.

„Work on muscular endurance. “What’s holding a triathlete back at the end of a race is not the lack of cardiovascular fitness,” McGee says. “They just can’t pick up their legs anymore; their legs are shot.” Instead of a junky 30- to 60-minute run with poor form, do some race-pace strides of 100–200 meters, with 30–60 seconds of walking recovery between each. Hold your form as you would when fresh. Short, sharp hill repeats at race effort with good form will also be hugely beneficial.

„Focus on power, not strength. “You can hold a plank for three minutes, but that doesn’t help your running,” McGee says. Considering your foot is on the ground for less than a third of a second during a stride, your supporting muscles need to be powerful and fire proactively, i.e. before your foot makes contact. Instead of just a plank, do a plank while bouncing up and down or do some consecutive hops or bounds. Be careful to build up to these with static bouncing on a forgiving surface and good footwear.

RELATED: Understanding Your Natural Running Pace

 Join in the conversation about everything swim, bike and run. “Like” us on Facebook.

« Previous

FILED UNDER: Run / Training

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw

Jené Shaw is a contributor for Triathlete magazine, a six-time Ironman finisher and a USAT Level 1 certified coach

Sign up for our free e-newsletter, SBR Report!

Subscribe to the FREE Triathlete newsletter