7 Secrets to Running Well Off The Bike (and a free workout)

7 Secrets to Running Well Off The Bike (and a free workout)

Running well off the bike is critical to having a great triathlon, so let’s look at a few things that can help you with that run after you are finished with the bike.


  • Practice running off the bike! I’m a believer that the more often you run off the bike, the easier it gets. These don’t have to be long runs at all. I often have my athletes run easy for 10 minutes after a long bike, because that’s about how long it takes to get your “legs.” Turn a few of your bike workouts brick workouts where you get in 10 to 15 minutes easy running immediately after your bike session.


  • Ride your bike. With this I mean that the stronger you are for the distance you will be racing on the bike, the less it will take out of you, leaving your legs stronger for the run. And since the majority of your time in a tri is spent on the bike, it can’t hurt to put some extra focus on your bike fitness.


  • Get in Race Pace efforts in training off the bike. In my first point I mentioned easy running. But if we only run easy, we don’t get the same feeling we will get in your race. Make sure you have training workouts where you hit race pace off the bike. Again, these don’t have to be long, as you will have running workouts that focus on run fitness, but know what it feels like to run at race pace for at least a couple miles off the bike.


  • Train for the speed you want to race. The only way to have a fast run (whatever your “fast” is) off the bike, is to make sure your run fitness is there. So make sure your training plan addresses speed in stand-alone run workouts.


  • Strengthen the core, hips and glutes. If the muscles that hold you up and power your bike and run fatigue, no matter your cardiovascular fitness, your run form will suffer. If your form falls apart, you could become more prone to injury. Strengthen that core and do some hip/glute strengthening as well to keep you strong until the finish line.


  • Work on run technique. Another critical step to a great run is to make sure you’ve got good run technique. Dynamic warm-ups and skill drills that help adapt your body to its most efficient running form will make you a stronger runner, and therefore run stronger off the bike.


  • Visualize running strong at the end of your race. We can train our bodies, but if we don’t train our minds to handle the “discomfort” of racing, then we won’t do our best. Take some time each week to visualize a strong finish to your run in your race. One where you don’t fade at the end but instead pick up the pace and leave everything on the course. By “running” through this scenario before your race, you’ll be more likely to have a similar situation in your race.


Why don’t I finish this post with a bike-run brick workout to get you running (and biking) strong?!
It’s one you might do in your build phase for an Olympic/International distance race.


Bike (90 minutes):


  • 15 minutes easy build to moderate.   <—warm-up
  • 10x 30s on/30s off (on=moderately easy gear, high cadence >100rpm; off=easy gear recovery)  <—open up the legs, get the heart rate up
  • 10 minutes moderate effort  <–aerobic riding to finish warm-up before next efforts
  • 3×10 minutes “race pace” with 5 minutes recoveries <—-Olympic distance race pace effort would be near lactate threshold (power or hr) or RPE* 7-8 (hard) on a 1-10 scale.
  • 10 minutes moderate  <— finish at a steady pace, but not a cool down RPE 5-6
  • **Transition to run as fast as possible** (practice how you would do it on race day)


Run (30 minutes):
  • 10 minutes at target race pace  <—practice starting at your race pace
  • 10 minutes moderate <—quick break to run at aerobic effort
  • 10 minutes at target race pace  <—finish strong at race pace
  • Cool down with some easy jogging then walking, then stretch and remember to hydrate and eat some good food!


If you’ve got any questions or want to share your favorite workout to help you nail the run off the bike, just drop them in the comments section below!


 Happy Training and Racing!
–Coach Nicole
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Nicole Odell



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