Work Your Triathlon Weakness Run

Work Your Triathlon Weakness: Run

Welcome to Week 3 of my Work Your Triathlon Weakness series. Each Tuesday this month, I am focusing on one of the four sports of triathlon. Yes, four  – Transition counts. T1 and T2 deserve a little attention too. Over the last two weeks, we’ve discussed the swim and the bike. This week we are focusing on the run.

The funny thing about triathlon is that your weaknesses and your strengths can change depending on how you train. Running used to be my weakness. Now, cycling is my weakness. Why? I joined Flying Feet Running Club and have spent the last two years working consistently on my running.

Just like with anything in life, the more consistently you run, the faster your pace will become. In order to improve your running, you need to follow a training plan that focuses on shorter runs, quality runs and long runs. Coach Dave’s philosophy is that we run by time not by distance. Being consistent in the time we run will naturally improve both our pace and the distance we can cover in that amount of time. This is a great philosophy especially for a beginner runner who may look at having to run a 5K several times per week as an overwhelming idea. Telling someone to run 35 minutes as a beginner is a lot less scary. It doesn’t matter if they can cover 2 miles or 4 miles in that time.

Shorter, Easy Runs – Runs that last between 35-50 minutes a couple times per week

Long Runs – Runs that last between 70-120 minutes.

Quality Runs  – This is where we work on something specific like lactic threshold, sprints, pacing and running with a pack.

Over the years, Coach Dave has introduced us to many resources for runners. Among them is Distance Running Coach, Jeff Daniels who talks quite a bit about easy running and the benefits of incorporating it into your running. Especially as you begin to build your base – we are in base training season afterall – easy running is the foundation for your running the rest of year.


Pick one day in your week to run a quality run. Then, run a quality run on that day every week. Some of these may become your favorites. Others, well, at least they’ll help your running.

Start each of these workouts with a 10-15 minute warmup run and end with a 10 minute cool down. Pick one of the workouts below as your main set for each quality run. 

Hill Repeats. The idea behind hill repeats is to pick an interval, say 8 rounds. Run up the hill. Walk down. Repeat that loops 8 times. Or set your watch for 30 minutes and do hill repeats for time. If you’re an advanced runner, instead of walking down the hill, try lateral shuffles or running backwards. 

Bleacher Runs. This can be done anywhere you have a series of steps at your disposal. High school track. Beach. Museum. You get the point. High school track is my favorite because there are two sets of bleachers and multiple rows on each. Alternate running up one flight, down the next until you’ve crossed the entire set of bleachers. Then, run around the track to the other set, do the same again. Run back to the first set of bleacher s and start over. This can be intense, so if you’re a beginner just aim for completing one set and work your way up. 

Tabata Sprints.  The typical workout consists of 20 seconds of high activity, in this case running, followed by 10 seconds of recovery, run as slow as possible. Repeat this cycle for a total of four minutes (8 rounds). If you cross train, this cycle works for any activity. 

Fartleks. Fartlek is Swedish for “speed play”. This is your license to act like a kid again. Head out on your run, sight something in the distance like a mailbox, a sign, or the top of the hill. Run as fast as you can to that object. Then, slow down to an easy pace to recover. When you’re recovery time is nearing its end, sight for the next object. Continue this for the duration of your run.

Another alternative to this is a buddy system track workout. Stand on the track, back to back. One person should have an object in their hand to use as a baton. The person with the object takes off running while the other person walks. When they meet, they pass the “baton” and the runner begins walking and vice versa. This can be a fun family competition too. 

Run using the Galloway method. Pick an interval you can sustain for the duration of the distance/time you plan to train that day. This can be 30secs run/2 min walk, 2min run/1min walk, 5 min run/1min walk. Follow my Run Walk Run Series to get tips I share from Jeff Galloway.

Specific Distance Repeats at Specific Pace. Pick a Distance and a pace from a pace chart. For example, 8 X 200m repeats with 100m recovery at 10K pace.


What types of running do you incorporate into your run training to help you work on speed, pace and endurance?

Work Your Weakness Run

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Cassandra Burke is a Forensic Scientist by day, and a Group Fitness Instructor, Swim Team Coordinator and Travel Agent by night. A Breast Cancer Survivor since 2010, she writes about her journey as well as her struggles – training for triathlons and races, struggling to get back her health, and balancing family life all while building her brand and finding her purpose after cancer. Subscribe to Cassandra’s newsletter for updates and follow @poweredbybling on social media! For endurance sport race travel and custom family vacation travel, visit her at


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