Combining Triathlon and Half-Marathon Training

by Jack
(Cape Coral, FL)

I currently am a runner who is doing 1/2 marathons for this race season, October through April in SWFL.

I ride my bike 10 - 15 miles twice a week or so.

I'm confused as to what I should do for the triathlon training which I hope to do in March and still be able to do my 13.1 training through the season.

Any tips would be great!! Thank you in advance!

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

You would be amazed at the number of runners who gain a lot when training for a 1/2 marathon by increasing the amount of bike riding they do!

Bike training actually complements long endurance running if done properly. The main thing is to not ride too hard. If you knuckle down and do lots of hard interval sessions it will have a negative effect on your running. The reason for the gains is the cardiovascular engine is developed to a greater extent through cycling, which because it is lower impact than running means you are able to do more and therefore get a greater CV effect.

If the running is your priority and triathlons are a bit of fun, try to get the majority of your runs in before you ride (assuming you will do both in one day).

This will protect the technical and neuromuscular side of running and maintain your efficiency. Running with cycling-tired legs is a good thing for regular triathletes but can have negative effects on runners.

In order to make these improvements and to help with your triathlon training try to build the duration of your rides up to about 90 minutes to 2 hours but keep the pace nice and steady (if you use a heart rate monitor keep it down to less than 70 - 75% Max HR) for most of the time.

You may find that after a few weeks of this your legs feel quite heavy, so make sure you have time where you do less and let them recover. As you get more used to it this will become less of a problem. You may even substitute a medium duration run for a bike to allow your running legs to recover a bit, especially if you get injured or are a little injury prone.

When you get a little closer to your triathlons, try including a run straight after the bike. It doesn’t need to be too long (10-30 minutes) but it will help you to get used to the heavy legs associated with this combination. If you don’t you are likely to find that in the race you under-perform in the run.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask The Triathlon Coach.

 Be Coached By Intelligent Triathlon Training!

 Achilles injury? Our e-book will get you back running pain-free

Sign Up Below
To get free triathlon training tips,
news and ITT site updates, and a
FREE Training Planner!
Find out more

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

Bikes & Reviews

Wetsuits & Reviews

Beginner Triathlete