Disappointing Race Results

by Bill

I am a 57 year old male that has been doing triathlons since late 2006. I have done about 40 tris (sprint to HIM distance) since then. Gradually I have become competitive and will generally finish top 3 in local races and top third in regional races.

I would like some advice on how to change my training given the following circumstance:

I just finished the IM70.3 Galveston April 1. After completing a good swim and bike (I was 11/63 coming out of T2) I could only run ~40 mins before I had to start walking. I need more run strength but don't know how to get it.

For this last race, I followed an full IM training plan and figured that if I could complete at least 70% of the volume for all disciplines, I would be more than ready (actually did 82%). Well, I had a poorer run this year than last but with the same issue; no leg strength to run. Just have to walk...

Since December I had averaged 13 hrs/wk (19% swim/48% bike/28% run/balance strength). I train year round with intermittent down time.

Can you offer any suggestions?

Intelligent Triathlon Training replies:

If your off the bike run is not very close to your straight run performance, then the problem is usually the bike. Many people in this situation get better and better at run training and then still underperform in triathlon.

Ultimately the reason you are having to slow down is fatigue, or un-availability of energy (burnt all your carb supplies). It sounds more like muscular fatigue, which probably means you are riding at an intensity that is too high, leaving you no residual energy for the run.

You have two main options.

  1. Slow down on the bike a little and run to your potential thus maybe a better overall time.

  2. Improve your bike fitness by increasing your LT1 speed and improving your endurance at LT1 (how long you can sustain this speed for). Doing both of these will enable you to post the same or faster bike split, but without the fatigue you have accumulated and therefore leaving you room to run effectively.

You may also want to include a muscular endurance run session. Many people refer to strength, however in endurance sport, strength is relatively un-important, what they are usually describing is muscular endurance (ME).

These runs can be done on hilly or flat routes, but are performed at an uncomfortably comfortable pace. i.e. about straight ½ marathon pace (a little slower if you are quite quick over the ½). These can also be part of longer run i.e. 90-min run with 40-min at ME pace, and they can be done off the bike.

Build up the duration you do at this uncomfortably comfortable pace over several weeks. For more information have a read of our improving run endurance pages.

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