Guest post from Skin Strong professional triathlete Angi Axmann
Triathletes are lucky as far as training goes. We have so much variety in our sport. Every week involves hours of swimming, biking, running, but also strength training, maybe plyometrics, depending on the time of the year. Many successful triathletes incorporate running events into their season, others wonder why. We are triathletes, not runners. Yes, but if you become a better runner, you will most likely become a better triathlete…or not? Here are some reasons and tips on why and when to incorporate running races into your training:
Support your community
As endurance athletes we all wish for a community to live in that supports endurance sports. Events like local runs are the perfect event to participate in and help support the community. More racers in the race means the event will most likely return the next year and other events might be added. There is no need to “race” every running event, you can just jump in and go the pace you would like.
During the winter months I catch myself being very unsocial, meaning I do my 4-5 hr rides by myself, I run my 1-2 hr runs by myself.Let’s be honest, exercising by yourself for that long can simply get boring. So why not enter a local running race and incorporate it into your long run? No matter if it is a 5 k or a 10 k, replace the middle or the end of your long run with the running event and I bet that long run just became a lot more fun. Again, there is no need to run faster then what your training plan asks for.
Running races as a benchmark
When my base phase is over, I like to see where I am at. The best way for me to do that is to run in a local 5 k, 10 k or even half marathon and see what my time is. Running with a competitive group of people allows me to run faster then I would on my own and I can really push myself. I base the following training week’s running times off that performance. Throughout the season I include running races to see how I am progressing.
“I could have gone a lot faster”. Have you ever caught yourself saying this sentence after a race? I sure have. Now the next question is: “Why didn’t you go faster?” Not only do we invest a lot of money into entry fees for triathlon, equipment and nutrition, but we also train for a long time for one specific event. Off course we want that race to be perfect, without any mistakes. And most of the time we hold back just a little bit, because we want to make sure we make it to the finish line. I try to eliminate that fear of “blowing up” by simply entering a running race and going all out. As fast as I can. This event can be a 5 k or a 10 k (everything longer causes too much wear on my body J). I take mile splits, but during the race I do not look at my watch. After the race I evaluate my pace. I go by feeling, which means at any point of that race I am slightly uncomfortable. Most of the time I surprise myself and I end up running a fast time without “blowing up”. This time and knowing that I can endure that not-so-great feeling for 5 or 10 k opens up doors for my triathlon racing. I end up pushing myself harder on those last miles in a race, because I know I can.
Try new equipment
Entering a running race is a great way to test new equipment, from new shoes to new shorts. Since I don’t want to risk blisters and chafing that can be painful for weeks, I use Skinstrong Slik and Dust. Skinstrong Dust goes right into my racing shoes, Slik goes pretty much everywhere else on my body!!! There is no need to risk being in pain when using new equipment, but it is a good idea to try new shoes or shorts out in a race situation.
Happy training — happy racing — happy running!!!
Do you use races for training? Questions for Angi? We want to hear from you!
Find out more about Angi and her race schedule for this year