Try a Triathlon – Swim, Bike, Run your way to the Triathlon Finish Line – Running Tips

rungirlTry a Tri – Swim, Bike, Run your way to the Triathlon Finish Line – Running Tips

Over the last 3 weeks, we’ve reviewed all the ins and outs of the sport of Triathlon and provided specific swimming and biking tips. So hopefully you’re now inspired to try your first Triathlon this summer and will join us for the Girlfriend & Dudes Triathlon or Duathlon on July 20th to support the Children’s Center.

Today we are going to tackle the third leg of a triathlon, the run. Although most people are most fearful of the swimming leg, I hear many people say “I could never do a Triathlon because I don’t or can’t run”.  I hope to change those mindsets today!

Let’s first chat about your equipment needs for the running portion.

  • Running Shoes This is your most important investment in this segment of the Triathlon.  If you consider that your body has to absorb the forces of 5x your body weight with each stride, the importance of a good shoe that allows you to run efficiently and minimize your risk of injury is critical.  I would suggest spending some time with a good local footwear retailer like or who can analyze your foot and running stride and suggest a shoe that would work for your body. Again, considering that the foundation of your running stride is your foot and ankle, you may want to consider seeing a Foot and Ankle specialist like to help.  I made an appointment and was very impressed with their service and it has made a difference to my running.
  • Other than a good running shoe, you’ll obviously need some running shorts or tights and perhaps athletic glasses and/or a cap to keep the sun out of your eyes.

Run Training Tips:

  • First, as I mentioned above, develop a relationship with a good running shoe store and foot/ankle specialist.
  • Secondly, realize that there is no rule that you must RUN this leg.  It is perfectly acceptable to walk or run/walk in a Triathlon so listen to your body and just because you aren’t able to run doesn’t mean you can’t do a Triathlon!
  • Run 2-3x/week – Start by gradually increasing your distance until you can comfortably run the distance you are training for.  Once you have mastered the distance, then you can start to incorporate speed intervals and/or hill training to work on your strength and performance. For someone running three days per week, I typically like to see one longer endurance run/walk at an easier pace, one moderate distance and intensity run/walk and one shorter and harder run/walk.
  • Understand the terrain of your event – If it is a hilly route, be sure to train the hills so you are mentally and physically prepared for the inclines.
  • Consider joining a running club to add variety and good solid instruction to your training.
  • Implement a “brick workout” once every 1-2 weeks where you run right after your ride. Transitioning from your bike to your run is difficult and can make your legs feel like ‘bricks’ so it’s important to train this so you are prepared during the triathlon.
  • If you are not consistently running right now, follow a gradually progressive Learn to Run program.  Start with about 1 minute of running and 4 minutes of walking and then each week, add 1 minute to your running time and subtract from your walking time.  Do this a few times per week until you can do the distance.

We are hosting the Girlfriends & Dudes Triathlon, Duathlon and Kids Triathlon on Sunday July 20th as a fundraiser for the Children’s Center.  This event is perfect for new Triathletes because the ½ mile swim is in a calm section of the Columbia river at Frenchmans Bar so you get to swim with the current. Many of those fearful of the water love that if they just floated in the water, they’d get to the finish line in about 30 minutes and at any point, they can wade to the shore and touch down if they need a break.  The bike is a 12.5 mile flat ride and the 3.1 run/walk is on a flat, paved trail.  You can also donate an additional $25 to Children’s Center and get Charity VIP waive which means you get the best transition spot and get to start before everyone else. We also offer a Relay option, a Duathlon division and a Kids Race plus there will be a live band making it a really fun party!

You can register HERE.

You can find other Triathlon distances by visiting either of the following websites.

Stay tuned next week as we review equipment needs and training for the running portion.

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at or

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at

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