Two down, one to go. By the time you reach the run leg of a triathlon, your focus may be simply on finishing, but you can have loftier aims. Here are some tricks and tips to speed you through the final tri sport, as well as ways to improve your running between disciplines. You can try these tips in training and racing.
Train for the course. It might sound obvious but all too often you'll arrive at the start of a race to find the run course is hilly but you've trained on the flat. Find out what kind of route you'll be tackling and try to simulate something similar in training.
Practise running in bare feet. Running shoeless after you've collected your bike in the first transition is far safer than risking slipping over on unstable bike shoes, so it's also worth practising how to start the bike with your cycling shoes clipped onto your pedals. When you reach the mountline, hop on your bike and put your feet in your shoes once you're on the move.
Complete as much of your running training off-road as possible. Not only will this build your muscles to cope with fatigue when you're running off the bike, the varied terrain will strengthen your ankles, which will protect you against turning your feet when you're running out of the swim into the first transition.
Wear your racing shoes at least once a week in training so you become accustomed to the feel of minimal cushioning and support.
Feel the squeeze
If you're doing a half-Ironman distance or beyond, consider donning some compression socks before you start the run. Their performance advantage outweighs the time it will take you to slip them on in transition.
Train your mind at the same time as you train your body. When you're out on a run, use the time to visualise yourself completing your next race feeling strong and running with good form. On race day you'll feel confident that you can go the distance.
Make an effort
Practise a sprint finish at the end of every run - British Olympic team member Helen Tucker trains this way and believes it helped her to win the World Championships in Vancouver, Canada in June. Putting in a hard effort when you're already tired will condition your body to cope with the fatigue of running hard off the bike.