How To Run Faster

If you are not going as fast as you think you should in a race, don’t worry, it is easy to adjust things slightly and improve. All your winter and pre- season training is still in the bank. Improving in each race is all about learning and tweaking what you do. So this month our 'Racing Fast' topics include:

1. Running Fast off the Bike
2. Improving Pace Judgment
3. Hydration


You must continually self analyse. Any of the following can be attributed to a poor run split.

Are you kicking too much in the swim?
Are you cycling too fast in the race?
Are you pushing the big gears too often?
Are you keeping up your energy levels with food and liquid?
Are you doing any swim to bike sessions?

One of the biggest errors is not training at your triathlon run pace. If your triathlon run pace is 7.30 per mile but your training pace is either faster or slower than this, you will not adapt your body to run at your triathlon pace.

It is so important to have sessions specific to your race pace to adapt the different muscles. The longer your selected event the more important this will be.

The ability to run fast off the bike is also determined by how efficient you are at swimming and cycling. It is often not the fastest runner on paper, who has the fastest run split. An efficient cyclist can often run close to their ability, while good runners are fighting the gears on the bike, wondering where they run legs went.

A swim to bike session is often overlooked for bike to run workouts. Don’t forget this very important training session.

If you compared two equal runners time in a 10km and then 2 weeks later they both did an Olympic distance Triathlon, often their run times would vary by several minutes. It would not be the stronger athlete who runs quicker but the most economical one.

Any improvement in your body movement efficiency whilst in the swim and bike disciplines will help your run; sounds simple but how?


Being more streamlined by doing regular drills saves a huge amount of energy.
Swim long and tall, avoid too much rotation sideways.
Work on powerful strokes, you should be swimming strong by now.
Aim for an efficient stroke with good length; keep up a constant high pace, with long recoveries including easy swimming.
Aim to swim quietly with less noise, avoid crashing, slapping and bubbles.
Concentrate and learn to recover in the recovery phase.


Interval work sessions at race pace or above. Take half to the same amount of the interval as recovery time e.g. 4 min effort with a 2 min – 4 min recovery.

Concentrate on pedalling technique. Always be in control of your gear. Practise in the gears you plan to use in the race; in your event you may be tired at the bottom of a hill, so you may need an easier gear to climb the hill than you would normally use.


Build up pace throughout run.
Make sure you have sufficient back-to-back training in the bank.
Cadence running helps. Length of stride stops you running fast off the bike so overcome this by increasing your cadence with a shorter stride. Training drills should include fast feet drill, high leg turnover with short strides, It takes a while to get good at them, but not many people do them, just like one legged riding on the turbo to improve economy.


Better pace judgement comes with experience. You must learn to spread your energy evenly all the time for the duration of the event. Not flat out at the beginning and then hanging on. You are fooling yourself by going out hard and toughing it out.

Make your training specific and relevant to the course and speed you anticipate competing in. In other words ensure sessions are at your triathlon race pace. Using a correct taper will definitely produce a faster result.

Are you able to lock onto your lactate threshold for the whole duration of the race? If not, do this session in training - cover half the distance and break it into smaller segments with active recovery whilst hydrating and refocusing.

Your endurance should be good. If not, you are racing too much and not training to rebuild your stores. Make sure that you do an endurance session for each discipline every 2 weeks. If you are tired keep these sessions steady; if feeling good, keep a good pace but make sure you finish strong and fresh. This is not to be a 'draining' session.


With the warmer weather, hydration is an important topic.Ironmate is always amazed how little is drunk by racing triathletes and how little thought has been directed to what their consumption of liquid during a race would be.

Your intake will be more than in any training ride or run. Plus you cannot drink during the swim discipline, which will be undertaken at a higher effort than your regular pool swim.

Each of us has a different sweat rate, be that due to fitness, weight or genetic. Plus the way our body deals with salt concentration is varied; hence we all react in our own way to changes in temperature. Some of us love the heat, whereas others suffer.

So think through and analyse what your summer sweat rate is. How much are you drinking? How often? What effect is this having on you?

Pre weight and post weight after training in the heat will give you an idea of how much fluid is lost.

The symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, confusion, heart rate elevation, dry lips, extreme thirst and dry tongue. Headaches are common and cramps can occur. Skin looks dry in certain instances if there has been salt depletion. Diarrhoea & vomiting can also lead to dehydration including a loss of salt.

Generally the fitter you are, the much better you perform. You can cope with the heat better partly due to learned training in the heat and the improved fitness levels allow you to cope more easily.

Importantly, if the weather is warm for many days, you could find yourself gradually becoming more dehydrated if you fail to take in enough fluids regularly. Make a habit of always carrying a bottle of liquid with you.

Staying hydrated helps with full blood volume. Blood close to the skin helps you cool down. Drinking also assists in flushing away waste products.

You CANNOT stay hydrated by drinking just plain water - you need a sports drink. An electrolyte drink contains similar electrolytes concentrations to the body for proper hydration. NEVER WAIT until you are thirsty, this signal is nearly always a sign that you are already dehydrated.