Triathlon Update: How to Not Suck at Running

27 Jul

This post was supposed to make its debut Tuesday – It’s a little hard to have “Triathlon Tueday” on … Friday?

Just go with it.

The name of the game in this neck of the woods has been “getting back into the swing of things” – last weekend was all about getting my Rocky Mountain High on…

My sister-in-law got hitched atop a beautiful mountain in Colorado. Beautiful nuptials, and quality time with JC’s fam!

But back at the ranch, it’s time to get serious about our impending triathlon! In less than a month we’ll be swimming, biking and running towards the finish line. For me, that means dealing with my least favorite leg of the race… the final, the anchor, the dreaded… running.

Cross-training is a must. When I first decided I was going to “do running”, I sought the guidance of the world wide internets to educate me on topics like, say, learning to run for a period of longer than 10 minutes at one time. While the internet overflows with resources, everything seemed to be pointing in the same direction: start small with running/walking, and slowly build up to greater distances.

Simply put, this method just didn’t work for me.

It wasn’t until I gave up on running and turned my attention to other outlets I enjoyed more thoroughly: consistent weight training, mixed with a regular 90 minute dance class once a week. While the dance class helped me work on endurance, I think the strength piece helped me lay a foundation of muscle which turned out to do a lot of the work for me. After training for a significant amount of time – I’m talking 3-4 total body lifting sessions a week for at least 8 weeks – I’ll never forget my first run. JC & I headed out for a 30 minute out & back, and I could run the entire 30 minutes. I owe this entirely to strength training while also discovering a cardio outlet I could actually enjoy instead of suffering through.

It’s all about the experience. This theory is otherwise known as “bribe yourself to squeeze as much enjoyment out of running as you can.” I’m not trying to make mountains of molehills here — let’s face it, running will never be as cool as watching Teen Mom or eating ice cream — but gearing up an exciting playlist, wearing comfortable clothes complete with earbuds that will stay put, and choosing a picturesque route along the lakeshore to serve as a backdrop for my huffing and puffing are all keys to my success.

While you are running, don’t, under any circumstances, stop running. It’s just like that old Winston Churchill quote: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” If you think you’re getting tired, keep running. If your legs feel heavy, keep running. If you feel like your lungs will explode if you take one more step — you get the picture, do. not. stop. running! Everything will just be harder if you do.

I’m certainly no pavement pounding expert and I see approximately zero marathons in my future. However, using the keys I’ve discovered, I’ve been able to unlock a few secrets about running that have allowed me to incorporate it into my rotation.

Are you a runner? Which part of the triathlon trifecta troubles you – swim, bike, or run? Or none of the above, because you’re just a badass like that?

Happy weekend!

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