The third and final leg of a triathlon is the footrace. In a sprint triathlon, you'll run just more than 3 miles (5 kilometers), which takes anywhere from 18 to 45 minutes [source: Beginner Triathlete]. That's a serious hike after swimming and cycling for about an hour, but if you've made it this far, you're almost to the finish.
Fortunately, running requires little more than a good pair of running shoes (and some socks), though you also might want to invest in a comfortable pair of running shorts and some sunglasses.
As with swimming and cycling, running technique can be pretty important, especially in a race. Technique in running is largely made up of four things: posture, stride, pace and breathing.
- Posture -- Stand up straight, but not straighter than is comfortable. Bending over can make it more difficult to breathe, and standing up too straight can cause pain. Keeping your head up will help you maintain good running posture. Focus your eyes on a point far in the distance, glancing down occasionally to check for obstacles in your path.
- Stride -- Don't overextend your legs when you run, which can strain your muscles or cause you to lose balance. For distance running, short, light steps are better than long, heavy ones.
- Pace -- Distance running is about maintaining your pace. Find a rhythm and stick to it as much as possible.
- Breathing -- Getting into a rhythm with your feet allows you to focus on your breathing. A good breathing rate is one breath in for two steps and one breath out for two steps. Breathe deeply through your mouth with your whole diaphragm.
Unlike swimming and cycling, running is an impact sport and can be pretty rough on the body (especially the knees). It's a good idea to change up your training routine daily, so don't run two days in a row, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to rest and recover. If you're training for a sprint triathlon, try to get out and run two to three times each week for 20 to 30 minutes.
Now that you've got an idea of what it takes to train for a triathlon, let's look at some common beginner triathlete mistakes to keep you from looking like a newbie on race day.