TRIATHLON: How to improve your running leg
The most tiring part of a triathlon race is the run, even though it seems to be the least feared by those without a competitive background in any of the three sports.
Running is a very natural gesture and we are convinced we can tackle this “leg” much more “lightly”.
Nothing could be further from the truth: the run comes when our organism is already tired and we are already suffering from a shortage of glycogen. Let’s see how we can overcome these handicaps through training drills and methods.
The first thing we can do is connected with the fact that, whereas in cycling we mainly use the front/upper part of our legs, most of our impetus when running comes from the rear/lower region.
The plantar and bipennate muscles are used more when running: we use their elastic strength to run more efficiently. Our feet are relatively inactive during the bike ride and, after over one hour’s exertion, they lose some of the sensibility required to provide the right impetus and drive.
Here are some drills designed to develop these specific abilities:
– Zero impact jumps: stand with your hands relaxed along your sides and make little jumps using just your feet and calf muscles (small jumps with as little impact time on the ground as possible)
– Box jumps: start standing in front of a step (box) that is more or less 30 cm high (raise the height by 10 cm every two weeks) and jump with both legs starting with your knees slightly bent slightly making sure you land gently. Perform this exercise as explosively as possible with approximately 5” recovery between each jump and performing three sets of 8/10 reps (1’ recovery between sets).
– Plyometric drop: stand on a 40 cm high bench or step and then drop to the ground without driving upwards or forwards and then sprint from 5” as soon as you hit the ground.
– Bounds: run with your chest upright in a leaping motion making sure you raise your knees up towards your chest as you make each bound.
After completing these drills and without resting, run a short distance (approximately 1 km) at race pace, in order to get your legs used to that pace even when they are tired after a training drill (repeat this exercise 4/5 times during the session alternated with active recovery)
Running does, indeed, come naturally but running with the right technique is a complicated gesture that will, however, increase our efficiency in the most incredible way.
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