The Tri Newbie Chronicles: Running 101

Hi everyone!  Tri training is halfway done, and I’m almost not a tri newbie anymore!  But since I’m still in the middle of training, it’s time for another edition of the Tri Newbie Chronicles.  Today, it’s all about the run!  I’m not going to talk about running in a brick workout yet because if you are truly a newbie runner, you’ve got to start with just simply running.

Tri Newbie Chronicles

If you’re following my blog at all, you’ll know that I’m injured and unable to run.  So while I’ll be walking the 4 mile portion of my triathlon, I know that most people doing their first tri will be planning on running.  Even though I’m not a newbie at running, I am a newbie at swimming and biking so I know how overwhelming it can be when you’re completely unfamiliar with a new sport.  So with that in mind, here’s my Running 101 guide to training for a tri:

Before you run:

  • First of all, the only gear you really need for the running portion will be running shoes.  For a sprint tri or a 5k, you won’t necessarily need to get fitted for shoes at your local running store.  I ran my first 3 or 4 races in some basic Nikes that I bought at Kohls, and had no issues.  If that’s all you can afford right now (and if you’re doing a tri where you need to buy a bike and swim gear, that might be the case!), that’s fine for your first race.  But just know that if you start running a lot (which you probably will because running is the best!), then you need to get fitted for the correct shoes for your body.  I overpronate, which means that I roll my feet inward when I run, so I need stability shoes to correct that.
  • When training for a run portion this distance, you won’t need any fuel or special pre-run food.  But it always helps to eat something 2 hours before a run (like a bagel with peanut butter or some oatmeal) and to be pretty hydrated before you start.

During your run:

  • Start slow!  Don’t go out on day one trying to run 3 miles.  It will hurt, and you will not want to try again.  The key here is to start with a small amount of milage or time on your feet, and slowly add from there.  Programs like Couch to 5k or the Galloway Method can help a lot if you’re feeling lost!  And there is no shame in taking walk breaks.  In fact, it can help make you faster, so go with whatever works for you!
  • Relax and remember how much fun running is.  It’s so hard to feel this way when you first start running, but relaxing and smiling no matter how tired you feel will help loosen you up and get you to finish the race with a smile on your face!

After you run:

  • Stretch!  There are tons of guidelines for this all over the internet, but if you’re into yoga check out Yoga With Adrienne’s Cool Down Sequence for Runners.
  • Make sure to drink lots of water.  If that’s tough for you, try adding Nuun tablets to your post-run water.  It has electrolytes and adds a slight flavor to the water.  My favorite is Pink Lemonade!


Running is tough at the beginning, but it’s so much fun once you get the hang of it.  If you’re training for a tri, just remember that the run is the last thing you’ll have to worry about in the race.  Once you cross that finish line you’ll officially be a runner AND a triathlete!

What advice would you give a newbie runner?


2 thoughts on “The Tri Newbie Chronicles: Running 101

  1. My advice:
    Rome was not built in a day. Make a plan to ramp up distance, and speed, rather than assuming you can just do it.

    Running is tough on your body, so give it the adaptation time and slow incremental experience it needs.

    4 miles may seems like no big deal, but it is when you are adding the stress of training for the bike and the swim too.

    This, the idea is to listen to your body, even when you think it is full of it! Then you will always know when to ramp up, and continue to make distance and speed progress.

    Have a wonderful day!

    P.S.: Keep in mind, just because a run does not go as planned does not mean it has no value!

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