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Triathlete Training vs. Runner Training

No two athletes can do the exact same things, the exact same way.

While they may seem similar, runners and triathletes possess very different skills. Being a runner doesn’t mean you’re a good triathlete. And being a good triathlete doesn’t mean you’re a good runner.

The fact is triathlons push your body in a different way than just running; the added stress on your body from biking or swimming means you run differently. And just running means you could go longer, faster, and further than a triathlete might be able to.

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

The Training Differences

Triathletes are the kings and queens of cross-training. Their training regimens, including swimming, biking, and running, work on multiple muscle groups and build solid strength and stamina in various areas.

A runner’s training routines usually focus solely on running. You could even say they’re the kings and queens of the tracks. They build stamina and endurance and strengthen those all-important leg muscles. 

What Runners Can Learn from Triathletes

We know that running large distances is one of the best ways to improve speed as a runner. But not everybody is built to handle the amount of stress a repetitive exercise like running puts on your joints and muscles.

Cross-training like a triathlete can help runners in so many ways. First of all, nobody likes doing the same thing every day; cross-training helps add a little variety and interest to your routines, meaning you’ll be more motivated to get working! Training like a triathlete can also help you boost your strength and endurance. You’ll also be working on muscles that might not get a lot of love in your usual routine, making you a stronger athlete overall. By incorporating swimming and biking, studies have proven that not only will you become a more balanced athlete, but you can also reduce the risk of injuries that come with excessive running.

Incorporate 30-60 minutes of biking or swimming into your routine and take advantage of the awesomeness that comes with cross-training!

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What Triathletes Can Learn from Runners

Triathlete’s training already embraces all the power of cross-training. Yet many people might not be putting enough emphasis on running training since that’s the “easy” part — it’s just one foot in front of the other, right? But there are still some runner training tips that triathletes could seriously benefit from.

Your first instinct when doing run-based training will probably be to go hard and fast to practice at the levels you want to achieve. But it’s just as important to practice running at a slower pace. Going 100% all the time will cause your body to be too tired to achieve the speeds and strength you want and is more likely to cause injury. Varying your pace will help reduce injury while improving your speed and power.

Putting more focus on running will also help with your endurance and stamina. By modifying the intensity and lengths of your training runs, you’ll be more likely to achieve all the health benefits of running. From improving heart and lung functions to benefiting your mood and motivation, the power of running should not be underestimated for any athlete.

The bottom line? Whether you’re a runner, a triathlete, or something in between, we all have something to gain from each other. Each athlete has their strengths, but we all have our weaknesses as well. Learning from others and borrowing skills and techniques from them will only make us better athletes overall. 

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” – Muhammad Ali

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