[ HONOLULU TRIATHLON ]
The Run: Tips from
a race addict and
former Miss Hawaii
Editor's note: Fourth in a series of articles over eight Sundays designed to help anyone who wants to participate in the Honolulu Triathlon.
IF there is anyone who can prove that triathlon is for everyone, that person is me. According to most people I know, I am the most unlikely person they could ever imagine to participate in triathlon, and yet, I love it. For the past year and a half, I have entered as many races as possible, and the upcoming Honolulu Triathlon will be no exception.
I began as a casual track runner in intermediate and high school, and never competed competitively in any sport until about two years ago. Several years ago I began competing in local running races and decided to enter a sprint-distance triathlon.
After that rather "challenging" experience, I decided to start training. So, I joined the Fit 2 Tri off-road triathlon clinic and Raul Boca's triathlon clinic. Since then, I have become addicted to one of the most rapidly growing sports.
Aside from the obvious benefits of running -- such as staying in shape, developing a leaner body and improving your health -- running simply makes you feel good. Here are a few tips I have learned along the way:
Running shoes: First and foremost, if you haven't been running very much and are inspired to get in shape for the upcoming Honolulu Triathlon, take your "old" shoes into any local specialty running store (Running Room, Runner's Route or Runner's HI) and ask them to fit you in a new pair of shoes specific to your running style, ability, physical build and preferences. Oftentimes, proper running shoes are overlooked. It is amazing to see how many people ride around on brand-new bikes and are still wearing their "favorite/lucky" but worn-out shoes.
Running apparel: Not only will glasses and a hat shield you from the sun, they will also improve your running. If you are squinting from the sun, you are more likely to have a tense upper body. To optimize your body's efficiency, you want to relax your shoulders and sway your arms front to back, making sure not to cross over your chest. Also, most running-specific clothes are made with technical fabrics that will keep you cool and dry.
Keep a log: Whether you get a heart-rate monitor or just check your pulse the good, old-fashioned way, it is always important to keep a log of your workouts and your favorite run routes. There are several free online running sites, as well as training logs, which are available at any bookstore, that allow you to log your workouts. Note any unusual sleeping patterns and injuries in the log.
Hydration and nutrition: It is essential that you hydrate properly before any run, whether it be a casual training run or a race. Make sure to drink lots of liquids starting the day before as well as the morning of the event. As a general rule of thumb, it is important to hydrate during any event more than 30 minutes in length, especially if you are running in the heat of the day.
Another important aspect of running is nutrition. Plan your workouts 2-3 hours after a meal and make sure to have a light snack if you are planning on training in the morning. I find that taking a carbohydrate energy gel every hour keeps my energy level strong. My favorite is Hammer Gel Espresso flavor because it has a shot of caffeine.
Improving your running: To make sure that your training gets you to the race fast, prepared and uninjured, plan a workout progression. It is important to build a solid mileage base in order to strengthen your body and minimize the chance of injury. Avoid any sudden increases in weekly mileage and resist the urge to go too fast too soon.
After you've developed a strong base it's time to add in some speedier running. Most people are intimidated when they hear "speed workouts," but adding intervals to your routine is one of the quickest ways to improve your running speed. A track is a great place to do intervals, although it is just as easily done on your favorite running route. At least once a week after a good warm-up, add some 100- to 150-meter sprints into your run route, and pick up the pace for 2-5 minutes at a time, with light jogging in between. A good cool down can help prevent muscle soreness.
Preparing for the race: Since the age-group course of the 24-Hour Fitness Honolulu Triathlon does not consist of any hills, you won't have to worry too much about doing hill workouts, although I often run hills to build strength.
If possible, it is always wise to practice on the actual race course. I would recommend running the Honolulu Triathlon course at least once before the big day, but the more you familiarize yourself with the course, the easier it will be come race day.
When training for the race, try running at least 10-15 minutes after each bike ride to get your legs used to running off the bike. Lastly, when practicing on the course, try to do everything as if it were race day. Practice your transition from bike to run. Practice changing your shoes and putting on your hat and glasses.
Candes' running tips
>> I recommend running with a friend or in a group; not only because it is safer, but because accountability is a great motivator. It is helpful to find a partner who is training for the same event, or who is of a similar ability and speed.
>> The Honolulu Triathlon is also a prime opportunity to get the whole family involved. In addition to the age-group race, Kraft will be sponsoring the "Kraft Keiki Tri" on Saturday, April 17. To register visit www.honolulutriathlon.com or pick up an application from Athletes HI Magazine, available at specialty running stores throughout the island.
>> My favorite run routes: I love to run around Diamond Head and Kapiolani Park. The views are great and no matter what time of day it is, you'll always see other runners and walkers out. I also enjoy running trails and discovering new views.
Good luck training. I hope to see you out running.
Candace Meijide Gentry, a former Miss Hawaii, is a top age group triathlon competitor in the state who has competed throughout the U.S. Her goal is to qualify for the 2005 International Triathlon Union World Championships. The MBA student at the University of Hawaii is sponsored by Oakley and Hammer Gel.
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ITU MEDIA / SPOMEDIS 2003|
Joanna Zeiger offers mental tips in enduring a triathlon.
Three simple tips for training for the run portion of a triathlon from Joanna Zeiger, who was on the 2000 Olympic triathlon team and finished fourth in Sydney. She has also done Ironman Hawaii several times, where her best finish was fifth in 2000.
Race course: The run course will start out with two clockwise loops around Kapiolani Park, then competitors will run along Kalakaua Avenue to Saratoga Road (Niketown), where they will make a U-turn back toward Kapiolani Park to finish in front of the Sunset on the Beach movie stage along Kalakaua Avenue.
>> Break the race down in your mind into small manageable parts. For example, instead of thinking of a 40k bike or 10k run, break it into 5K segments. This way, it won't seem so long and intimidating.
>> Pace yourself. Go out a little easier and then build into it. An ideal race would be one in which your negative split, i.e. the second half, is faster than the first.
>> Have fun. Do what you can to enjoy the race, whether it be taking in the scenery, playing to the crowd or making a friend out on the course.