This month we’ve covered key aspects of a triathlon – the necessary gear, swimming and biking. Now, it’s time to take a look at running! Team Amino Vital Athlete Beth Andrew is gearing up for the IRONMAN 70.3 in Raleigh, NC this week. For those of you attending or just looking for running tips for your next triathlon, see what our Athlete of the Month had to say.
Posture is my one word this year. It’s what I think about when I’m at my computer, when I’m in conversation, when I’m in mountain pose in yoga, when I’m swimming or biking or running. It’s alignment, stance, pose or attitude. It’s true that there’s a lot of work going on below your hips on the run – but everything above the hips is crucial to your stride, your efficiency and your energy. When you start to fatigue, your upper body tends to fold in on itself – jeopardizing your breathing, your comfort and your state of mind. Again, I use a top-to-toe mentality but really focus on my upper body. Am I looking down too much? Is there an object ahead that I can focus on to lift my chin? Are my shoulders back and relaxed? Are my hands relaxed (like I’m holding a potato chip between my thumb and forefinger)? Am I tall through my core? My mantra is often: “ENERGY UP!,” and I often think of a string tied to the top of my head lifting my body to the sky.
This was my mantra for last year’s half-iron triathlon. Before I tell you what it means, I’ll tell you that this is my favorite part of running. Mantras and mental mind tricks are key to my run. I often count to 100 in French to pass the time or list gratitudes in alphabetical order. Sometimes I even sing Christmas songs under my breath. Yes, that’s me singing joy to the world! I have been doing this since fourth grade when my dad and I trained for my first road race (a one-miler) everyday after school. He encouraged me to think of something to say with every step. He offered: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. I chose: R2D2CP30. You can create your own mantra to help you run faster, better, longer or stronger here.
This mantra reminded me to focus. My goal for the swim was to focus on my PULL in the water, my bike was a matter of PACE (staying in my heart rate zone), my goal for the run was to PRESS a little harder even when the going got tough — all to reach my PEAK performance. It helped me pace each part of the race, too working on just the swim, just the bike and just the run. For example: I tend to zip out of transition two at a faster-than-I-want-to pace. A few miles in, my energy fades, I get discouraged and I slow down.
In June, that mantra will be in my head for 13.1 miles. Pull back at the start, pace through the middle, press forward at the end. I’ve been training for this each week with progressive runs. I think an old high school cheer (with a twist) every time I run: Be Progressive, Be, Be Progressive! I start out slower than race pace, catch my breath and warm up my legs. I run the second part at a new level of effort – slightly faster, or with added hills. I run the last part at race pace or faster. Progressive runs are designed to improve the quality of your pace deep into the second part of your race. Try it and race at your peak!
Thanks for the great tips, Beth. It’s time to hit the pavement and get moving!