Where to Train for Triathlon, Part 3: The Run

Where to run can be a little more complicated than you might think

In our final segment of Where to Train for a Triathlon, Part 3: The Run, we dive into the complexities of training for the run portion of a triathlon. If you have not yet read Part 1: The Swim or Part 2: The Bike, make sure to check them out.

Training for your triathlon run is going to take multiple forms. You will need various locations to suit your needs. Running will include long runs, track work, tempo/fast paced runs and hill repeats. 

Map out suitable outdoor run courses

Start by identifying a three and six mile route close to where you live. Choose routes that are simple, safe and easy to remember. 

When selecting a long run course, make sure you have access to hydration along the way. Carry fuel, or stash it along your course. Pay attention to your surroundings, observe traffic patterns and wear the necessary reflective gear/lights when it gets dark.

When running on roadways, run against traffic so you can see and react to oncoming cars. 

Choose wide roads with wide shoulders and reduced traffic. If running in a group, never run more than two wide. 

Track work

Speed work is an essential part of run training. 

The local high school, college or municipal park will likely have a track. Most high schools do not permit community use of the track during school hours and some parks close at dusk. If a track is not available, find a relatively flat, straight stretch of road that’s at least a quarter of a mile long.

Check out this infographic from Strength Running for a visual of track markings, distances, etc.   

When running on a track with others, be aware of the following:

  • Run in the appropriate lane; fastest always runs on the inside. 
  • Run counter-clockwise. (Some runners will run in reverse to prevent imbalance issues. If doing so with others on the track, stick to the outside lanes to avoid collisions.)
  • When running with a group, do not occupy more than two lanes. 
  • Keep your music to yourself. Use headphones. 
  • Don’t spit on the track. No gum. Pick up your water bottles and trash when you are finished. 


The ability to set precise paces and grades of incline make this the perfect tool to execute interval based workouts such as fartleks, pick-ups and hill repeats. 

The one percent rule. When running on the treadmill, always set the incline to one percent to best simulate a flat road. Since the tread is moving, you will not exert as much push force to propel your legs forward.

Make sure you are in a well ventilated area to avoid overheating. The air around you will heat up as your body temperature rises. 

Always wipe down your machine after a workout. Sweat is a corrosive substance and can cause the deterioration of the machine’s components.