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12 Running Resolutions for 2012 - Part V

Fifth of the series

By Bob Cooper


So you've always figured that training for three sports at once is in the same category as learning to speak Cantonese. (Not in this lifetime!) But you've figured wrong. You can spend as little as a few more hours of weekly training than you now spend running, for only a month or two, and finish a triathlon.

Provided you keep it short—both the training sessions and the triathlon. Short-distance "sprint" triathlons—which have exploded in popularity, now accounting for nearly half of all USA Triathlon-sanctioned events—include a swim of just one-quarter to one-half mile, a bike ride of 10 to 20 miles, and a 5-K.

It doesn't take much time in the saddle and pool to be ready for those distances. And the run will be a cinch—because it comes last in the event, your running base will make it easy for you to sweep past novice striders.

Add three 30-to 60-minute lap swims and two 30-to 60-minute bike rides each week—while sticking to three 30-to 60-minute runs—for at least four weeks this spring or summer, says Hank Campbell, a runner-turned-pro triathlete who coaches at

"The most common concern among runners new to triathlon is the swim," he says. Take a lesson first to learn an efficient stroke. "Once you can comfortably swim at least 50 percent farther than the race distance in the pool, you can feel confident of completing it on race day."

Scheduling the workouts can include one two-workout day. Also plan to do one weekly "brick" workout in which you do two of those workouts back-to-back—bike-to-run or swim-to-bike—which gets you accustomed to the race-day reality of stringing activities together.

To find a nearby race, go to the event calendar at Most sprints are in the summer, when cycling and swimming are palatable even in heat that makes running a chore. Bonus: Giving your running muscles a partial break means they'll be fresh for harder road-race training in the fall.


This is the year I will...

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