Triathlete in transition

My book Triathlete In Transition is an inspirational and common sense guide for those new too triathlon.

There’s a reason why triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. It has captured the imagination of so many because it’s a sport that has changed the lives of ordinary people all over the world.

It does not require you to have the perfect athletic body or to be a highly skilled swimmer, biker, or runner.

As a matter of fact, there are many people who catch the triathlon bug but can’t swim a stroke. Perhaps they haven’t run or biked for years, yet still take up the challenge of triathlon.

triathlete in transition book

Triathlete In Transition. The perfect book for the beginner triathlete.

In the process they learn new skills, improve fitness levels, make new friends, and attain an improved level of over-all health and well-being.

Every single year the senior age-group categories in Ironman Triathlons continue to grow.

Many people are beginning to realize that just because they reach 55 or 65 they do not have to stop being active and perhaps even competitive.

The focus of Triathlete In Transition is to guide and inspire new triathletes as they begin their triathlon journey.

Much like my two “Ironstruck” books, Triathlete In Transition is not just another triathlon training book. Yes it will guide you as you work your way toward your first triathlon. It will also inspire and motivate you to become more than you ever thought possible.

Regardless of your fitness level or athletic ability as you start on your amazing journey. TRIATHLETE IN TRANSITION has the potential to help change the course of your life forever.

In order to cover as many important components of your preparation as possible, I have invited along seven guest writers to share their wisdom and knowledge with you.

The guest experts include…

STEVE KING–The voice of Ironman Canada


TERRY LAUGHIN–The creator of the TOTAL IMMERSION swim concept

as the featured contributors to TRIATHLETE IN TRANSITION.

We share in a common goal of doing all we can to make your triathlon journey a rewarding and exciting experience.

For more information on being a more successful triathlete or Ironman be sure to have a look at the books I have written. These books have helped many triathletes around the world realize their Ironman and triathlon dreams and goals.

You can visit my ironstruck book store and find the perfect book for you. Excellent for the new or experienced triathlete doing their very first try a tri triathlon or the Ironman.

Here are some testimonials from people who have read my books.

Preventing Ironman Triathlon marathon toe blisters

The last thing you need is Triathlon marathon toe blisters when taking on the Ironman.

You’ve battled your way through 2.4 miles of the swim and made it through the 112 miles of the Ironman Triathlon bike course. You’re about 6 miles into the run and can feel a blister growing on your toe. Really, who needs that. There’s enough to contend with.

Whether you are doing long training runs, running in a marathon or in an Ironman marathon blisters can rear their ugly head.


Here are some of the more common reasons for blisters developing on the ends of your toes when running. Mostly it has to do with friction.

  • Your shoes or socks are creating friction against your skin. Running fast can intensify the friction and a blister begins to grow.
  • Poor fitting shoes is the most frequent causes of triathlon marathon toe blisters. Breaking in shoes properly so they fit you perfectly is crucial. I discuss that in a recent post Choose Ironman Triathlon running shoes carefully.
  • If your foot happens to have bunions, heel spurs, or hammertoes you will be more susceptible to blisters.

  • Heat and moisture causes toe blisters. Many Ironman races are in hot climates and this is why triathlon marathon toe blisters are so common. Your feet will swell in excessive heat.

  • In every single Ironman race on the planet triathletes will be passing through aid stations. They’re tired, hot, perspiring, and like almost every Ironman triathlete they are dumping water on their head and body. Of course it runs into their shoes and socks and the ensuing moisture creates a perfect environment for blisters to thrive.

There are several ways to prevent blisters from forming on your toes while running. Here are a few ideas that might work for you. Some are common sense and some are a bit off the wall, but if it works, who cares?


  • Some people have extra dry skin and just like excessive moisture can lead to blisters. If that sounds like you then applying a cream or skin moisturizer before long runs might help.

  • Many runners wear cotton socks. Try wearing a synthetic sock with reinforced heels and toes. Synthetic socks wick away moisture and cotton socks absorb moisture.

  • Try wearing two pairs of socks. The theory is that all the friction will be between the two socks. However, this might mean wearing a shoe size a half size bigger. Not the best idea perhaps, but an alternative is nothing else seems to work.

  • Shoes should be well broken in before the big race. Also if socks are too large they tend to bunch up and this creates a perfect environment for blisters to form.

  • Moleskin is a great product. You put it over the toes where you normally get blisters. Some runners actually line the toe area of their shoes instead of their toes. This might work well for triathletes who do not want to spend time in the bike/run transition applying the moleskin. Give it a try in training.

  • This is a bit different, but often it’s the seams in the socks that cause excessive rubbing against the skin resulting in blisters. Try turning your socks inside out.


The 2XU Compression Performance Run Sock
triathlon marathon foot blisters
Runners like compression socks because they stimulate blood flow and provide therapeutic muscle support, in turn minimizing post-run soreness, swelling, and other types of muscle fatigue and injury. Manufacturers have begun to seriously compete for compression-lovers’ loyalty.

That’s the goal of the 2XU Compression Performance Run Sock. It’s like a moisture-wicking athletic sock and high-tech compression sleeve in one.

Feetures! High Performance Ultra Light Socks
Ironman marathon foot blisters
Feetures! makes solid atheletic socks that are more affordable than many of today’s best running socks. When you invest in a pair of Feetures! High Performance, you get numerous runner-friendly traits for your money.

That includes ventilating fabric panels to wick moisture, seam-free toe closures, an anatomically correct right and left foot design, heel cushioning, and arch support.

Hopefully this article helps you find a way to prevent Triathlon marathon toe blisters.


Optimizing your Ironman marathon

Tips on optimizing your Ironman marathon.

Are you like most triathletes and struggle when you get to the Ironman marathon and not aware of the importance of optimizing your Ironman marathon?

Most people who are new to triathlon are a bit surprised when they struggle with the run portion of the race. This is especially true when they were accomplished runners before they became triathletes.

The biggest impact is usually felt by those who are taking on their first ironman and have several marathon finishes to their credit.

They mistakenly assume that all they have to do is deduct a bit of time from their best marathon result and that will pretty much indicate what their Ironman Marathon split will be, give or take a few minutes.

[bctt tweet=”My Ironman was going great. Until someone said I had to run a marathon.
via Ironstruck”]
Unfortunately it doesn’t usually work that way in an Ironman Triathlon because there are simply too many variables to account for and reaching the finish line can often take an hour or more longer then expected unless you are clear on optimizing your Ironman marathon.


  • Most Ironman triathletes fail to spread energy reserves out evenly over the course of Ironman race day.
  • The majority of novice ironmen go into the race over-trained and under-rested.
  • Poor hydration and nutrition in the days leading up to the race and also during the bike leg.


  • Know you limitations and pace yourself accordingly.
  • Are you getting the most out of your Ironman taper leading up to the race?
  • Timing is everything. It makes perfect sense to be carbohydrate loading and hydrating several days before the race.
  • It’s important to have a drinking and eating plan in place for the bike leg.

THE PACE: The energy wasted in a poorly executed swim and a mad dash through transition is unrecoverable.

There’s is a direct link between a poorly planned swim and the Ironman Death March.”

RELATED:Ironman Death March

It’s hard to understand at first that you can actually take a much-deserved rest and not lose what you have gained from all your training.

Without fail there will be triathletes training in the hot sun during any given ironman race week trying to get rid of pent up energy. Actually, they’re burning energy they’ll need for their best result on race day.

It you get this part wrong it’s difficult and often not possible too late to make up for lack of food and water out on the run course.

If you’re playing catch-up with your intake, it’s pretty well too late to recover because you are in a constant state of motion and continually burning energy.

optimizing your Ironman marathon

Swim calm and controlled. Burning valuable energy to swim a few minutes faster is a common error.

Go into the race with a sound swim plan and don’t just “wing it.” It’s pointless to take off like a shot when the guns sounds unless you are a pro and are trying to keep up with the other pros.

There’s not a thing to be gained by doing the swim 8-10 minutes faster if it means stressing yourself physically and in the process burning energy you will need later.

The end result of gaining that 10 minutes in the swim could well mean taking 90 minutes longer to make it through the run later in the day. That just does not compute. One of the main keys to optimizing your Ironman marathon is to begin the moment the swim begins.

Swim well within your ability with your main focus being to get to the swim finish using as little energy as possible and being as relaxed as possible. This means keeping your emotions in check when there is chaos all around you.

RELATED: Ironman Negative-split Strategy

It also means taking your time through the swim/bike transition. There is nothing to be gained by running. Let everyone else around you do that and you will pass them later on in the race.

Going out as fast as you can will sky-rocket your heart-rate for no good reason. Save all that energy for the last part of the bike. If you feel great then, that would be the time to pick it up a little while everyone else is hitting the wall.

THE TAPER: I firmly believe that a one-month taper for an Ironman Triathlon is about right.

With 30 days to go before the big race it’s time to begin to ease off on the gas pedal and let your body have it’s well-deserved rest from those months of preparation.

Each of those last 4 weeks cut your training back 20% or so from the previous week, and the week of the race don’t be tempted to do 15-mile runs in the heat of the day or to head out on a 75-mile bike ride.

This is perhaps the biggest mistake that is made by most new triathletes and crucial to understand on the way to optimizing your Ironman marathon.

All that is really required race week is a few short bikes, runs, and swims in the cool of the morning or evening. Rest should be the main focus the week before the race.

If the race is Sunday, be sure to take Friday completely off and get a good nights sleep as you may not sleep that well the eve of the race.

optimizing your ironman marathon

Mid-week before your Ironman begin taking in high complex carbohydrate foods you’re used to.

FUELING: Wednesday is a good time to begin to take on lots of extra fluids for a Sunday race. It’s also a good time to begin eating meals that you’re accustomed to that are high in carbohydrates.

If your urine is clear and copious by Saturday then you are pretty much there as far as hydration. Your last meal on “race eve” is best eaten fairly early in the day to allow sufficient time for your digestive system to work.

A light breakfast of tea and toast and perhaps a banana about 3 hours before the gun goes off and you should be well-prepared for the race.

If you have hydrated properly before-hand you don’t really need to drink much in the hours leading up to the race. You don’t really need a lot of fluid sloshing around in your system during the swim.

BIKE NUTRITION: The key is to begin early on and eat and drink controlled amounts often as opposed to a huge amount once in a while.

The best time to start drinking and eating is after about 15 minutes on the bike. Your body needs time to make the switch from being horizontal in the water to vertical on the bike.

From that point on I would suggest drinking at regular 20-25 minute intervals for the duration of the bike leg. It really works well if you set the timer on your watch before hand to beep at regular 25-minute intervals as a reminder. Use a time frame that works best for you but it works better if you are consistent.

2013 Ironoptimizing your Ironman marathonman 70.3 california results

Your body needs time to recover from the swim. Dizziness from going horizontal to vertical is not uncommon.

RELATED: Triathletes and Carbohydrates

Most of your eating (of complex carbohydrates like bagels for instance) should be done early on in the bike. Eating in the late stages of the bike is not necessary or recommended especially if you ate sufficiently in the first three-quarters of the bike.

Food eaten late in the bike will most likely not be assimilated in time to do any good in the run and may do more harm than good.

If you do things properly on the bike course you stand a good chance of making it through the run just drinking water at each aid station and avoiding food almost completely.

Triathlon Run Training Tips

Run smarter with these triathlon run training Tips

It was simpler back in the early days of Ironman. There was only one race.

The first thing to decide when it comes to the running component of your triathlon training is what your ultimate goal is. The distance of your triathlon is also of major importance.

Are you doing an Olympic Distance Triathlon, a Half Ironman, or a full Ironman race for example?

You would train far differently if you were preparing to a 10k run as compared to a marathon and triathlon is no different.

Are you trying to qualify for the World Championship in Kona or are you just trying to finish your very first triathlon?

If your goal is to just reach the Ironman finish line any way you can in the allowable time limit your run training will be far less intense. Chances are you will walk and run the marathon, but these triathlon run training tips will still be helpful to you.

A triathlete trying to finish the race in the fastest time possible might attempt to run the entire 26.2 mile distance without walking at all.

Three important triathlon run training tips to keep in mind.

Training for any triathlon is complex by it’s very nature because there are three disciplines involved. The same mistakes are made over and over again by novice triathletes.


When people first get hooked on triathlon they can get pretty excited about it. They’re losing weight, getting fit, and improving in so many ways every day. It’s worth getting excited about and it’s perfectly understandable.

[bctt tweet=”Over-enthusiasm is the cause of most run injuries. via ironstruck”]

The problem with over-enthusiasm and sports is that it often leads to injury. This is especially true with a high impact sport like running. When your foot strikes the ground it impacts your feet, your knees, your spine, and pretty much your entire body in one way or another.

triathlon run training tips  -Plantar Fasciitis symptoms

If you feel like you have a bruised heel, it’s most likely an early warning of Plantar Fasciitis.

Your body can stand a lot, but if push to hard it will start to give warning signals. It might be a sharp pain in your shins, a twinge in your knee, or a feeling like you somehow managed to bruise your heels.

Lets use the bruised heel for an example. As soon as you feel pain coming from your heel, stop running. Take a few days rest. If you feel like you’ve bruised your heel it’s most likely the first indication of Plantar Fasciitis. If allowed to progress it can end your run training for months and could even end your entire season.

This is just one possible injury. The point is, listen you your body. If something hurts you’re far better off to stop running until you find out what it is. Better yet, don’t push to hard in training to start with and avoid triathlon run training injuries all together.


Knowing when to rest is imperative when it comes to balancing three disciplines like swimming, biking, and running.

Lets say for example you are doing 10 workouts a week. You’re swimming three times, biking three times, and running four times. This is more what a triathlete might do if an Ironman is the race they’re training for. I’ll use Ironman training as an example.

Let’s say there are also two full rest days during your training week. This means that most days you will be doing two training disciplines. For instance swim/bike, swim/run, bike/run etc.

Your run days might include a fairly short run one day, a medium distance, a hill or interval workout day, and a long run day. Of course long run days are different things to different people. For some there triathlon run training distance could be 90 minutes and for others it could be three hours. Regardless of the exact distances, the timing is always important.

triathlon run training tips  -two female and a male runner hill training

Hill training workouts can be demanding.

If you decided to incorporate hill training or intervals into your program keep in mind that they can be just as taxing as distance training. You wouldn’t want to plan your long run day for the day before or after interval or hill training.

It’s best to separate the two workouts with a rest day or an easy day. For example you might do an easy 1500 meter swim and a spin workout on a wind-trainer before your long run day or interval day. The day after could be a rest day.

However you decide to do it, learning when to stress your body and when to rest it is one of the most important things to understand. I can’t stress enough how devastating overtraining injuries can be, especially when they are avoidable.


Many triathletes forget all about transition training when they’re getting ready for their race. It’s a vitally important component of triathlon run training.

It’s not so much about shaving seconds off your overall time. It’s more about making the transition from the bike to the run as painless and seamless as possible. In an Ironman this can save you a lot more than seconds. It can save you hours.

Many triathletes over-extend themselves so much on the bike course that they have little left for the run. It can really help matters if you train for that transition.

It would really be helpful to do at least one transition workout a week. For example, do your bike training and do your run immediately after. It doesn’t have to be great distances in order to be effective.

triathlon run training tips  -cyclists on a wind-trainer wearing cycling shoes.

A wind-trainer is a great idea for transition training.

As a matter of fact, one of the best transition training workouts can be done on a wind-trainer in your home. This is especially useful if training time is at a premium. All you would really have to do is about 35-45 minutes on your wind-trainer.

Get off your bike, put on your running shoes and head out the door on your run. Your transition time will most likely be less than two minutes. That’s great! Even if you just run 30-45 minutes it will help get you used to what it’s going to feel like on race day.

As you get in better shape and your race is just a couple of months away and you are increasing your training distances, it’s a simple matter to adjust your triathlon run training transition workout.

You can head out onto the highway and do a two hour bike and follow it up with a one hour run as soon as possible after you get off the bike. This works great if you can bike from home. You can even do a two hour ride on a wind-trainer for that matter.
RELATED ARTICLE: Triathlon run training
RELATED ARTICLE:Triathlon wind-trainer training
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Triathlon Average Run Speed

Triathlon average run speed is usually gauged by level of fitness, ability, and run distance.

For instance, what is average to a pro triathlete will be far different from what is considered average for an age-group athlete.

Many newly-minted triathletes have a serious misconception about how to compute what their triathlon average run speed should be.

In many cases the perception is that if you take off a little bit of time from your normal 10k, half-marathon, or marathon times you will be pretty close to figuring out what your triathlon average run speed will be.


If you have run several 10k races and are about to enter an Olympic Distance Triathlon for the first time you will most likely be able to figure out your average run speed a bit more easily as the distance is relatively short.

At least it’s short compared to the 21k distance of a half ironman or 42k full ironman marathon distance.

So for instance if your 10k run time is normally around 50 minutes, you might not be far off if you add about 20% to that time and plan your triathlon average run speed around that figure.

Adding 20% would increase your projected run time for the 10k distance in an Olympic Distance Triathlon to around 60 minutes and you would plan your average run time around that total.

In other words, you are assuming that the energy lost in the swim and bike portions of the race would slow down your normal 10k run time by about ten minutes.

If you were to use that same formula for a full distance Ironman Triathlon that requires you to run 26.2 miles you will most likely be in for a shock.

Say you have run several marathons around the four hour mark and add 20% worth of time to that. That’s 48 minutes for a total of 4:48 marathon split in the Ironman.

This is where figuring out your triathlon average run speed gets tricky.


In most cases it would be very difficult for the novice Ironman triathlete to be able to run anywhere close to their average marathon time when it comes to the Ironman Marathon.

triathlon average run speed-

Pro triathletes know how to endure pain and keep on running.

Even if they added on 20% more time it would most likely be asking a lot. The projected run time usually ends up being an hour or more longer than expected half a day earlier when the gun sounded in the morning to begin the race.

History shows that very few novice triathletes will be able to run the Ironman marathon from start to finish without a fair bit of walking involved.

The reason for this is that the swim and bike portions of the Ironman are usually mismanaged and by the time the running shoes are put on there’s simply no gas left in the tank.

When that happens the marathon becomes a death march.


If you try and run an average pace and it’s too fast than ultimately you will hit the wall and run out of gas.

It really doesn’t matter if it’s a marathon race or a marathon within an Ironman. The effect is the same.

A better alternative to trying to figure out an average run pace is to adopt a negative split strategy(there is a link below about this). As a matter of fact a negative split is a great strategy for the swim, bike, and run of an Ironman and not just the run.

Here’s an example….

Say you’re a really great marathoner and have run marathons in around 3:15.

You’ve decided that you will try for a marathon time of 4:00 in the Ironman.

You’ve also decided you are going to run an average pace through-out. For you to run an average pace to achieve a four hour Ironman Triathlon average run speed means that you would be running at a pace of 5:42 per kilometer.

Unless you are very experienced and know what to expect once you get off the bike after the 180k bike ride of an Ironman I would suggest you forget about the average speed concept and use a negative split approach.

Basically a negative split means running the second half faster than the first half of your marathon.

It would make more sense to go out at a pace slower than what you think your average time would be and see how you feel as the run progresses.

So instead of a 5:42 per kilometer pace for a 4:00 expected marathon, run about a 6:25 which is about the average pace for a 4:30 marathon.

Either one of two things are going to happen.

You are going to feel great at about half-way and are going to pick up speed and run a negative-split for your marathon….

Or most likely you are going to feel like death running a 6:25 pace and will wonder what ever possessed you to think you could run even faster.

So in other words, if you feel like crap by reducing your expectations, just how much worse it could have been.


The top pros can run an Ironman marathon at a time not too far removed from their average time for a standard marathon.

If a pro runs 2:48 for the Ironman marathon he is mostly likely within ten minutes of his best marathon time when it’s not preceded by a 3.8k swim and 180k bike. ironman swim

Problems maintaining any sort of pace in the run usually begin with a poorly planned swim and bike.

There are several reasons for this.

Pros spend a lot more time training and their endurance is simply better than the average age-group triathlete.

Years of experience in triathlon has also taught them to endure pain and to run through it when most age-group athletes simply stop when it hurts too much.

They also have a better understanding of hydration and nutrition and that’s crucial.

A major reason why many age-group athletes have problems sustaining any sort of a run pace is because they have not fueled themselves properly during the bike and simply run out of gas.

Compound that with swimming and biking way too fast and it’s no wonder they hit the wall early on in the run and any sort of planned Triathlon average run speed goes out the window.