How Triathlon Made Me a Better Runner – Guest Post

Hello from Jackson Hole! Today’s activities include bike riding and white water rafting. I can’t wait to give you the full report! While I’m out adventuring I have a special guest post from my good friend and teammate, Hayley. We ran cross country together at Pepperdine and now she is an amazing runner, triathlete, blogger, coach and fitness professional! If you like tasty recipes, fun workouts, and playlists that get you moving you should totally check out her blog over at Healthy Regards, Hayley!


Hi Will Run For Boston’ians!

My name is Hayley and I blog over at Healthy Regards, Hayley. When Lauren asked me to write a guest post for her while she takes a little break to relax with family I was more than excited to do so! Lauren and I ran cross country together at Pepperdine University. I always looked up to Lauren! She was a freaking rock star and 100% committed to giving it all she got. Literally she was that girl running the extra mile and pushing her limits in every single workout. She is definitely an inspiration so the fact that she wanted me to write a guest post for her is a total honor!

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Lauren (sophomore) 5 in from the left and I (freshman) 5 in from the right at our cross country banquet circa 2009

Today I want to take a jump back and talk about how going from strictly a runner to a triathlete made me a better runner. My college running experience is a little interesting to say the least. I came in my freshman year chronically injured and because of that I was burnt out and out of shape. I ended up getting hip surgery as a college freshman and in the recovery process started swimming and biking. When the decision to run cross country my sophomore year came I realized my heart just wasn’t in it and I wanted to give triathlon training a shot.

My first sprint triathlon.

My first sprint triathlon.

Skip ahead two years. After my cross country hiatus I was approached by one of the assistant cross country coaches my senior year after he had seen my triathlon’ing on facebook and running around campus. After a bit of convincing I made the decision to return to cross country my senior year. I could go on forever about that decision alone but thats not the point of this post so in short it was a wonderful decision and I was able to run again as a 5th year senior. 30974_488328244531407_1265743673_n

From my freshman year to returning my senior year I went from the slowest runner on the team to consistently being number 1 or 2. I took about 3 minutes off my 5k time (1 minute per mile!!), broke the 10k school record and was a team captain those final two years. Today I want to talk about what happened between my freshman and senior year and how focusing on swimming, biking AND  running actually made me a better runner than when I was just a runner.

1. I avoided injury.

This is the biggest part of the equation and what I believe success as a runner depends upon. Even if it is just a few weeks here and there for a pulled muscle or rolled ankle time away from running makes it hard for you to ever improve as a runner. While some lucky individuals can handle 70+ mile weeks, I consistently found a new injury every time I went over 60 miles. Triathlon allowed me to get away from running every day and ultimately avoid injury. Consistent training meant I was able to grow! To continuously build and get stronger without taking time off for an injury = better faster runner.

2. I added volume in ways my body could handle.

Even though I decreased my running volume, triathlon allowed me to increase my overall training volume A LOT! More volume equals a bigger base and overall greater fitness level.

3. Every run had a purpose.

Every time I laced up my running shoes I had a clear and defined focus in mind. By only running 3-4 times a week every run had a major purpose. Whether it was speed, tempo, a long run or a brick workout I was never just doing base mileage or “recovery” runs.577035_482364568461108_1089445317_n

4. I fell in love.

While I had always enjoyed running I truly fell in love with the sport of triathlon, maybe a little obsessed as well but I think all endurance athletes walk a fine line of immense love and obsession for their sport. Being in love with what you are doing makes the “sacrifices” not seem like sacrifices. It makes gritting through a tough workout the best day ever. Love for what I was doing made everything else fall into place.

While I am definitely not suggesting that every runner should sign up for a triathlon today the things that made me a better runner by becoming a triathlete are ones that every athlete should consider. If one of those pieces are missing I’d recommend switching something up!

Maybe even give it a tri 😉IMG_8166

Healthy Regards,

Hayley


Thanks for a great post Hayley! You’ve definitely inspired me to spend a little extra time in the pool and on the bike! Make sure to check out Hayley on Instagram and Twitter too!

Do we have any other triathletes reading?

Besides running what’s your favorite way to keep active?

 

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4 thoughts on “How Triathlon Made Me a Better Runner – Guest Post

  1. Pingback: Guest Post on Will Run for Boston - Healthy Regards, Hayley

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Hayley! I feel like I could definitely benefit from mixing up activities more. I just wish I had the same drive to swim and bike as I do to run! (I haven’t ridden a bike outdoors in about 20 years, and my swimming form is pretty sad:))

  3. I participated in the tri club at school but we didn’t have nearly as neat of a program as you guys! I am hoping to do more when I’m back in the grand state of California. I even spot the Wildflower start line in the last photo I think!

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