Running v Triathlon running – If you are a runner thinking about training for a triathlon is there a difference in what you need to train to do? In short, yes there is, but not that many differences. Allow me to elaborate.


The primary difference is time. Triathlete’s train across 3 entirely different sports. This would inevitably dilute the amount of time he/she can allocate to a run specific training program. This can, however, benefit the triathlete in that swimming and cycling can be used as recovery and/or rehabilitation sessions thus maintaining cardiovascular fitness and muscle condition.

Technically there shouldn’t be a difference. The same tried and tested style of running is well known. Stride length v cadence = speed, consistency, frequency, upright body position etc. Why reinvent the wheel?!

Running style

A pure runner wouldn’t need to adapt a significantly different style during an event. However, a triathlete would benefit from a small adaptation when running out of transition. Using a slightly shorter stride length whilst getting rid of ‘jelly legs’ may be needed. In training, a warm up, main set/s and a cool down are needed regardless of your chosen sport.

The same distances for running events (5k, 10k, half and full marathon) largely tend to be used within triathlon events. There are exceptions of course but the similarities are very handy indeed! This would allow for a triathlete to join a running club and vice-versa without being squeezed into training for an irrelevant distance.

Another similarity is that the respective race/events seasons are aligned.  This means triathletes and runners get to emphasise with each other during the cold wet nights during winter base training, experience the ‘prep’ phase at the same time and share the highs of reaching their peak and busting those pb’s in the spring/summer.

The most common ground both runners and triathlete’s share is the love of running and the social aspect and camaraderie it brings.

Train with us

Whether you are a runner, a runner looking to get into triathlete or already a triathlete we’d love to have you train with Dave Savage Sports. Sign up to join us and train with us each week in Southampton and Basingstoke. Click here to find out more.