I'm a triathlete, not a runner.
If you are a triathlete....
When was your last running race?
It wasn't until last year, that I broke my no-running races streak and participated in my first running road races (a 5-mile turkey trot and a 5-mile road race) in 2 years.
I was simply training with a lot of people, great volunteers, a t-shirt at registration and I choose to pay money for the workout.
Oh, and I didn't care what the overall time or placing was when I crossed the finish line.
I know it sounds so mean of us to not allow our triathletes to train for running races but that doesn't mean that they can not do a running race or two.
In order for us to focus on their overall, season development in all three sports, it is important that every triathlete that we coach (regardless of running fitness, speed or endurance) thinks and trains like a triathlete.
-Be mindful that if using a running race for establishing pace or HR training zones, you will always run faster with others, in a race environment, than alone (of course, the course terrain matters on this statement). Using running race efforts/paces for your solo training can actually set you back as you may be training in unrealistic zones for day-to-day training.
It's best to perform your running test alone, for a true indication of what you are capable of running.
-It's ok to compete at a running race even if it's just for training or for fun. You are a triathlete, thus you are an athlete. And athletes love to compete!
Whenever you race, you should always understand your purpose for racing and the outcome you want to achieve. Unlike runners who may seek PR's, your focus shouldn't be on pace, total time or pacing as you will likely be going into the race not tapered and with a bike or swim workout preceding or following the race. Find a way to be competitive so that you can improve your race tactics and mental strength skills but not at the expense of you being hard on yourself if you don't like your overall finish time or placing. And of course, no running race should come with the risk for injuries or a delay in your triathlon development. If you register for a running race and you find yourself injured before the race, don't race (it's not worth it!!). And if you race hard, allow time to recover so you don't experience any further setbacks in your triathlon training.
Being a great runner is important but only if you can do it off the bike.