Growing steadily in popularity since the 1980s, duathlons, a run/bike/run race event, are now finally becoming more familiar and are increasing in popularity.
If you are addicted to running and love cycling, but aren’t thrilled with the thought of a swim leg, then this sport may be for you. Maybe you don’t have time for all three disciplines, or you possibly have heard horror stories from triathletes about competitors having their ankles grabbed out in the open water, or accidentally getting their swim goggles yanked off, or getting an elbow slammed in the nose of fellow athletes swimming over the top of them. This can often make the thought of multi-sport less appealing to a new athlete. The best way to start is with a sprint distance duathlon. An average distance for a sprint duathlon is a 2-mile run, 10-mile bike, ending with another 2-mile run.
Thinking about jumping into the multi-sport life, but without dipping your toes in the water? Here are a few tips on training to compete in your first duathlon:
Be sure you have all the necessary equipment, such as a bike, helmet, and running shoes. If your bike is a road bike or triathlon-specific bike, make sure your bike fit is comfortable.
You want to have a good base of physical fitness with some running and cycling experience. Try to practice some brick workouts, where you either bike and follow immediately with a run, or vice versa. The length of your workouts will depend on the distance you want to train for.
In order to be ready for race day, you must practice transitions. Transition is the area where you will rack your bike and set up your equipment. As you come in from your run, you will head to transition, kick off your run shoes, put on your bike shoes, helmet, and glasses, and then run or walk your bike out of transition to the dismount line. The harder transition will occur when you come back from your bike and have to then head out on the run. Practicing this will allow you to have a pattern or sequence and become familiar with it for race day. No matter how hard you train you will feel the wrath of the dead iron legs on the first mile of that second run, although with proper training, becoming familiar with this feeling and proper pacing, it will feel less intense and less daunting.