So you’ve signed up for your first duathlon but not quite sure where to start…here’s a few tips to hopefully get you going!
Budget at least 10-12 weeks to train for a duathlon but don’t worry if you haven’t got this time as long as you have a decent base fitness it will be achievable! Example training schedules are available on many websites and some will be uploaded here in due course but if you’re unsure it might be worth speaking to your local triathlon club for some tips and even join the as then there will always be some structure to your training, tips and someone to train with, as let’s face it, training with someone is a lot more fun than training alone!! Search on http://www.triathlonengland.org/ to find your nearest club.
Practice Brick Sessions:
No, this doesn’t mean building a wall!! This is the term used to refer to the transition between bike and run, so this means you do a bike and run in the same session. The different muscles used in running and cycling mean your legs can feel like lead when you get off the bike and start to run so prepare yourself in training for this. For example, do a short ride, approx 6 miles, followed immediately with a short run, approx 1 mile. It is important to also practice the run to bike as well so work up to doing a few short bike segments in a row to prepare your muscles.
If you are going to take on supplements (gels, chews, energy bars) on race day it is important to practice with these in training as well to make sure that everything agrees with you!
No matter how many brick sessions you practice in training you are likely to experience a feeling of rubber legs after your bike to run transition. Put your bike in a low gear and spin your pedals quickly for the last few minutes of the ride to help minimise this sensation. If you are new to running you may consider walking briskly for about 100metres before you start running in the final leg. Also, when you start out on the cycle section choose a lower gear than you intend to use for the main portion of your race to minimise lactic acid accumulation (which causes the pain in your muscles).
Practice your transitions. These are part of the race and count towards your overall time. Have a plan for your setup and lay your kit out accordingly. If you’re changing your shoes, practice removing your running shoes and placing them in an easy to access place for when you return from the bike ride.
This is a good way to mix up your training a little to help with strength and prevent boredom! Think about incorporating some swimming into your training schedule, not only is it impact free which is beneficial for your joints it will help improve your core fitness & stability as well as lung capacity. A gym workout can be beneficial but be careful not to build too much muscle mass. Use your own body weight and basic kit such as dumb bells and Swiss balls which can help strengthen & tone muscle. Core strengthening & stability exercises are an important part of your training and should be incorporated 2-3 times a week.