Duathlon Tips

English: Diss Duathlon, High School The first ...
English: Diss Duathlon, High School The first race on the calendar of the local triathlon club, Tri-Anglia. It consists of a 5km run, 30km bike, and another 5km run, and had 105 finishers in 2009. This view shows the race start. http://www.tri-anglia.co.uk/DissDuathlon/MainPage.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve had Top 3 duathlon finishes (but never a proper one that I’ve really cherished) and done relatively badly in others with: cramp; poor placing; or a DQ – but never a DNS or DNF. You’ve got to go for it. Here are some tips, there’s plenty more dotted around this blog and this is by no means an exhaustive list.

  1. This might not be your ‘A’ race. But it is the race you are racing now. Give it all you’ve got, you’ll only race it once.
  2. When it really hurts you’re really trying. You need to do then when you race and sometimes when you train.
  3. In a triathlon you can almost pace your bike by just going close to flat out. Duathlon is harder as you are much more tired from the previous run than you would be from a previous swim. Consider the overall length of your race and base your bike pace on the overall length NOT just the length of the bike segment. eg for a 60 minute sprint duathlon aim for a CP60/FTP effort on the 30 minute bike leg.
  4. You last run pace: eg in a 10:40:5, that 5k at the end is not going to be a PB pace, I can say that with certainty. If you aim for that you will fail and you will feel badly about failing. A 10:40:5 (standard) is going to take you 2+ hours. So you will be running at slower than you half marathon pace. If you can do a 19 minute standalone 5k then you might not want to aim for much faster than a 40 minute 10k at the start. And your 5k at the end should be tempered with a slow start picking up the pace as you get your run-legs back and working.
  5. Elastic laces are cool for lots of reasons (other than dancing in night clubs). Use them.
  6. Drafting is most likely illegal in your races. Don’t cheat. At the same time understand exactly what the rules are and maximise the drafting benefit in the time that you have to overtake.
  7. Ignore pre-race chat about ‘that’ unfamiliar hill. It will be fine once you are there. You are probably better than the other people moaning about it and even if not then worrying about it won’t make it any easier and it will be over soon-enough once the race gets going.
  8. Get decent kit and then focus on training. Don’t spend hours agonising over slightly better wheels. The reality is that they won’t make that much difference over already half-decent kit at the speeds you go at.
  9. If you are racing in a tri suit get one with rear cycling pockets and store a spare gel there. Ideally the gels that do not require water as well.
  10. Have a hydration plan for your race. Have a refuelling plan for all longer races.
  11. Don’t overtrain. Overtraining = wasting your time. Spread out your VO2 sessions, have recovery weeks and months, have some way of assessing your current recovery status eg through trainingload or HRV.
  12. Race once a month. At least. Get it in your training plan. a parkrun or a favourite PB bike course attempt all count as a race.
  13. Consider paracetamol or immodium for pre-race headaches and tums.
  14. Add variety to your training – I follow the same sprint-du plan each time…bad idea. I finish lower and lower each time 🙁
  15. If you are a great runner focus on maintaining that and becoming a great cyclist if time is limited fro training. Focus on improving WHATEVER you are worst at. This might also mean hill work or speedwork or transition.
  16. Even if you have an old TT bike at least have the self-respect to clean it before a race. Maybe that shiny surface and clean chain will eek out a few seconds of performance somewhere along the line?
  17. Caffeine is great. Work out if it helps you and use it if it does.
  18. Consider the life of some of your kit. My ‘trusty’ shoes fell apart during a B race. At the same time never wear shoes for the first time. For your A and B races make sure you’ve used your kit and be as sure as you can that it won’t break during the race.
  19. Missed a training session? Either beat yourself up for a week about it OR don’t worry as it won’t make any difference. (Honest!)
  20. If someone has done a plan for you, follow it. If you know better than them, then write your own! You can’t chop and change days around as the plan then won’t work in all likelihood as you will be messing with recovery periods too much.
  21. Compression gear is probably a placebo. But it can’t hurt. Some nice, tight Compressport calf guards MIGHT just stave off that impending achilles of doom during the race.
  22. Oil your bike and oil your body against chaffing.
  23. Saddle problems. Adamo are great for the protection/relief of your important bits.
  24. Use whey protein/creatine/L-Glutamine for recovery…just in case it works. And just in case your diet is inadequate.
  25. Training: Use strides often in running, use one-legged often pedalling in cycling.
  26. Practice uphill, practice downhill. Practice all you will do in your race.
  27. Whilst Paula Radcliffe is probably the greatest athlete (including Mo) that this country has ever produced don’t ‘do a Paula’. And I don’t mean stopping for a pee. I mean always finish. She’s better than you and doesn’t finish for a reason. You always finish unless it will injure you.
  28. Big fat bike tyres are more aero. (err no they’re not, not on your wheels). Do your research and use your common sense. EVERY piece of shop advice and EVERY single review you read will be biased to some degree…yes mine…everyone’s. Some more so than others. Be sensible. Think. Don’t follow the crowd; look at why the crowd are going that way. I’ve been in 3 races where people went the wrong way..in 2 of them everyone else followed! Go on buy those wide tyres…help me beat you! I’ve heard MTB tyres are good in TTs 🙂
  29. What’s your plan Stan? Do you have a contingency. You really need to think about these things for your A race. For my A race I take the kitchen sink to the venue…just in case. Having said that at the GB Tri champs recently I forgot my tri-belt! Doh! Another £10 down the drain (and 5 minutes of unwanted stress)
  30. Do weights once a week. Exercise ALL the major muscle groups that you will be using, including core. Makes you stronger, less floppy and, of course, faster.
  31. A disc wheel will make you a tad faster. In the wind it might get you DQ’d. Take a spare!
  32. Take a chill pill, often. They work better than any other brand. Oh, the Smile 🙂 brand works well too.
  33. Enjoy training at least occasionally.
  34. I rate you better than the brilliant guy at home polishing his trophies.

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