Go out too fast it in a du and you’ll pay it later. But how do you master the first run leg, bal­ance the bike and race for glory the on fi­nal run?

220 Triathlon Magazine - - FEATURE -


09 If you’re new to duathlon, you might not have much ex­pe­ri­ence of run­ning fresh, so you won’t know what your race pace ac­tu­ally is. And it can be all too easy to start off too fast, hit the front, feel great, and then after few kilo­me­tres get hit by a wave of fa­tigue and end up claw­ing your way to the fin­ish line. So it’s im­por­tant to pace the first run so that you con­serve enough en­ergy to main­tain power on the bike and hold your race pace on the sec­ond run.

10 To suc­cess­fully pace the first run, aim to keep within your aer­o­bic zone. If you’re un­sure, take your 10km PB and add 8-10mins to the time. If you don’t have a 10km time, run the first 5km at a con­trolled pace, where breath­ing is sus­tain­able and then aim to hold the same pace for the sec­ond. Any slower could lead to feel­ing slug­gish and a loss of race sharp­ness.

11 As you ap­proach tran­si­tion, main­tain a steady heart rate and breath­ing. If you’ve paced it right, you won’t need to slow down and will be able to ef­fort­lessly jump onto the bike to be­gin the next dis­ci­pline.


12 Bike and run­ning move­ments pre­dom­i­nately work the same mus­cle groups. But the me­chan­ics of th­ese two move­ments and the mus­cles in­volved are used in dif­fer­ent ways. Dur­ing a duathlon, you have to tran­si­tion twice be­tween th­ese two dis­ci­plines so the ‘jelly legs’ sen­sa­tion that’s com­mon in a triathlon is po­ten­tially dou­bled dur­ing a duathlon.

13 Sim­i­lar to tri, make sure you leave your bike in a light gear in tran­si­tion. If you go into a heavy gear too early it can fur­ther fa­tigue your legs and com­pro­mise the fi­nal run. When you be­gin cy­cling, aim to hold a high cadence for a cou­ple of min­utes. This’ll aid re­cov­ery from the pre­vi­ous run, help your mus­cles adapt to the ac­tion and help get your bike legs back quicker. Once set­tled, shift up a few gears, re­lax into your po­si­tion and be­gin ap­ply­ing the power.

14 Dur­ing the bike leg, there’s a good chance that your body, es­pe­cially the legs, will be feel­ing much more fa­tigued than in a tri. Your body may be in greater calo­rie deficit after the first run than it’s used to after a swim. So it’s im­por­tant to re­place th­ese lost calo­ries im­me­di­ately and re­boost your en­ergy. That’s why it’s not un­com­mon to have a dif­fer­ent nu­tri­tion plan for a duathlon com­pared to a tri. Prac­tis­ing dif­fer­ent nu­tri­tion strate­gies dur­ing duathlon brick ses­sions will en­sure that the mus­cles are quickly re­plen­ished and power main­tained.

“By T2, the wob­bly bike legs are ac­com­pa­nied by the feel­ing of an ele­phant strapped to your back”


15 Tran­si­tion­ing onto the fi­nal run and you’re back in fa­mil­iar triathlon ter­ri­tory. But this time, the wob­bly bike legs are ac­com­pa­nied by the feel­ing of an ele­phant strapped to your back! This is what makes duathlon so chal­leng­ing and why it’s com­mon for the fi­nal run to feel like your legs are full of ce­ment. Just re­mem­ber that is a com­pletely nat­u­ral feel­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence.

16 As you be­gin to ap­proach tran­si­tion, like you did when you got on the bike, move into a light gear and in­crease the cadence. This’ll help the legs re­cover from the heav­ier gear and ac­cel­er­ate the tran­si­tion to your run­ning legs.

17 It’s im­por­tant that you don’t go full gas as you may run the risk of cramp­ing. Start steady and aim to find your rhythm quickly. Keep control of your breath­ing and try and main­tain a high cadence as this’ll make your run­ning feel more ef­fi­cient (long strides will only add un­nec­es­sary fa­tigue to an al­ready ex­hausted pair of legs). As you ap­proach the fin­ish­ing chute – hav­ing paced the race to per­fec­tion – it’ll be time to un­leash the last drops of en­ergy: cross­ing the fin­ish line, arms in the air, you are now a duath­lete!

Learn­ing how to pace the first duathlon run is im­per­a­tive to a suc­cess­ful race

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