Run – Bike – Run
Sounds straight forward enough, right? But when you add up just the kit list for this multi-sport event, you realise there's a little more to it.
For a start, no one mentions the third discipline before you sign up – the transition. This is the scramble made from run to bike, where your wobbly post-run head forgets where your bike is racked then, when you finally find it, your nervous fingers stumble around your helmet clip, before you Bambi along with your steed not knowing how you're going to complete the cycle. Then on you're return, you have to do it all over again, in reverse!
Run – Panic – Transition – Wobble – Bike – Jelly Legs – Transition – Exhaustion – Run
Once you see the real run down of a duathlon, it starts to feel a little more complicated than just running and cycling. But fear not, Hercules Events have plenty of tips to make race day a little easier.
1. Don't just train for running and cycling, practice your transitions too, this is part of the race and needs just as much preparation. Make sure you fit in some brick sessions (where you practice getting on the bike after running, or running off the bike) so you feel comfortable with the change over.
2. Find out the sponsors of the race refreshments and practice with their products. If you react well to them, you know you can use them during the race. If they don't agree with you, take your own.
3. Just as you learn to deal with running injuries, learn how to fix minor problems with your bike. Hopefully, you'll avoid punctures and slipped chains but it's worth knowing how to put them right if they do happen.
4. Make sure you've studied the basic rules. Things like not keeping a 7 metre distance from the bike in front or taking more than 15 seconds to overtake another bike, could mean a disqualification.
5. Pump up your tyres and carry out a final check on all things bike before you rack it up.
1. When you set up your kit, lay it out on a bright, easily distinguishable towel. That way, when you come in to transition, you can find your area quickly.
2. You MUST put your helmet on before touching you bike, it is the duathlon (and triathlon) law. Lay it out with the front facing you, straps out, so you can fit it straight onto your head without any fuss.
3. Put your bike into a low gear before you rack it up. Your legs will be tired coming in from the run, so a nice easy gear will help them get spinning.
4. Get on your bike from the left. This means you're protected from any traffic that may be coming your way and you avoid being scratched by the gears.
1. As you approach T2, change to a lower gear to get your legs moving quicker and prepared for the second run.
2. Look out for that bright towel again, this time you might be even more disorientated.
3. Start your second run with small strides to ease your legs into running again. Once you feel more comfortable, you can change into your normal stride length.
Unless you're planning to become an elite athlete, you're racing for fun. So enjoy the experience, be proud of your achievement and finish safely.
As with anything, the more you practice and prepare, the better you'll perform on the day. Have a look at Hercules Events for more training days and their events for when you're ready to put that knowledge to the test.