WHAT IS A DUATHLON?
A duathlon is a two-sport race which involves running and cycling in three stages (run-bike-run). A duathlon is great for those looking to move into multi-sport racing but may not be comfortable with an open water swim or for triathletes who cannot get in the open water over winter.
Similar to its counterpart triathlon, duathlons come in multiple distances to suit all competitors from beginners to seasoned athletes.
Whether your goal is to complete your first Sprint or Olympic distance Duathlon, participate in provincial or national championships, or to gain selection for the Age Group World Championship team, Duathlon is a sport which provides the pathways between participation and high performance in a way which enables all individuals to achieve whatever level they aspire to.
Some of the best ways to get involved in the sport can be to:
• Enter a short distance sprint race. Such events are usually delivered as low-competitive, fun for all events.
• Enter as a member of a two person team. This can be a great way to try out the sport with your friends, and get to know the two disciplines of a Duathlon.
• Join a Multisport club. Multisport clubs are a great way to meet other multisport athletes and coaches, get involved in a regular training programme, or sign up for a skills development course. Clubs will often keep their members updated on local or provincial races and events, and provide a great social aspect to the sport.
• Go along as a supporter for your family or friend, and get to know the sport as a spectator – we guarantee you will leave wanting to have a go yourself!
If you can run and you can cycle, you are more than capable of completing a duathlon.
When training for this multisport race, whilst it’s great to focus on the individual sports, you need to get familiar with training one sport after another. This is called a brick session. Brick sessions prepare you for what it feels like to run after having jelly legs from cycling and visa versa. They are also great for building endurance and testing out your transitions, which can be tricky on race day if you are new and nervous.
The first run of any duathlon is where you’re going to be the least fatigued, so you’re going to want to set off at your fast pace, whilst retaining energy for the bike and second run ahead. This is particularly important to practice, as you don’t want to use all your energy speeding off in the first leg, and have your other transitions suffer. If you can’t get outside and train, you can always complete a brick session at the gym.
One of the bonuses of duathlon is that you don’t need as much kit as you do for triathlon events as there’s no call for a wetsuit. When it comes to duathlon clothing, the jury's out. Some people will argue that cycling shorts and a bib are fine, whilst others will suggest this is like running in a nappy and terribly awkward. Those with a tougher bum or padded seat may opt for a regular running short - which typically will be okay for shorter distances. The most popular option is to go for a tri suit or tri shorts and top. The tri suit is designed with a lighter chamois pad making a comfier ride, but without distracting your run. You can view our Sundried Tri Suits crafted with the finest Italian fabrics for the ultimate comfort here via our triathlon shop.
When it comes to footwear, it’s best to wear what you’ve been training in. In order to limit your time in transition, if you have a pair of trainers you can bike and run in, you may save time, however some people will want to wear their cleats in order to pick up the most speed on the ride. If so ensure you have speed laces and socks which are suited to both trainers - or go sockless.