How To Train For Duathlon Events
The best way to train for a duathlon is to make running and cycling a regular part of your lifestyle. You should aim to train twice per week for each discipline, or more. The duration of your runs and rides will depend on your current fitness level and the type of duathlon you’re training for.
Your training workouts should start off relatively short and build up gradually over a period of weeks and months, so that your body gradually adapts to the loads placed upon it. Include regular recovery days and easy weeks, so that it never feels like a drag. The more you enjoy it, the longer you’ll stick with it.
What Duathlon Event Should I Do?
If it’s your first ever duathlon, we recommend starting off with a sprint distance event. These typically involve a 5km run, a 15km cycle and a 2.5km run.
Specific Training Tips For Duathlons
Around 85% of your training should be done at an easy pace, where you can maintain a conversation. If that means you need to walk for a while during a run, that’s fine. Low intensity training boosts your fitness, and is kind on your body too, meaning you’re less likely to get injured.
The other 15% of your training can be done at higher intensities. This normally involves harder efforts with frequent rests, once you’ve done a good warm up. Our online training plans include speed sessions, easier aerobic workouts and regular recovery periods, so you improve consistently throughout.
Aim to cycle at least twice per week if you want to consistently improve. It’s generally better to follow a pre-planned workout, rather than just riding along aimlessly. Your training should be a mix of longer steady rides, and shorter workouts with higher intensity efforts. As with all endurance training, it’s important to progress your workouts over time, with periodic recovery days and easier weeks.
You can either cycle outdoors in good weather, or indoors using a static trainer. Many indoor trainers enable you to use cycling software like Zwift, which makes it more fun. The workouts in our training plans can be exported to platforms such as Zwift, TrainerRoad and Garmin. However, it’s sensible to do at least some of your training outside on the bike you intend to use during your triathlon. This ensures you’re used to the feel and handling of your race-day bike.
As you get nearer race day, you should precede a few of your cycles with a run. Riding after a run feels harder than normal, so it’s good to practice it first.
Aim to run twice per week, or more if you’re experienced. No matter how experienced you are, be cautious about progressing your speed and distance, to avoid injury. Soft surfaces are generally better than hard ones for reducing injury rates.
If you’re a fit beginner, you could kick off your training by running two miles each time, increasing by one mile per month. Do most of your running at chatting pace, even if it means you include some walking. It’s also good to include some harder efforts, interspersed with plenty of easy stuff. For your harder days, you should follow pre-planned workouts, so you’re more likely to complete a quality session.
As you get nearer your target event, it’s a good idea to practice running straight after cycling. This helps you get used to the heavy-legs feeling and is also a time efficient way to train.
We include two 45-minute strength and conditioning sessions per week with our duathlon plans. These workouts can help balance your strength and flexibility, which leads to more efficient movement patterns and fewer injuries. We suggest you only do strength work in addition to at least two runs and two cycles per week. Rather than instead of them.
How Long Do I Need To Train For?
For a beginner who has some recent background in fitness or sport, give yourself 8 to 12 weeks to get fit and ready for a sprint duathlon. Whatever your level, entering a duathlon is a great way to kickstart your training, because it adds a sense of urgency to your preparation. The earlier you start training for your target event, the more time you can build up your fitness gradually. Fitness adaptations take weeks and months to occur, rather than days.
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