5 TIPS FOR THE PERFECT DUATHLON

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OK, so you have signed up to take part in a duathlon.  If you are not a seasoned endurance race athlete, competing in a multi-sport race can be a little overwhelming.

Duathlons are a perfect way to increase your general level of fitness, through training and competing in the race.  Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships – Malaysia is the biggest duathlon in the world and has over 3,000 participants who run and cycle through the heart of Putrajaya every year. 

If you have signed up to compete amongst the thousands in Malaysia, or have another duathlon coming up this season, take a look at these quick tips to help you have the perfect race.

COMBINE TRAINING

It is crucial that alongside your running and cycling sessions, you regularly train both in the same session so your body can adapt to the changeover at race time. 

You can train at your event distance at home, but shorter sessions can also be as effective.  Try interval training – running a short distance then cycling another short distance repeatedly – to get your body used to the change in movement. 

It is good to do these shorter sessions fast with more sets, and the longer sessions can be done at a slower pace with fewer sets.  Gradually ease off in the week up until the event so you are fresh for the race.

PRACTICE TRANSITIONS

A good transition can mean the difference between a good time and a bad time.  Practice switching from the bike to the run and vice versa at home, so your mind remembers the process.  When you get to the race venue, find out where the transition area is and practice it there.  If you are not allowed to do this then visualise your transition instead, so it is nice and easy at race time.

RACE RULES

Pay attention to these four important duathlon rules to avoid being penalised on race day:

  1. Put on your helmet before you touch your bike
  2. Don’t remove your helmet until you have mounted your bike in the transition area
  3. Don’t ride your bike before you cross the designated line in the transition area
  4. Drafting on the bike is not allowed

Some events may have different rules, so check them out before you get to the start line.

PRE-RACE ESSENTIALS

Think of your body as a machine.  You need to fine tune it so it runs as efficiently as possible.  That means giving it the three key things it needs:

SLEEP: often over-looked by people taking part in endurance events, sleep is crucial for your body to perform well.  It is good to get extra hours’ sleep up to three days before the event, then try and get around eight hours snooze-time the night before.

FOOD: carbs, carbs, carbs.  Your body will need enough energy to get around the course, so feed it with high-quality fuel.  Make sure you do this the night before and the morning of the race.  Try consuming complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, brown rice and sweet potato as they take longer to absorb and deliver nutrients to the body.

WATER: the most important element!  Exercise performance is impaired when an individual is dehydrated by as little as 2% of their body weight.  Make sure you are drinking enough water leading up to the race, but don’t drink so much that you feel full right before it.

DON’T START TOO HARD

You are at the start line.  You can feel the energy of everyone around you and your adrenaline is pumping.  All too often participants get too excited at the outset of the race and shoot off way ahead of their usual pace.  Don’t worry about being in the lead for those few seconds at the start; take a breath and remember to start calmly so you can finish strongly!