24 Jul 2013

From Marathon To Duathlon

Those of you who have been reading this blog more than once know that I'm dreaming of once completeing a triathlon, but being a poor swimmer and an obsessive-compulsive Type-A personality means that I never muster the courage to enter one. I keep worrying about being too poor a swimemr to actually get myself through one instead of, in the words of Nike, just doing it. Then we've got the anxiety that the transistions, the triahlon equipment and clothing brings...I'm too scared to look stupid to get on with racing.  Then one day I get an e-mail from the lovely Victoria at Limelight Sports asking me if I'd be interested in a press place at the London Duathlon! Now, this is where it all gets very exciting - there is no swimming involved in a duathlon. This is the perfect opportunity for me to man up and get racing, sorting out all my worry about transitions, before I start adding swimming to the mix. So what was my answer to her question? Yes, of course.

But how do you train for a duathlon??  Running I can do, cycling I can do but combined it's a whole other thing. A quick literature review on the esteemed Internet brings things such as 'brick sessions' to light then continues on to make it all sound like a Big Scary Event. - but fear not! RG Active and London Duathlon have sent me some tips and tricks that I thought I'd share with you guys on how to make your first duathlon experience a succes....:

 July 2013, London, UKIf the idea of a triathlon is a little overwhelming, but you are looking for more of a challenge than a simple 5k, 10k or even half marathon run this summer, duathlon is fast becoming the next step in the fitness calendar.
 London Duathlon is the world’s largest duathlon. Held in the breath-taking surroundings of Richmond Park, the run-bike-run event offers people of all abilities the chance to race while on closed roads – ideal for beginners looking to take their first step into the world of multi-sport. This year the race will take place on Sunday 15 September. Contrary to popular belief, expensive kit is not required for a duathlon and there is no swimming element, it is just a simple run-bike-run event with a transition stage between disciplines. The distances of each activity vary according to the challenge, with some requiring only minimal training. To help novice duathletes on their way, London Duathlon together with race partner and duathlon/triathlon training expert, Dermott Hayes from RG Active (www.rgactive.com), have pulled together some top tips to overcome first time jitters:
 1.    Do your homework – ensure you spend some time researching the event. Look at the transport and parking for race day, building in plenty of time to get the race and not be rushing at the last minute. Try to speak to athletes that have completed the race previously and get their feedback
 2.    Get the basics – the basic equipment is essential. You will need a bike, a bike helmet, a pair of running shoes and some sports clothing to take part in. Spend some time making sure that your equipment is in good working order and get your bike serviced to prevent any unwanted mechanical issues. If your running shoes are more than one year old and you have used them regularly - it is time for a new pair. Good working equipment can often prevent injuries
 3.    Build using BRICK’s – What is a BRICK session? Basically a training session where you complete both running and cycling elements at least once back-to-back to give you that real race simulation session. A BRICK session can take any form, it could be a very long bike followed by a short run, or short bike followed by a long run, it could be a run/bike/run session, or even a multiple BRICK where you swap sports up to five or six times. There is no right and wrong
 4.    Train Transitions – the transition phase between cycling and running is the area that causes most anxiety for beginners. To help with this, spend time thinking through what ‘your’ method will be for transition – think about bike set up, the need to change footwear (if you wish) and how to lay this out for a smooth change over. Practice this time and time again
 5.    Get outdoors – Your race is outside, on roads and will most likely include hills, therefore it is important to train in this environment on a regular basis. Cycling outdoors is very different to training on an indoor bike; the hills, the road surface, the wind and the heat can all play a big part in how you ride your bike, it also means you are training on the same equipment that you will be racing on. Indoor training is helpful, and on certain training sessions where you really want to control the environment it is more advantageous, but nothing beats being outdoors
 6.    Be an early bird – on the race day it is important to get to the event early, this gives you an opportunity to register, set up your transition area and watch how the race operates without the stress of feeling rushed
 London Duathlon offers five different challenges to suit abilities of all levels from complete beginner to experienced athlete:
 ·         Super Sprint - ideal for beginners including a 5K run, 11K cycle and 5K run to finish; this race is achievable for all abilities.Entry £63.00 (up to 4th August) / £68.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Sprint - suited to those that wish to try a duathlon and have a little more time to train for the 10K run, 22K cycle and 5K run.Entry £64.00 (up to 4th August) / £69.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Classic – the blue ribbon duathlon distance, this race will give you the true feel of the event with a 10K run, 44K cycle and 5K run to finish. The course will test racers’ ability to climb. Training is needed for this challenge to make the most of the day. Entry £74.00 (up to 4th August) / £79.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Ultra - starting with a 20K run, 77K cycle and closing with a 10K run, the Ultra is a real test of any endurance athlete. The Ultra distance is not to be taken lightly and is recommended for an experienced competitor who fancies a serious challenge. The undulating terrain offers a tough race that when finished will be a great achievement. Entry £109.00 (up to 4th August) / £114.00 (up to 2nd September)*
 ·         Classic Relay - for the teamsters among us! A great opportunity to share the workload and have more fun doing so. This three person challenge is made up of a 10K run, 44K cycle and 5K run to finish, which each athlete taking on one discipline. The event is also attractive to those sports people that are specific cyclists or runners and can forge a strong team. Entry £120.00 (up to 4thAugust) / £120.00 (up to 2nd September)*
RG Active will be helping competitors get race ready with ability-specific training programmes and London Duathlon specific training sessions taking place on the event course in Richmond Park, which can be booked online at www.rgactive.com Athletes can take on an extra challenge by raising funds for London Duathlon’s charity partner Macmillan Cancer Support; as part of Team Macmillan.  Every Team Macmillan member will receive a duathlon specific training guide and fundraising pack, Macmillan t-shirt, a Macmillan tri-belt, refreshments and a 15% discount voucher for Cycle Surgery. On event day, bikelab will be on-site offering duathletes bike maintenance throughout the race to make sure your London Duathlon experience is trouble free.Following the race, every finisher can visit Crewroom, London Duathlon’s Official Sportswear Partner, for their kit needs.
 To enter London Duathlon or for further information regarding the event please visit www.londonduathlon.com Join other #duathlon participants and follow London Duathlon on Facebook and Twitter www.facebook.com/londonduathlon or @londonduathlon
 So I hope I'll see some of you on September 15th - I'll be the blond girl with fear and panic in her eyes.

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