Let me start by stating the obvious. Trivium racing does have a motive for writing this article. We have duathlons coming up this winter and spring, and would LOVE for you to sign up for them. I would be just as happy if you took this information and signed up for another race director’s duathlons though! Simply put, the long considered bastard child of the multisport world is the absolute best thing you can do to prepare yourself for the upcoming triathlon season. I want to answer a few questions and help you understand the huge benefits of early season duathons.
Du you struggle with consistency, direction, and enthusiasm in your early season training?
Duathlons act as a great early season workout. It’s hard not to put forth good effort when there are 100+ other people out there battling with and against you. ALL of the athletes I have coached have had their fastest, and most consistent season after racing duathlons early in the year. At a minimum, you are guaranteeing one good OUTDOOR workout that week. You are also significantly more likely to train leading up to the event guaranteeing more consistent training for multiple weeks.
Du you struggle with injuries?
This might seem counterintuitive but racing more early in the season will lead to fewer injuries in the later season. There are a few reasons for this. A lot of the in-season injuries stem from pre-season bike trainer and treadmill related tightness and overuse injuries. When you are on a trainer your body doesn’t adjust position as frequently and there is less forgiveness on the body. You will be more likely to go outside early in the year for training if you have an early season event planned. Your fitness level will also be higher going into the season which will remove a few extremely common errors: 1. Racing before you are in racing form and 2. Trying to squeeze too many races into a short season.
Du you complain before every triathlon swim?
It has always made me laugh to listen to the number of people complaining prior to the swim of a triathlon about how little they want to get in the water, and then to see the contrastingly low number of duathlon participants. The stereotype seems to always prevail that duathlons are not as big of an accomplishment as a triathlon. I think this statement is way off base. Duathlons are some of the most difficult events, and will leave you feeling the most rewarded when you finish. Luckily there are distances for everyone. (note: don’t start out with a long course duathlon if you haven’t tried it before, start shorter and build into it!)
Du you think swimming is your weakness? Or alternatively du you think that swimming is your strength?
See what I did there? Tricky, right? It’s true that duathlons can be good for both. If swimming is your strength, then you SHOULD be doing more cycling and running events to help you to be more competitive and more comfortable with the rest of the sport. If, on the other hand, swimming is your weakness (as it was for me) this will allow you to be more competitive with a higher caliber of cyclist and runner during the race (which, in turn, will make you even faster!)
Du you need early season data?
The answer is yes you do. Your data can be as elaborate as heart rate and power training zones or as simple as did I eat too much this past holiday season. Everyone gauges their fitness in one way or another. Heart rate monitors, powertaps, perceived exertion, etc. Early season events help you collect this information. It is a lot more beneficial to try new strategies, test out new equipment, and be more aware of your body in a training race than in an actual in-season race. You have the chance to work out all of the kinks before the race season even begins. The best triathlon coach I ever had forced me write down everything I was feeling as soon as the race was over in my early season races. We were able to work on nutrition, gastrointestinal issues, pacing, heart rate zones, bike fit, run economy, and many other factors in a race setting with a much lower stress level. By the time the season came there were no surprises.
Du you like racing?
Most of what I have said so far lends itself to the notion that duathlons are second tier to triathlons. This isn’t true. Duathlons are more than just an early season tune-up. These are also great events to prepare for and race! We do multisport events because we like to race, or to have goals, or to accomplish something. This is all very much the same in duathlons as it is in triathlons.
Trivium Racing’s Multisport Series kicks off with three early season duathlons that ascend in distance throughout the late winter and early spring. These races have both the highly competitive and the highly curious about the sport. Come on out and kick of your racing season a few months earlier than usual with us! Check out the details here.