Duathlon is the perfect introduction to multi-sport, so why don’t you try the run-bike-run challenge this autumn? Follow our six-week plan.

“With a run-bike-run format, don’t think that a duathlon is a soft touch…”

Many people are put off the idea of a triathlon by the prospect of the swim leg, especially if it’s an open water one in a murky lake. Although pool based events are fairly commonplace, an ideal way to dip your toe in the water (without having to get in the water!) of multi-sport is to do a duathlon. With a runbike-run format, don’t think that a duathlon is a soft touch.

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It’s widely acknowledged amongst racers, who do both triathlons and duathlons, that the second run of the latter is tougher than the final run in a tri. The duathlon season is split into two blocks with races taking place in the autumn/early winter and then late winter/early spring. The classic duathlon distances are 10km-40km-5km. You’ll also find half-distance sprint events and much longer ones. Real masochists can opt for the 10km-150km-30km Powerman Zofingen Duathlon in Switzerland www.powerman.ch And for those of you who like the rough stuff, there are plenty of off-road duathlons that combine mountain biking and trail running (go to: www.humanrace.co.uk). The distances of these are usually shorter and the biking, although usually muddy and hilly, doesn’t tend to be overly technical. In fact, as most people have a serviceable mountain bike lurking in the garage and without having to worry about cars etc, an off-road event can provide the provide the perfect introduction to duathlon. duathlon training plan_2

Races to Do

For a complete list of races go to www.britishtriathlon.org/events/ but here are a few pre-Christmas races to think about. The Chelsea and Westminster Health Charity London Duathlon Richmond Park Fun: 5km-10km-5km Challenge: 10km-20km-5km Ultra: 20km-80km-10km www.thelondonduathlon.co.uk Evil Sheriff Off-Road Duathlon Sherwood Pines Forest, nr Nottingham 6km-18km-3km www.onestepbeyond.org.uk Serpentine Jekyll and Hyde Park Duathlon Hyde Park 4.2km-20km-7.5km www.serpentine.org.uk/pages/duathlon.html Winter Ballbuster Boxhill, Surrey 13km-39km-13km www.humanrace.co.uk Whinlatter Off-Road Duathlon Whinlatter Forest Park, Cumbria 5.5km-15km-5.5km www.bechallenged.co.uk

The Plan

“If you’re capable of running at a steady pace for an hour and cycling for 90min then it’s perfect for you”

Our 6-week duathlon plan is designed for regular exercisers with an established fitness base who want to have a go at the event. If you’re capable of running at a steady pace for an hour and cycling for 90min (including indoor cycling classes) then it’s perfect for you. Each week is broken into two rest days, two quality work sessions, two long and steady sessions and one strength session. For the strength session, concentrate on your core strength and keeping your upper body strength maintained. From week three, we introduce ‘brick’ sessions. These workouts will get you used to the jelly legs sensation of running straight off the bike. You’ll hear various explanations as to why they’re called bricks, but we reckon it’s because your legs feel as though they’ve been hit by one! For the interval brick sessions, the ideal set-up is a turbo trainer by a running track. However, it’s just as effective to use a treadmill and a spinning bike in the gym. These sessions also allow you to practice your seconds saving transitions. Heart rate intensities are given in the plan. There is little point in giving percentage heart rate zones of theoretical maximums, as these are notoriously inaccurate. If you’re wanting to train with heart rate you need to perform a test for your anaerobic threshold and then derive training zones from this figure. Alternatively you can follow these effort level guidelines: *Heart rate zones 1-2: Comfortable pace where you’re able to maintain a full conversation. Don’t plod when running at this pace, concentrate on your form and keep your cadence high and foot strike light. For zone 1 ‘easy spinning’ on the bike, stay in the smaller chain-ring. *Heart rate 3: This is the ‘sustainable discomfort’ pace. You’re working hard but can keep it going. No chatting, just short answers. *Heart rate 4: Really pushing hard and probably only sustainable for 5min. No talking, just grunts and moans!

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