3 essential duathlon training sessions
Increase your duathlon race speed and minimise the pain with these proven training sessions from Nik Cook…
You’ll need a run lap that takes about 5mins to cover and a bike loop that takes about 10mins. Think of your target race and, if it’s hilly or flat, try to replicate the course. If you can rope in a helper/kit minder, that’ll really help too.
You can’t beat this session for dialling in your race pace, getting your legs used to bike-to-run and run-to-bike, and for polishing your transition skills.
55-85mins (plus transitions).
10mins running gradually building intensity and including some acceleration strides.
Alternate a run lap with a bike lap, using pace, HR or power to simulate race pace based on a 5km run and a 20km bike. Work through at least two cycles with a maximum of four, and always finish with a run. For example: Two cycles = Run 1 >> Bike 1 >> Run 2 >> Bike 2 >> Run 3.
Back on the bike for 10mins of easy spinning.
2. Hill repeats
Either on or off road, find the steepest hill you can that takes about 60secs to run up and has a flat or slightly uphill run off from the summit of about 500m.
Strength, power and a physiological and psychological simulation of the jelly legs and racing heart that you’ll experience coming out of T2 for the second run. It’ll give you the confidence to just suck up the discomfort and settle into your race pace.
5mins jogging and then some mobilising exercises such as bounds and lunges to prepare for the explosive first effort. 10mins total.
Sprint the steep hill as a maximal effort. At the crest, back off and settle into your 10km race pace as quickly as possible and then maintain for the rest of the 500m. Jog down for your recovery, taking a full 5mins. Complete a total of five reps.
10mins easy jogging.
3. MTB brick
Head down to your local trails and create a loop that’ll give you an hour of intense mountain biking. Make sure it’s got some steep climbs and body-rattling descents. At the end you’ll need a flat 10min out-and-back run route.
If running off a road bike is tough, running off a MTB is brutal. The constant vibrations create a whole new level of fatigue. If you’re tackling an off-road duathlon, this session is a must for MTB skills and fitness but, even for road athletes, the adage of always making training tougher than racing applies.
90mins (plus transition).
Ride for 10mins spinning your legs easily.
Ride hard for 60mins. Don’t worry about trying to stick to a heart rate, just keep piling on the effort. Attack short climbs and sprint out of corners. Get off, secure your bike, and hit a 5km pace for the run.
Back on the bike for 10mins easy spinning.