Back in July I participated in the Venus de Miles 60 mile bike ride. I had so much fun and immediately started thinking about other bike events I could do. Last year I did two duathlons and had a great time at both. So why not find another one to do in 2012?
Some quick Googling led me to the Run and Roll for the Dole in Crystal Lake, IL on October 14th. A two mile run, a 20K (12.4 mile) bike ride, and then another 2 mile run? Sounds good to me!
So, I registered. And then got caught up with training for the Chicago Half Marathon and rarely got out on my bike. And didn’t do a single “brick” workout where I biked and then ran. For duathlon newbies, these are highly recommended since your legs feel REALLY WEIRD when you get off the bike and try to run.
“Oh well,” I figured. I didn’t really train for either of my other two duathlons and I was fine.
Seriously, as long as you can run a half marathon you can totally do a sprint distance duathlon. Well, you have to know how to ride a bike, too, but endurance-wise I liken it to a half marathon.
But I highly recommend you train for these things. Why?
For a runner, the two mile run is easy. In fact, for some people that might seem too easy. Two miles? Sure! The Dole Duathlon had some small rolling hills on the run but nothing too crazy. The key is not to run too fast so you still have some strength left in your legs. But you also don’t want to go too slow. This is a race, after all!
And then there’s transitions! Do you have special bike shoes? Do you want to bike in your running shoes? Do you run in a hat or a visor? Don’t forget to swap it for your helmet! And how are you going to fuel? Bring some water on your bike and stuff your shorts with gels?
There aren’t as many training plans for duathlons out there, sadly, but here are a two that aren’t bad:
The 20K bike ride at the Dole was a bit more challenging than the run. See, it was hilly. Like, really hilly. And for someone who has never really tried to ride their bike all out on any kind of hills, it was quite an experience! It was also windy (but thankfully not raining at the time) which made another participant and I grumble to one another about how we would really like a downhill with the wind at our backs.
Still, I’ll be honest with you, I pedaled the stuffing out of that bike. Yes, I slowed down on the uphills. But on the straightaways I was hitting between 18 and 19 miles an hour easily. I could feel my energy waning during the last mile, though, especially since the bike course seemed to be more like 21K instead of 20K. Also, probably because I have no idea how to fuel myself during one of these things!
I felt slow as molasses on the second run. I knew it would feel weird but, really, nothing prepares you for running on post-biking legs like actually doing it. Amazingly, I somehow managed to run the second two mile faster than I ran my first two miles.
And with a total time of 1:19:01, I managed to snag 3rd in my age group!
So, somehow, even without doing any duathlon-specific training I pulled off one of my best performances yet.
But I’m not saying you should follow my example. Other than doing the Run and Roll for the Dole Duathlon. You should totally do that since it’s a great event. Just, you know, maybe you should train first.
Or not. I don’t know if I want the competition.
P.S. Don’t forget to enter to win some Chicago Marathon Swag!