Coach’s Corner: How to Train for a Duathlon

    Posted On Feb 27 2019

      by Coach Abe Tayag, ITU Level 1 Coach/Head Coach at AT Performance Coaching/Velogic Fit-certified Bike Fitter

      Duathlon is usually the easiest step to gain entry to the multi sport lifestyle.   If you cannot swim yet, dislike it or simply lack time to train for three sports, then training for a duathlon will be a good thing for you.

      While sticking to duathlon seems quite easy to do, running and riding a bike comes naturally fast for everyone; intermediate and veteran triathletes swear it is the harder, and more painful to race than a similarly-distanced triathlon event.  It is because the sport is all leg-based, and if you do it wrong, leg injuries and muscle fatigue would be common.

      In this training article, I will share you a sample 4-week training plan that will help you prepare for a duathlon event in one month.   It includes bike and run intervals, running immediately after a ride (which we call bricks in the multi sport world), endurance runs, endurance rides and recovery days.  If you follow this plan thoroughly, it will give you confidence to follow through into race week armed with the fitness and skill to finish the event strong, and hopefully injury-free.

       

      Your Training Zones

      Doing all your training in one intensity will not vastly improve your fitness.  These simple training zones are a way of making sure you train at different intensities, testing your fitness limit in some workouts.   This will help you which training zones you should spend the most time in.   You can use “feel” or RPE (which is short for Rate of Perceived Exertion) which is based on a score out of 10, describing how hard it feels (where 10 is the hardest).

      Zone 1. Super Easy. Heart rate 68-73% of max.  4/10 on RPE.   So easy,you think you went out far too easy and felt guilty.    If you felt that way, you are doing it right.

      Zone 2. Light aerobic. Heart rate 74-79% of max.  5-6/10 on the RPE scale.  It should feel easy at first but should feel as though you have been working out for several hours in the end.  How do you know that this it is still not hard?  You can still hold a conversation for the duration of the work out.

      Zone 3. Moderate aerobic. Heart rate 80-85% of max.  This is the gray zone, and most of us coaches do not want you to be in this zone.   You typically aren’t going easy enough to get the benefits of a nice easy effort and you aren’t going hard enough to get the benefits of a ‘Race Pace’ workout. 7/10 on RPE scale.

      Zone 4. Threshold. Heart rate 86-91% of max.  8-9/10 on the RPE scale, and is usually the race pace zone.  Threshold is the effort you can manage to last for an hour.   Your breathing is labored, and your legs and lungs are burning.

      See also:  Gallery: Images from FastTwitch Enduro Duathlon-Clark, Philippines

      Zone 5. Above threshold. Heart rate 92-100% of max. You can only do short efforts on this zone.  May last from seconds to maybe 5-6 minutes.

      Sign up for your first Sprint or Standard Distance Duathlon!!  Register now at Clark Duathlon Classic>>  Race Date: April 7, 2019

       

       

       

      4 Week Duathlon Training Plan for Sprint (5km run-20km bike-2.5km run) or Standard Distance (10km run-40km bike-5km run)

      Good for novice and intermediate level duathletes

      First Week

      Monday: Flexibility/Swimming or Rest

      Tuesday: Bike Intervals  + Run (Transition Brick)

      Bike 40-50 mins @ Z2, include 3x 5-8 mins @ Z3. Run off the bike 10-15mins @ Z2

      Tip:  These are also the opportunity to practice your transition.  Always make sure to secure your helmet first before touching your bike to rack off or ride.  In the run portion, a higher cadence at the beginning of the run will help you loosen up the leg muscles.

      Wednesday: Run Intervals

      Run 10-15mins @ Z2

      6-8x200m @ Z4 45secs rest interval

      5-10mins @ Z2

      Tip:   If you can’t find a track, find a hard pack run path.   Asphalt is softer on the legs than cement.   Another option is to stay at the gym and do this workout on a threadmill.

      Thursday: Longer Brick

      Bike 50-60mins @ Z2 and run off the bike 20-25mins @ Z2

      Friday: Rest

      Saturday: Endurance Bike

      Ride 60-75mins @ Z2

      Tip:  You can break down this ride by:  15 minutes easy spinning, 2-3x (10 minutes heavy gear, 5 minutes lighter gear) and 15 minutes cool down.  Just make sure, despite gear changes, you stay at Zone 2.

      Sunday: Endurance Run

      Run 50-60mins @ Z2

      Second Week

      Monday: Flexibility/Swimming or Rest

      Tuesday: Bike Intervals  + Run (Transition Brick)

      Bike 50-60 mins @ Z2, include 4x 5-10 mins @ Z3. Run off the bike 15-20mins @ Z2

      Tip:  These are also the opportunity to practice your transition.  Always make sure to secure your helmet first before touching your bike to rack off or ride.  In the run portion, a higher cadence at the beginning of the run will help you loosen up the leg muscles.

      Wednesday: Run Intervals

      Run 10-15mins @ Z2

      10x200m @ Z4 30secs rest interval

      5-10mins @ Z2

      Tip:   If you can’t find a track, find a hard pack run path.   Asphalt is softer on the legs than cement.   Another option is to stay at the gym and do this workout on a threadmill.

      Thursday: Longer Brick

      Bike 60-70mins @ Z2 and run off the bike 25-30mins @ Z2

      Friday: Rest

      Saturday: Endurance Bike

      Ride 80-90mins @ Z2

      Tip:  You can break down this ride by:  15 minutes easy spinning, 4x (10 minutes heavy gear, 5 minutes lighter gear) and 15 minutes cool down.  Just make sure, despite gear changes, you stay at Zone 2.

      See also:  Course Review: Powerman Malaysia

      Sunday: Endurance Run

      Run 60-70mins @ Z2

      Alternate:  If you can find a hilly course, run at 10-15 minutes easy, 30-40 minutes on the hills, and end with 10-15 minutes cooldown.

      Tip:  Running on hills builds your muscular strength and will also improve your stride technique.

       

      Third Week

      Monday: Flexibility/Swimming or Rest

      Tuesday: Bike Intervals  + Run (Transition Brick)

      Bike 60-70 mins @ Z2, include 5x 5-10 mins @ Z3. Run off the bike 20-25mins @ Z2

      Tip:  These are also the opportunity to practice your transition.  Always make sure to secure your helmet first before touching your bike to rack off or ride.  In the run portion, a higher cadence at the beginning of the run will help you loosen up the leg muscles.

      Wednesday: Run Intervals

      Run 10-15mins @ Z2

      12x200m @ Z4 30secs rest interval

      5-10mins @ Z2

      Tip:   If you can’t find a track, find a hard pack run path.   Asphalt is softer on the legs than cement.   Another option is to stay at the gym and do this workout on a treadmill.

      Thursday: Longer Brick

      Bike 70-80mins @ Z2 and run off the bike 30-40mins @ Z2

      Friday: Rest

      Saturday: Endurance Bike

      Ride 90-120mins @ Z2

      Tip:  You can break down this ride by: 15 minutes easy spinning, 3-4x (15 minutes heavy gear, 5 minutes lighter gear) and 15 minutes cool down.  Just make sure, despite gear changes, you stay at Zone 2.

      Sunday: Endurance Run

      Run 80-90mins @ Z2

      Alternate:  If you can find a hilly course, run at 10-15 minutes easy, 40-50 minutes on the hills, and end with 10-15 minute cooldown.

      Tip:  Running on hills builds your muscular strength and will also improve your stride technique.

       

      Taper Week:

      Monday: Flexibility/Swimming or Rest

      Tuesday: Bike Intervals  + Run (Transition Brick)

      Bike 30-40 mins, include 3x1mins @ Z4, 4 minutes Rest at Z1. Run off the bike 10-15mins @ Z1

      Tip:  These are also the opportunity to practice your transition.  Always make sure to secure your helmet first before touching your bike to rack off or ride.  In the run portion, a higher cadence at the beginning of the run will help you loosen up the leg muscles.

      Wednesday: Easy Run

      30-40 minutes (include 5x 1 min fast cadence/4 minutes jog) end with 10 minutes cooldown

      Thursday: Easy Ride

      Bike 45minutes at Z1 on an Easy flat course

      Friday: Rest

      Saturday:

      Just to keep you loose:   Easy Ride for 30 minutes.  Good opportunity to check your ride if you swapped for race wheels.

      Sunday: Race Day!!!

      Come early to prepare your gears at the transition and Do some dynamic mobility exercises to warm-up before the race.  Good Luck!

       

      If you are interested in personalized one-on-one coaching, you may contact Coach Abe Tayag of AT Performance Coaching at abetayag@yahoo.com

       

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