How Duathlon Can Make You a Better Triathlete

Duathlon has always been considered as triathlon’s less-heralded cousin.  Ever heard the names Benjamin Choquert or Sandra Levenez?  They are the current ITU Duathlon World Champions.   Going down the list of former Duathlon world champions you will see names who had succeeded in triathlon and whose profiles are more familiar to the triathlon community; Greg Welch, Normann Stadler, Natascha Badmann, Tim Don, Vanessa Fernandes, Bart Aernouts, and most recently Richard Murray and Emma Pallant.

The point we are trying to make here is that duathlon training and racing can improve your overall performance as a triathlete.   Average Iron-distance finish times indicate that the Bike (50%)-Run (40%) legs account to 90% of the finish time.   A triathlete’s run performance after the bike is one of the biggest factors that would determine the finish time.

  1. Duathlon training and racing are a solid and tough brick session. Run-bike-run sessions are a great opportunity to be adaptable to goal race paces.  Arguably duathlon is harder and punishing than triathlon, especially on the lower body.   Adapting that mindset, as well as getting used to tired legs means it will benefit your triathlon racing.
  2. The running emphasis on duathlon means it is an excellent ground to improve your run strength. That is one more weakness you have checked out on your overall triathlon training program and will pay dividends on your Triathlon A races.
  3. Don’t go out too hard. In duathlon races, it is common to see athletes cramping on the bike or on the second run.   Either you overdid your pacing on the first run (which led to cramping on the bike) or overdid it all on the first run and bike leg.   By training and experience, you will gain discipline on race pacing and staving off cramping which will lead to a faster finishing run.
  4. If swimming is not your strong suit and you still want to be a competitive age grouper, duathlons are a great way to hurdle that limitation by using your strength in the bike/run leg to climb up the rankings. The longer the distance, the more this tactic will influence the race.
  5. Duathlon can extend your race season. You can start your season doing duathlons to knock off some rust and ease in going to your main triathlon program.  And by the near end of your season, you can ease off triathlon by doing duathlon only training or racing.
See also:  The Best Photos from 2016 Powerman Philippines

The only caveat of run-bike-run is that overuse injuries may pop up as you only use your lower body for running and cycling.   Be mindful as always to recover well after every tough brick sessions or duathlon racing.

With proper execution, the overall impact and benefit you get by being a better duathlete to your triathlon performance will be huge.  You will run stronger and faster off the bike, and the longer the race distance, the more pronounced the benefits you will gain from duathlon training and racing.


Duathlon races to consider to supplement your iron-distance and/or half-iron distance training:

New Clark City Duathlon- May 21, 2023

TriFactor Run-Bike-Run Philippines- July 9, 2023

Titan 77.7 Philippines- September 10, 2023

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