Preparing for your first Duathlon

If you enjoy running and cycling, then a duathlon is the right athletic event for you! For those new to it, duathlon is an athletic event that comprises running and cycling. It is a highly competitive and exciting sport, which is bound to make a positive change in your life. If you are planning to compete in a duathlon, the following are a few factors that you need to consider.

The Power of Two

The usual format for a duathlon is run-cycle-run - that is you start with running, switch to cycling, and then transition to running again. Training for duathlon requires a lot of dedication as you need to be prepared for both the running and cycling aspects of the challenge. You should set aside a few weeks to train for the event and start off your training program with running or cycling for 30 minutes every day in order to sharpen your fitness and increase your endurance.

It is important that you do not overexert yourself in the early days of training. Set yourself everyday running and cycling goals and then gradually increase them, depending on the length of the race. A typical duathlon can be 10KM run, 20KM cycle and then finish with a final 5KM run, so you need to be prepared to go long distance.

You should ensure that you can comfortably complete each of the distances on their own – you have no time rest in between the sections of the duathlon so ensuring you’re prepared for each one is the best start you can have.

Brick sessions

Brick workouts are an important component of a duathlon. They refer to combining the training of two distinct disciplines (in this case running and cycling) within the same workout, without any interruption in between. This means a run immediately followed by a cycle, or the other way round.

You should aim to include at least one brick session in your training program. You can, for example, start by cycling for five miles, and then switch to a one-mile run immediately. Brick sessions will help you with the transition from cycling to running and allow you to do this as smoothly and quickly as possible. A brick session helps with practicing race pace, developing aerobic endurance, and boosting your stamina.


It is critical for you to practice transitioning between running and cycling in order to save time on the race day. This includes not just the physical change over from the run to the cycle and back – but also being able to change from your running to cycling shoes and gear as quickly as possible.

Nutrition plan

Diet plays a key role in any training regime. It's important that you maintain a nutritious diet to stay energized and keep yourself healthy. Ensure you are getting enough calories - every individual’s calorie intake may vary depending on the number of kilometers they are running or cycling. As a general rule of thumb, men need 20 calories per pound of body weight and women need 17 calories per pound of body weight in order to maintain a healthy weight whilst competing or training.

Protein and healthy fats are important nutrients as to help with muscle building and keeping up energy levels. Eggs, lean meat, poultry, beans and low-fat dairy provide protein, while nuts, seeds, salmon, oils and avocados are the most common sources of fat. Equally important are carbs as they the body’s preferred source of quick release fuel.

Ready, set, go!

Wear high-quality, comfortable gear and shoes at the event. It is always better to start the race steadily in order to finish strong. Remember your training, keep hydrated and try to have as much fun as you can!

Want to get involved? Check out our Duathlon listings here.