Early-Season Racing Alternatives

  • By Scott Fliegelman
  • Published Feb 17, 2014
  • Updated Mar 16, 2014 at 7:08 PM UTC
Photo: Janos Schmidt/

Run-bike-run aka duathlon

Duathlons are a bit harder to find on a local events calendar but are well worth the drive if you can find one. Essentially a triathlon with a short run replacing the swim, du’s are the best way to kick off your multisport season and gain highly relevant fitness and race experience.

A great workout for getting your legs accustomed to that unique rubbery feeling of running before and after the bike is a short and fast run-bike-run-bike-run session. In a location where you can set up a nearby transition area, use a course that ideally makes all right turns. The run course should be 400–800 meters, and the bike course up to 1 mile. To get the best transitions practice, take a break after each run-bike-run and set up your gear again as you would before a race.

On race day, pace the first run as if it’s double the distance. Pace the bike like an Olympic-distance tri and be sure to fuel up for the second run. For the last 5K, be patient for the first few minutes as your legs adapt to running again. This will feel a little different than a triathlon as your legs have done more work at this point comparatively, but use a quick and light cadence, and soon enough your stride will open up and you’ll be ready to empty the tank on your way to the finish line.

PHOTOS: Devil Dog Duathlon

Scott Fliegelman is the owner and head coach of FastForward Sports ( in Boulder, Colo.

Follow Triathlete on Twitter @Triathletemag for inspiration, new workout ideas, gear reviews from our editors and more.

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FILED UNDER: Bike / Run / Training

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