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First duathlon ... looking forward to a real bike race

KnightOfTheLongTightsKnightOfTheLongTights Posts: 1,415
edited October 2011 in Amateur race
So, did London Duathlon on Sunday in Richmond Park:

10k run - 42
22k ride - 44
5k run - 22

Three minutes faffing in transition = 1.51 (133rd out of 1,300).

Reckon I could have shaved a few minutes off by not going out and getting hammered on Friday night til 3am Saturday morning ...

The bike ride felt painfully slow - as well as painful. But it was v windy and cycling with a fast-ish 10k in the legs ain't easy (I managed to hold back a bit on the 10k - PB is 40).

It really made me appreciate some of the times you see on here for TTs, the RP challenge etc, and made me determined to improve my riding.

I can see that I'm going to have to make a decisive switch from running to make any serious gains.


  • Rule #42
    / A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.

    If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. Also keep in mind that one should only swim in order to prevent drowning, and should only run if being chased. And even then, one should only run fast enough to prevent capture
  • I'm not quite sure what the OP is asking/wanting to know?

    I'd say you need to focus on BOTH running & cycling with times like those (not to say they're bad, there's just room for improvement). Making a complete switch from running (with a 10k PB of only 40mins) is going to do you no favours. Probably need to log more hours total training with a fairly even split between running & cycling?
  • kieranbkieranb Posts: 1,674
    looing at various tri results it seems to me that the running leg is key to a good placing.
  • I'm not quite sure what the OP is asking/wanting to know?

    perhaps nothing

    maybe I was a bit bored at work and just felt like making a casual observation

    which distilled is: I'm not sure about duathlons - cos it means running slower and cycling slower than you would do either individually

    so I'm looking to improve my riding over the winter to become maybe a half-decent club rider

    er, that's it
  • Ah, ok. It's just normally people create topics in this forum to ask questions.

    I agree with what you're saying, but you can be more competitive in duathlons if you're half-decent at both running/cycling than you would be at either discipline on its own. From what I can gather, alot of tri/duathlon folk seem to have one discipline that they are strongest at and the others are weaknesses. If you can be as strong on both, albeit weaker than you might be if you focussed on one, you'll do better.

    If you want to improve your cycling then yes, you need to cycling more and run less. If you want to improve at duathlons you need to run and cycle more.
  • Think I've just got to mentally commit to making the jump from running to cycling. I still like the simplicity of running, of just pulling on some trainers and getting out the door; and I dislike riding a bike in and around London.

    But long-distance running (especially fellrunning / mountain running, which is what I've been doing for the last three years) has taken too much of a toll physiologically - lower back probs especially.

    Whch makes cycling a much more sensible option, and I do like it. But it's almost like starting all over again at the age of 40.

    I'm finding that the running fitness isn't really carrying over to cycling - so it's going from being a decent runner to a fairly censored cyclist and having to put in all that effort again to reach some reasonable level of proficiency.

    (PS: those times are reasonable - was 133rd out of 1,300 ...)
  • You did well for your first duathlon and the times are ok, but loads of room for improvement.

    I'm primarily a runner and I think the fitness carries over to cycling ok, but the legs take time to get used to the cycling. I'm actually finding now as I return to running after a summer of mainly cycling, that the fitness carries over much better from cycling to running than the other way. Perhaps focussing on the cycling for a while, with some long 5hr rides to build your aerobic base, will actually help your running if you choose to go back to it.

    If you still enjoy the running, is there a way you can keep doing it, without worsening your injury problems? Maybe changing focus away from the offorad stuff if that causes issues/

    I'm in a similar situation to you trying to decide whether I want to focus more on cycling, but I enjoy both. To be properly competitive at cycling, you need to spend much more £££ than with running. As you say, the simplicity of running means it's pretty much a level playing field, unlike cycling where the bike you're riding can make a big difference.

    My plan is to mainly cycle in summer, with just enough running to keep my legs used to it. In winter I'll do the reverse. I prefer running in cold conditions and cycling in warm conditions and so that should work for me.

    If you have lower back probs, have you had any issues with the cycling?
  • Injuries are the bane of running - there are a lot of cyclists who took it up to keep fit when they were injured runners. I found with running I pretty quickly got down to low 37 minute 10k off about 25-30 miles a week but when I tried ramping it up I just kept getting injured. I did manage a very long 28 minute 5 miles (something like 28.55) but that was the best I got to. It was so frustrating having to constantly back off due to injury and after running a 10k with a sore ankle and ending up out for 6 months I never really got back to it. In hindsight I was far too impatient and should have taken a long term view over years rather than trying to knock minutes off over a few months.

    What I've found with cycling is it makes you realise just how low the standard of your average half marathon or 10k is - or even a club cross country league. If you want to compete in road racing (reasonable 3rd cat type standard) then unless you are much more suited to cycling than running you really need to ramp up the commitment if you are a 40 minute 10k man. I thnk that is where DG is coming from - 40 minutes is OK compared to most runners but most runners aren't taking it that seriously. Certainly of the triathletes and runner/cyclists I know like Derby Grimpeur they are all well inside 40 minutes for 10k.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • KnightOfTheLongTightsKnightOfTheLongTights Posts: 1,415
    edited September 2011
    Fair enough - points taken. Especially re. the quality of fields in running (of the 1,300 at the London Du, with all due respect, I don't think that many were 'serious athletes'...).

    But road running was never really my thing (except that I run to work most days, mainly to keep the weight down) - I only ever did two 10k races in my life, and didn't train specifically for either.

    In long-distance mountain races (of which I ran 6-7 a year in Lake District, Pennines, Pyrenees, Alps over the last three years) I've been a top 20% runner. (Running 22 miles over 8,000ft of ascent in four hours, for instance, is something like doing a flat 3.15 road marathon.)

    In terms of training and travel that took a fair bit of commitment, so I know I'm capable mentally and in terms of discpline of similar achievements in cycling, it's just getting my head round it.

    Derby G - I do get some back pain in the sacroiliac area when I'm on the drops for more than about 10 miles, yes. I think my riding position is OK, I just don't think there's much you can do when you've got two prolapsed discs.

    You are right that running downhill and on rough terrain can only aggravate that - however, I find that road running tends to cause more 'repetitive strain' type injuries so it's swings and roundabout.
  • Ah well if you are placing well in mountain races sounds like it wont be too much of a culture shock to get into cycling. I'd find a some good local training rides and join in with them - good fun and gives you an idea of the standard.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • 15k of running compared to 22k of cycling is well biased in favour of runners.

    Just like triathlons - a good runner can still place highly despite doing a half drown half doggy paddle in the swim or wobbling about everywhere on the bike. The distances just dont seem fairly balanced.
  • Omar, I agree - the bike ride was strangely short - should have been 30-40km really.
  • [Tim][Tim] Posts: 64
    A 'Standard' Distance duathlon (equivilent to an olympic tri) is usuall 10km / 40km / 5km giving (for me) about an hours worth of riding and about an hours worth of cycling.
  • KOTLT > Sounds like you might have to grin and bear the back pain then? The reason I asked is because cycling can cause issues with back pain so giving up the running for the cycling might not be the answer.

    But giving up the offroad stuff for road running probably doesn't appeal to you and I can understand why, not much fun running around city centres and industrial estates when your used to the open countryside ;)

    On the injuries front, I've had 2 years of on/off injuries with running, which is why I returned to cycling after more than a decade away. It's been a great summer on my bike but am looking forward to running races again, starting this weekend. Fingers crossed I can actually stay clear of injuries this winter.

    I've only ever done 2 small duathlons which were equal, timewise, in running & cycling. Think that's the fairest way. Of course that would vary depending on where your strengths are.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    [Tim] wrote:
    A 'Standard' Distance duathlon (equivilent to an olympic tri) is usuall 10km / 40km / 5km giving (for me) about an hours worth of riding and about an hours worth of cycling.
    So an hours riding AND an hours cycling, is that 2 hours for the bike leg in total then?

  • RoonerRooner Posts: 109
    I know you aren't asking for advice, but I think there is huge room for improvement on your running times. You've said you are primarily a runner and want to improve the cycling, but you are running at 7 min miles pace. OK, to the general population that is not too bad, but as a runner entering races you should be able to knock a decent amount off that with some planned training. As someone else said, the running is the level playing field, and somewhere where you could make some solid improvements, you could probably knock maybe 5 minutes off the running total relatively easily (hill reps, fartlek and just generally running during training faster - don't take it easy).

    Biggest training aid I have got is a lurcher. My pace has dropped from 7 min-ish per mile to 6 min mile in a short time, for distance running (ie 5-13 miles). She runs along at a nice pace, and then sets a brutal vomit-inducing pace for half a mile or a mile, every now and again. Man, does that make a difference! For those who are looking for a good training aid dog, a lurcher that is greyhound-collie cross is perfect, speed and stamina!
  • Thanks for the tips Rooner, dog and all. Yes I know my 10k time is not amazing but it's not something I've particularly trained for.

    My strength over the last few years has been long distances up and down hills and over rough terrain, so my fellrunning times are a bit better. Focusing purely on long distance can also actually slow you down for shorter distances if you don't train for them.

    Running fast on roads (intervals etc) has always led directly to injury or back/sciatic pain of some sort so I generally avoid it.

    But am no stranger to hill reps - have spent two hours repping up and down Box Hill before now in order to get the legs ready for bigger mountains.

    I'd be more interested in becoming a decent cyclist now than lowering my running or duathlon times, as I think it's a sport I'll be able to keep up in the long term.
  • Knight
    Have you ever considered something like
    Sounds like they might be right up your street.
    Plenty more races like these over this side of the Irish Sea aswell
    Go neiri on bothar leat.
  • Any idea what kind of cycling you want to get into KotLT ? Lots of variety - as you are over 40 if you fancy road racing I'd have a look at LVRC - I think you'd find it more enjoyable than starting out doing 3rd and 4th cat circuit races. Alternatively maybe aim at a continental sportive - Marmotte, Maratona etc. Or do both.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • PhilPubPhilPub Posts: 229
    One minor point to the OP regarding relative performance on running and cycling - the London Duathlon results give a break-down of relative positon for each leg don't they? This could be useful for analysing your performance.

    Given that cycling fitness translates over to running better than the other way round (I think), if you were keen on improving duathlon performance specifically I think it would be important to do more of everything. The LD course definitely favours running more than the average duathlon, so for a more typical duathlon course you'll be more dependent on a fast bike leg for overall performance.

    As for myself I've definitely got back into cycling as a direct result of a running injury, but I intend to get to a good level in each after I've returned to running fitness. If I can get close to my best 10k running form (33:25) in cycling fitness I fancy my chances in the odd duathlon. I know that will involve a LOT of time on the bike though. :wink:
  • PhilPub, I'm a bit quicker than you on two feet and found the transition to cycling relatively easy, so I shouldn't think you'd have a problem. You just need to stick some effort in, which you should be familiar with from running anyway.
  • PhilPubPhilPub Posts: 229
    Cheers derby. To be honest if I can just HTFU and get used to riding in shite weather I think I'll be half the way there. :) Plus I've started getting back into track cycling recently so this should help with quick leg turnover.
  • yeah, it's easier running in shite weather than cycling in it, but it's just a case of HTFU. It's for this reason that I'm going to focus more on running than cycling over the winter then cycle more than running in summer. Will just do enough cycling over the winter to keep my legs and censored used to the cycling, and just enough running in summer to keep my calves used to the running.
  • thanks for the suggestions Tom and capilinconnemara
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