OMY! Sports News

A duathlon is a triathlon for those who don’t like to swim. But still wants to win 🏆

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Duathlon has 3 major distances: sprint (5 km — 20 km — 2.5 km), standard distance (10 km — 40 km — 5 km) and long duathlon (can be any distance, e.g. 10 km — 150 km — 30 km).

Advantages of duathlon over triathlon.

  • It is great at the beginning of the season when you can’t swim even in a wetsuit.
  • Your chances improve if you run well and swim slowly.
  • There is less stress at the start of a duathlon — again from the lack of swimming.
Although the duathlon is under the ITU (International Triathlon Union) umbrella and is not yet an Olympic sport, it is popular in its own right. It even has its own Ironman — the Powerman series with starts all over the world. The most famous of these is the Powerman Zofingen in Switzerland.

You won’t know without trying.

To feel duathlon from the inside, I decided to register for the nearest race. And by chance I ended up at the Berlin Land Championship in Spreewald.
I chose a standard distance of 10 km — 42 km — 5.5 km and arrived at the start, where a cosy group of young guns from local triathlon clubs were waiting for me. Oops…

Sometimes you don’t need a plan.

The start was held at +9C and rain. Great weather for running, but not for the cycling leg. The result on the bike had to be sacrificed, as there was no time to get dressed in the transition. The biggest question before the start was the first running. How to run it to have enough power for the bike? If I run fast what would happen to my legs?
But as Tom Boonen, 4-time winner of Paris-Roubaix once said “Sometimes you don’t need a plan, you just need balls” 🤪 So I just ran against my peers from the very beginning.

Race turmoil.

I ran the first 10k in 36 min 38 sec (about a minute and a half slower than my maximum pace on the run) and was 1st, albeit with a minimal gap of 3 sec. I’m a decent runner for a triathlon, but I had to face a fast 42km bike ride in the rain and cold.
The bike stage has started with stiff hands and I immediately realized that it was going to be even worse. My legs felt normal for exactly half of the distance — 20 km. In the second half the cold got to them, stiffened my muscles and I slowed down considerably. 2 positions were lost and I became 3rd after cycling about 50 sec behind the leader. Total time for the 42km was 1 hour 7 minutes. Worse than expected.
The final 5.5km of running needed to be all-out effort. But how to do that on wooden legs? My heart rate rose slowly and barely reached 170 (with 185 max). I managed to run in 19 min 52 sec and slightly reduced the gap from the leader, but remained 3rd in the final protocol.

A good result in the company of young guns.

Total time of 2 hours 04 min 15 sec — a result I am satisfied with despite my lack of duathlon experience. I accepted the youngsters’ winning without any regrets. 4th place overall, 3rd in Berlin and 1st in my age group (45–49 years old) is not bad at all.
If you like triathlon but swimming is not your thing, duathlon is a good chance to get back at swimmers. Unless, of course, there are such races nearby.
By the way, OMY! Sports app has everything you need to get ready for duathlons — individualized running and cycling training that can be synced.