Being an avid half marathoner, thought of running a Duathlon first crossed my mind when it became obvious that despite my best efforts I wasn't able to get my breathing right in swimming. That put triathlon out of reach, at least for some time. I tried my legs with full marathon but earlier this year decided to keep it at bay for some more time because I was unable to manage the last quarter of the run well and it's never a great feeling for a runner to limp to the finish line. So a run + bike combination looked something different and a logical next milestone.
So I signed up for Gurgaon Duathlon. I created a 8 week practice plan. Since this was a run+bike+run combination and I did not want to invest in a bike right away so I decided to use gym bike with resistance. My training regime included bike+run or run+bike both to help me get used to the format. I planned a weekly routine that included a 20km gym biking followed by 3-5 km run on the treadmill, with a 1% incline to try to simulate cross country terrain. I also practiced 10K at 11 km/ hr or slightly better to build up some speed and did this at least once a week or sometimes twice a week.
Though I did not spend too much time on learning the nuances of biking, I did learn one thing that transition from bike to run is a bit tricky as the feet feel heavy and the body and the muscles take time to adjust to the new format. I think treadmill practice with resistance post biking definitely helped me simulate near run day conditions.
Anyway the race day approached. This was a 2 km run followed by 20 kms bike followed by a cross country run of 9.5 kms. My strategy was to try to use the initial 2 km run as a warm-up and use first 5 kms of biking as a test. Completed 2 kms of run in about 11 min. Cycling was fun, first 10 kms included good climb and the last 10 kms was on a flat road. Took a total of 44 minutes to complete 20 kms, not a great timing but I guess ok for my first experience on an ok rented bike.
Transition from biking to running was a challenge as the legs felt really heavy, my stride was almost half of my usual stride. To make maters more interesting there was a gradual climb from 1st km till 4th kms during the initial part of the cross country run. The track itself was beautiful - real country side in the Aravalis just outside Gurgaon. The track at times had little larger than the largest pebbles but smaller than the smallest boulders, the kinds where you cannot take your eyes off because you could end up with a twisted ankle. It was a 9.5 km run and I took about 54 minutes to finish in total time of 1:48 min against the first finishers time of 1:20.
Interestingly I felt at my best during the last 5 kms of the event, something which is typically rare and was rather sad that the run finished so early, one of those days where you wish you had the opportunity to run longer!
As I earlier mentioned that it took me first few kms to get out of the transition phase but during the last 5 kms it felt as if the 20 kms biking consumed a different set of muscles and energy store.
Weather was great, temperature of around 24 degrees Celsius with low humidity.
In any case I loved the entire format and now I am seriously thinking of investing in a bike and taking up biking to complement my running.
Thanks to running and living club again for organizing a great event, their passion for the sport shows in everything they do.