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  • Writer's pictureCamille Chief Funlete

5 Triathlon & Duathlon Training Mistakes to Avoid

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

Everyday social media is flooded with questions about Triathlons and Duathlons. Beginners want to know what is the best type of race to sign up for to succeed.

They want to know how to get faster. And they’re trying to figure out how to buy gear without going broke.

Chances are, you probably have asked these same types of questions. And you’ve probably turned to the web, trying to get answers. Problem is, you keep getting conflicting answers, for some of these questions right?

For example, just pop into any Facebook Triathlon Group and ask this question: What is the best nutrition/hydration mix for a long cycling training ride?

I guarantee that you’ll get conflicting advice. Some people will tell you to just drink Gatorade. Another group will advocate that you buy a special blended electrolyte and carb liquid drink. And just to make it extra confusing, you might even get a few people telling you to drink water and suck on salt.

So you’re left scratching your head.🤦‍♀️

If you’re new to the multisport community, it’s even harder because you don’t know who to trust. Because the truth is, there are plenty of wannabe triathlon/duathlon coaches or “experts” who want you to think they know what they’re talking about – but they’re just as clueless as everyone else. And in some cases, these types of people are offering downright dangerous advice for beginners.

That’s why we compiled this list of frequently asked endurance training & multisport racing questions that correlate with common mistakes we see frequently committed by triathletes & duathletes .

We wanted to make sure you got the right advice from all of us on the team who have successfully navigated the worlds of triathlons and duathlons as female athletes.

With three sports making up the multisport community, it's more than likely you've wondered about a few of these triathlon & duathlon questions yourself.

There are no stupid questions, of course, but some of these you might not dare utter out loud--so we've answered them here for you to read on your own time.

Come on...let’s dive right in…

5 Triathlon & Duathlon Common Questions Answered

Triathlete & Duathlete Friends Training For MS150
Triathlete & Duathlete Friends Training For MS150

Q1: Between A Triathlon And A Duathlon — What Are The Biggest differences?

A1: Both are multisport events where in one race a participant is required to perform at least 2-3 different sports.

A Duathlon race is set up as a run/bike event. Traditional races follow a run-bike-run format.

A Triathlon race is set up as a swim/bike/run event. Commonly, tri races have athletes start out with swimming, followed by cycling and culminating with a running leg.

We must note that swimming in a triathlon race can occur in a pool setting and/or an open body of water such as a lake or river.

If you are not a fan of swimming or not ready for open water racing — Duathlons are the perfect multisport event for you to show off your #badassery.

If you're afraid of open water, aren't comfortable swimming with other athletes, and plainly not about “getting wet” in water of any fashion, a duathlon may be a good alternative for you to kick-butt in multisport.

Do what you love and you win 100% of the time.

Q2: Do I Need A Fancy Aero Helmet Or Fast Wheels?

A2: Absolutely NOT. Beginners, Sprint and sometimes even Olympic distance athletes do not really reap the most benefits for the amount of money invested and the increased risk that fast wheels and aero helmets present to unskilled cyclists.

Secondly, the distances are too short to justify the cost or mere seconds you may be able to shave off your bike leg. If you are aiming to simply try to finish, save your money.

Want the real scoop?

Harness the power of aero helmets and aero wheels only if you intend to be extremely competitive, have some experience riding/racing in different conditions and plan to train for half-ironman 70.3 or full distance ironman 140.6 races.

On longer distance triathlons and duathlons, aero helmets and wheels can shave minutes off your time, nab you an illustrious PR or put you in contention for competing for a top spot if that is your thing.

Jumping on those aero wheels - with the hopes they would make you faster in a group ride or blaze up the bike course on race - too soon is very dangerous if you are unskilled at handling all that extra speed.

Save your money and use it so sign up for coaching or more races when you are just starting out in multisport.

Q3: What Is The Deal With Wearing Undies? Should I Wear Underwear Under My Kit?

A3: Simply answer — DON'T! Avoid unnecessary misery. Underwear (panties, thongs, boxers, boy shorts, etc..) causes discomfort by the friction that is produced from the material, its seams, and the rubbing/bouncing that is caused by your movements.

Friends you should never have to experience chafing in your lotus garden.

The moment water baptizes it, your screams of pain and discomfort will be heard by your neighbors.

Cycling & Triathlon kits and most running tights are designed to be worn without undies and are moisture-wicking. Leave the undies at home.

Q4: How To Save Time & Not Get Lost In Transition?

A4: We get it. All those bikes, people running in every direction, and the race announcer blaring in the background — the transition area can feel and be very chaotic.

Can you get lost — yep!

Can you waste time — yep!

Can you avoid experiencing these things?

You betcha!

Improve your transitions with these time savings tips:

Practice your swim-bike and bike-run transitions at least 4 times before race day. Lay a towel down in your garage or park and set-up like it was race day.

Practice putting on your shoes standing up, practice running with your race belt, and putting it on while exiting transition. Go through the motions until you have a routine that you are comfortable with.

For finding your bike quickly, immediately before you leave the transition area to go line up, look around: landmarks, poles, signs, numbering, try to triangulate your spot with at least two “markers”

Next, take a brightly colored hand towel, and place it ON TOP of your bike, bars, and helmet (the highest point). It will give your eyes a target to run towards.

As soon as you reach your bike, drop the towel on the floor and use it to clean off your feet standing up — if you just exited the swim.

While you are cleaning the mock off your feet, you can be fastidious and put on your helmet for even more time savings.

Q5: How To Get Rid Lead Legs Running Of The Bike In A Race?

A5: You deserve the truth. The only 100% guaranteed fix for making running easier and faster when you just get off the bike - PRACTICE BRICK TRAINING.

We know all caps are screaming but we really want that point to sink in deep.

The feeling of running with feet that feel like cement blocks usually lasts for about 5-15 mins give or take and It happens typically to all duathletes and triathletes - perfectly normal.

So how to get rid of lead legs? Brick Training

After your next training ride, jump off your bike, grab your tennis shoes and head straight out for a 5-10 mins run or walk. Don’t aim for speed or distance - use the time to aim for familiarity and forming the habit of training your legs to flush & feet to move quickly.

Brick training will get you more familiarity, faster times and finishes with big smiles.

Summary - AvoidTraining Mistakes That Stop You From Being Great

We know that these are just 5 triathlon/duathlon training mistakes that stop you from being great and there are many more.

We want you to win at life and succeed at multisport - so we tackled the 5 most common ones who come across when dealing with beginner triathletes and duathletes.

Hope you found some values in the 5 triathlon & duathlon common questions we answered here on this post just for you. #swimbikerunfun




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