5 Triathlon/Duathlon Training Mistakes That Stop You From Being Great

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

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.