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Duathlon| Perfect Race For Triathletes Who Actually Hate The Swim

Updated: Mar 19, 2022

Why should Triathletes do a Duathlon?

When the first thing you think of when your running mate suggests you sign up for a triathlon, "I hate swimming," - you still have the opportunity to compete in a multisport event . It’s called a duathlon.

So what exactly is a Duathlon (DU)? The duathlon race format consists of only two separate legs/sports - the bike & the run. A DU removes the swim and replaces it with another run.

🏃‍♀️Run + T1 + 🚴‍♀️Bike + T2 + 🏃‍♀️Run = Duathlon 🎆

As the weather starts to warm up and races get back on the calendar, add a little fun to your training schedule with a Duathlon.

Duathlons Provide The Perfect Multisport Fix

Tired of Tri? Afraid of Triathlons? Have not been Swimming? Weak Swimmer? Just curious about the Multisport events & community?

Duathlons, so we have been told by a few in our tribe - it’s the perfect race option for those who hear the word “triathlon” and think, "I hate swimming. Interested in competing in a multisport event and can ride a bike and run/walk then a Duathlon is your jam.

Duathlons are similar to triathlons in that competitors must complete three legs.

While triathletes compete in swimming, cycling and running, duathletes start out with a short run, cycle and finish the race with a run again.

Duathlons are the perfect race for fitness enthusiasts, cyclists, runners/walkers, crossfitters and acceptable for athletes of all ages.

People like the DU challenge because of its emphasis on endurance and the simplicity of the race format.

A Duathlon is a badass activity you can practically do anywhere with minimal specialized equipment.

If swimming is not your jam, a duathlon gives you the opportunity to participate in a multisport race.

Not a great swimmer, but want to do a Triathlon?

Duathlons are a great way to break into the multisport community and use your bike/run skills to compete in a multisport race.

You can still work on your swimming until your are confident enough to pull the registration handle on Triathlon race.

Choosing to do a duathlon race allows you to focus on the things you love about triathlon & your fitness strengths - the bike and the run.

Think of doing a duathlon as a (really, really) long brick session.

By doing an organized duathlon, experienced Triathletes are able to practice and test out a nutrition plan and race tactics.

Triathletes & Duathletes Groups Celebrating At Finish Line

Are Duathlons Easy Compared to Triathlons?

Common Question: "Is a duathlon harder than a triathlon?,"

Just because there is no swimming involved, it doesn't mean it's automatically easier than a triathlon.

A duathlon may actually be harder for seasoned triathletes!

Hard to unequivocally say that duathlons are easier than triathlons.

It really depends on the athlete, where their strengths, comforts, preferences & weaknesses are.

For example for certain athletes, a triathlon is considered harder because they aren't strong/fast swimmers and would prefer to stay out of the water altogether.

And there are those who may be excellent swimmers who are not as strong in running, the idea of running twice in one event may seem like torture..

A few of us here at SwimBikeRunFun have had great success competing in duathlons and triathlons, and by experience can say in some regards, competing in a duathlon was harder because it demanded 1000% use of our leg muscles and vascular system. Yes - not a typo - 1000%.

Troy Stiles, Duathlon Coordinator for USA Triathlon shared with Triathlete Magazine, that "In a triathlon, you're using your upper body for the first segment of the race," he said.
"But in the duathlon, in the first leg, you're running all out, as fast as you can go, (so) when you jump on your bike, the burn in your legs that you already have from your run is just multiplied."
"Then when you get finished with that leg and have to run again, it's about trying to focus on the mental challenge of staying in the moment."
"Just focusing and pushing through the pain and pushing to the limit, that's how I approach it. Duathlon is a challenge to the legs, that's for sure, " he said.
Duathlete Enjoy Biking & Running

Finding & Competing in Duathlons

Duathlons cultivate a very supportive racing environment for runners and cyclists to come together and race their strengths.

Multisport events where triathlons are the main draw, Race Directors have been adding Duathlons to their multisport festivals.

Find local Duathlons races/events on Active, RunSign Up & TriSignup

Three Quick Reason Du’s Are Better Than Tri’s

  1. No swim

  2. Dont need a gazillion dollar tri bike or tt bike.

  3. You can do them all year round

Bonus Benefit: The duathlon season can extend your triathlon racing season with additional events.

Duathlons can also be held year round. They are typically held in the spring and fall - times not optimal for open water swims - when they are stand alone events.

Races are getting back on the calendar soon enough, add a little fun to your training & racing schedule with a Duathlon.

By the way, before we get out of here, we wanted to share that SwimBikeRun Fun Events has a Beginner Duathlon Race coming up on April 24th, 2022.

If you are in the Central Texas/Austin area - Check out our Women's PinkStrong Sprint Duathlon & 5K Trail Running Event


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