Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A Duathlon

Time to get back to explaining the title of the blog.  This edition - the Duathlon.  I've ridden bikes for a few years now, and as the bit on my profile says, I decided around the turn of the year to incorporate some running in 2011 by way of a change.  And there's nothing like an event or competition to focus the mind - and body - on training, so in January I signed up to a duathlon.

Ideally, it would have been a triathlon; how suave, how accomplished, and how Adonis-like do many of those triathletes look.  However, I'm a rubbish swimmer.  Worse than that, I don't like it, and have no motivation to improve, and on the basis that, by and large, leisure activities should be things you enjoy, triathlons are therefore ruled out.  Duathlons aren't however, and in any case I now know that they're three-legged events in any case - a long run, followed by a bike, followed by a short run.  I've entered one that's pretty local to home - the Ashbourne Duathlon on 9th April.  Regrettably, it's a hilly course, at least for the bike (40 km) and the first run (12 km), so it's not going to be easy.  That said, my biggest worry, if that's the right word, is my inexperience - how fast do I need to run?  What are the transitions like?  What do I wear?

So training has had to incorporate both running and cycling, disciplines I've not combined before.  And in the last few weeks I've begun to find it hard, really hard.  In the past I've had problems with my knees when I've run any distance - nothing that's been medically diagnosed, but just pain and discomfort above 10 miles.  I've dealt with it by not running that kind of distance.  I had thought that through a combination of top quality trainers and a slightly different technique (landing toes first when I run), I'd cured the problem - at the end of Jan I ran 17 miles with no problems.  But the last couple of Saturdays, the day of the week when I do my weekly long run, my knees have wrecked after about 6 miles.  The only explanation I have is that this has coincided with higher intensity training on the bike - and higher intensity means more watts, more resistance, and more knee strain. 

My strategy for the moment is to get to and through 9th April by doing 1 long run per week, maybe 1 short run, and a lot of high intensity stuff on the bike, which should serve me reasonably well over a 12 km run.  After then, I'll put the bike aside for a bit and concentrate on the running ready for the marathon in May.  It's a risky strategy, but it seems like the only viable one for the moment.

Apologies for the navel gazing, but it helps clarify my thoughts to write this stuff down.  The next post will probably be into next week, when I might reveal the reason behind my username on here.  Bet you can hardly wait...

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