Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Race Day!

After training for six weeks where did it get me?


It got me to the point that I raced my heart out and still felt pretty good the next day. I was able to race for 1:19 and love every minute of it. It brought back memories of when I was in middle school and public school running cross country. I remembered what it was like to give it your all and wonder if I could have raced harder.

The race day was pouring rain and the winds were so bad. They ended up canceling the swim portion of the triathlons because of 8 foot swells. All events turned in to a duathlon. They were contemplating canceling the bike portion too because the water was starting to flood the roads however they decided it was safe enough to race on.

It was raining right up until they started the race so I was wearing a shell to shield some of the rain. However since it had stopped raining I started to over heat once the run started. I was used to gauging my effort with a heart rate monitor and speedometer. My hr monitor wasn’t working for the first half of the run. We started out and it seemed to me like everyone was going slow. I was second guessing myself thinking that it was just my adrenaline but decided to pick up the pace. I ran by two dozen people and got in to a good rhythm. I decided to grab some water half way through the 5k and forgot to squeeze the cup to make it easier to drink out of. I wasn’t used to drinking while running and ended up choking because I breathed some in. I found it kind of funny and decided to wait until the first transition to grab another drink.

I ran the transition a couple of times so that I knew where my bike was and that I could find it while moving at a good pace. I strongly recommend actually running between transition zones in the same path as you will be during the race. Plus you can use it as part of your warm up.

I was used to pacing myself with the speedometer but that want working… Should have tested that. I started riding and everything was going well. I grabbed some water and when putting the bottle back in the cage I thought it was clipped in but it wasn’t and I dropped the bottle. If it had fallen off the road I would have left it but it stayed right in the middle of where the next bikes would be coming and I pictured someone riding over it and wiping out so I stopped, turned around and grabbed it.

My pacing was okay but was slow compared to what I was used to. I usually paced around 30-32 kmh but the race times showed that I was only moving around 27kmh. This added about 4 mins to my time. The rest of the ride was pretty steady. I realized that having a quick pedal is really beneficial, also known as cadence. There were lots of people flying by me on. It was a quick out and back. 10k out, turn around and take the same course back to transition. Just before getting back to me I had a close call with a big dog that it’s owners we’re walking. It lounged at me an came pretty close. Luckily there was no incident.

Back at transition I grab some more water and almost forgot to leave the bike helmet. It would have looked silly running with it. I felt great coming out of transition and was really moving. I got on the run and quickly realized my calves were cramping up. I had to pull back the pace. I let my calves calm down for a few minutes then picked up the pace again. My first 5k was 22:44 so my time for the second run of 2.5k should have been half that. I actually did a lot better and ran it in 10:06. I ended up sprinting at the end and passed a group of 4 people. Felt good right at the end.

My lessons learned:

Run the transition areas.
Leave the bike in an easy gear.
Keep the transition are clean.
Make sure your electronics are working.
Hydrate plenty.
Make sure you properly put bake your water bottle.
Dress appropriately.
Get to the race site at a MINIMUM of an hour before start.
Don’t leave any effort behind and give it your all.
I say this a lot and I think its my motto: Finish Strong. Meaning work hard until you are complete. That includes the last foot that crosses the finish line.

Most of all: Have fun.

My goal is to run 5k in 20 mins flat next season.

Next season I’m definitely in for some more races.


Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Sep 6, 2012

2 days before the race.

I pulled my hamstring last Wednesday and it seems to be healing okay. I can still feel that it’s injured but is still fully functional. I did a 5k run this morning without pushing myself really hard. It’s the last workout I’ll do before the race. Tomorrow just a warm up and stretch. I feel good and prepared to complete but I don’t feel that my times are very fast. From the weekend work out I realized that I need to remember to push myself and not hold back. Also form on both run and bike. Breathing is another to focus on.

I’m seeing a physiotherapist today for a number of reasons. First is about my hamstring. Second about training an how to stay healthy with advice for preventative measures. Third is about triathlon specific training which should cover all three sports. Also my left ankle was hurting me on the weekend so that’ll be another area to look at.

Times were:

Total = 22:55
Avg hr = 153
Peak hr = 167

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Sep 2, 2012

Did a mock race all on the road. I found a 5k loop and used that for run and bike. Felt good even after a hamstring pull 4 days before. I learned that I need to push harder on the initial 5k and the bike. My legs felt like rubber after the bike on the second run. Going from the bike trainer to the road I noticed how when I pedal the bike moves forward while I stay in one place. I noticed fatigue on my lower back but it wasn’t bad. Times and HR were:


T1: 1:50,148

11:10,150 – ran in to traffic and got delayed
1:42,153 time after 20k before T2

T2: 1:25,152

2.5km run: 12:26,155

Total time: 1:24
Avg hr 154
Peak hr 167

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Aug 27, 2012

I woke up at 4am today. Crawled out of bed at 4:15. Grabbed some water and a power gel and ran to the track for 4:30. Started running at 4:35. It was hot and humid out. Weird for that time of day. Did a quick 12 laps and 20k on the bike. I felt good immediately after. I slept on the train for 30 mins and was doing pretty good. As the day goes on I’m feeling worse. My legs are really hurting from not moving around and when I tried to stretch I was getting Charlie horses. I think I was a bit dehydrated. I’ve had more than 2L of water and it’s only 1pm. My lungs feel very tired as well. Here’s my times and heart rates:

1. 1:41,134
2. 1:52,153
3. 1:51,155
4. 1:51,156
5. 1:50,158
6. 1:50,159
7. 1:53,158
8. 1:58,157
9. 1:51,157
10. 1:55,158
11. 1:57,157
12. 1:53,158

Run from track to home fast: 2:54,156

Transition to bike: 3:03, 127

Bike 5k legs:
9:26, 148
9:55, 150
10:14, 145
9:45, 149

Total time: 1:07

Avg hr 150
Peak hr 161
42 min at avg 148
22 min at avg 157

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Aug 15, 2012

Started to do 5k this morning and my timing was horrible. Very labored running and I couldn’t pick up the pace. I kept trying harder but felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. Times and hr are by lap for the continuous 2k that I managed to run are:

1. 1:37 avg hr 134
2. 1:50 avg hr 155
3. 1:45 avg hr 159
4. 1:50 avg hr 161
5. 1:50 avg hr 161
1:25 avg hr 154
1:31 avg hr 155

Total avg hr 154
Peak hr 169
Out of the 15 mins running 9 was spent at an avg of 160 hr

It was really foggy and couldn’t see 100m. I’m wondering if the water in the air prevented me from getting enough oxygen to run faster and for longer. I have times for 5 laps and walked 100m then did 400m sprint. Also I wonder how much my intervals on the bike from yesterday affected my run?

Tomorrow is definitely a rest day. I was tired today and didn’t really feel like running starting out the run I just tried to shut off my brain that was yelling to stop running and go relax. I managed to turn down the volume in that thought and just put one foot in front of the other.

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Aug 24, 2012

Did 8k run. Hoping to do a little longer distance. I heard that increasing the distance and practicing sprints will help my race pace. I felt I could have definitely pushed myself more. It gave me confidence to push harder at the shorter distances. Pacing was somewhat usual even at the longer distance. Times per lap for the 20 laps were:

Total = 38:10
Avg hr 157
Peak hr 167

There were warm and cool pockets of air as I ran the track. The cool pockets were really refreshing. I got to watch another sun rise.

I find it funny that my heart goes up and my times get worse as the laps go on.

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Aug 19, 2012

Did a trial race today. I took times after each lap, transition, every 5k and again for the last 2.5k.

1. 1:39, 146
2. 1:49, 160
3. 1:52, 160
4. 1:51, 162
5. 1:52, 163
6. 1:53, 162
7. 1:47, 164
8. 1:56, 164
9. 1:56, 162
10. 1:55, 163
11. 1:58, 164
12. 1:59, 163
Sub total: 22:32

13. 2:43, 161

14. 4:13, 142

15. 9:11, 148
16. 10:19, 148
17. 10:37, 144
18. 10:15, 146

2:58, 137

11:10, 155

Overall this workout felt really good. I didn’t try to push myself too much and just paced it. The first run was the hardest as that’s reflected in my crappy lap times. No thoughts on how to fix this or improve. The second run was at the same pacing. Perhaps some intervals and longer runs will help? I really have no idea.

The bike I took it easy as I recently read about “bonking” which is where your body is totally depleted and you are forced to stop. I’ll definitely have to pick up the pace a bit. I’d like to see me struggle more on the second run or push harder now that I know what 1.5hrs of solid aerobic exercise feels like.

My muscles were a bit sore but where I really noticed it the most is in my lungs. The next day felt really crappy to breathe. By Tuesday it was gone.

Monday I did a short 15 min moderate bike with 20 mins of stretching and plank exercises with some hip exercises.

Tuesday was a fun run. I just ran for 30 mins and didn’t worry about pacing or even count laps. Although when I’m used to measuring everything down to heart beat it was an odd and nice feeling. I focused on keeping my head up, trying to feel light and having a short time of contact with my foot and the ground at each step. I watched the sun come up over Newmarket and felt the warm air rolling in from the east. It was a nice run and really enjoyed it.

Last week I felt really drained and thought I might have been getting sick and that’s why I took it easy on Thursday and Friday.

Wednesday I did bike intervals. 2 min hard, 1 min recovery. Pacing was about 37kmh. I didn’t feel like I was killing it but was definitely giving a lot. By the end of each 2 mins my legs were burning. The whole point of this workout is to improve my muscles’ ability to remove lactic acid from the muscles that are being used.

After the workout I felt like I should have pushed it harder. However after showering and heading to work an hour and a half later I realize that my legs are now burning again and will have a long day recovering ahead.

Another breakfast of toast with peanut butter, 250ml milk with protein powder. Around 9 I’ll eat again and again at noon and 3. Trying for 2-3 pieces of fruit per day.

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Aug 14, 2012

Did some intervals yesterday and today.
Yesterday I woke up late… Went to bed way too late so it was a short workout. A quick jog to the school where I did some timed laps. The goal was to do 1 lap (400m) sprint then a half lap light jog to recover. So it started out great. First lap 1:30 without pushing too crazy. The only problem was that there were two black labs that kept wanting to say hi. Very cute but not helping my times. I figure okay next lap I’ll pick it up. Next lap comes 1:28 … The labs again. This continued for the next three laps: run, slow to not set off over affectionate dog, finish strong but disappointed with my time. Then the dogs leave and I figure I’ve got one good lap in me. So off I go and 3/4 through the lap a big white dog comes up to me and wants to play. This just wasn’t my training day. Oh well it’ll be an easier recovery than if I’d had good laps. Best time was 1:25 and that was sprinting. Guys qualifying for the olympic 5k run are doing an avg lap of 1:10 or better and that’s their avg time for 12.5 consecutive laps. Their last lap will be even quicker. Thats crazy fast. Anyone running laps close to 1:15? What’s your 5k times?
Today was bike intervals. 2 minutes sprint with one minute recovery at a slow pace. Lather, rinse, repeat. The sprints I could really feel the burning in my legs. I knew it was only 2 mins so I gave it all I had. I’d start out at 38-40kmh for about the first 15 seconds and then my legs would still be pushing as hard but would then taper off to 35 kmh. After one min they would only be able to bike at 32kmh. Then the break came and that one min seems to fly by so quick. The sprints seemed to last forever. And now my legs are killing me. I was only doing the intervals for 20 mins so I got in 7 sprints(3min cycles). With a 3 minute warm up, quick stretch and 3 minute cool down with a quick stretch that was 30 mins. Time for a glass of OJ for some sugar and off to get ready for the day. Had to let some really cold water cool off my legs in the shower for a bit… although sitting on the train, starting to cramp up, I realize that it was only a temporary relief.
I think I lost the hr data for the bike. I didn’t check the hr info for the run intervals as I didn’t think it would be very useful.
Tomorrow is supposed to be a rest day. I may do a 5k run instead depending on how recovery from today goes. I’m going to try an take lap data for all the laps tomorrow.
The guy sitting next to me on the GO train smells like Nathan’s diaper.

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… Training Days – Aug 9 & 10, 2012

Aug 9-thurs-5k run. Time =23:30 and felt like I could go faster but couldn’t hold on to a quicker pace. Was tired at the end but thought I had more in me. I ran out of time and wasn’t able to do sprints at the end. I got out of bed about 10 mins later than I was hoping. Every minute in the morning is crucial. The only problem is that if I get out of bed quickly and I’m still asleep then I end up banging in to the walls and am really loud which will wake up the kid and then my whole workout is shut down. Oh well it’s nice to see him for a while in the mornings anyways.

Found out that the winner at a previous sprint duathlon ran it in 17 mins, bike in 30 mins and final sprint in 9 mins. At current pacing this will put me around 20th out of 41. The winner was pacing at 40km/hr bike and I’m pacing about 31 km/hr. Having said that he is on a cycling team and at a 5k run of 17 mins he’s one heck of a runner too.

Aug 10-Friday- 20k bike. Avg speed 31km/h. Time 38:30
Avg hr 155
Peak hr 169
Spent 31.5 minutes at an avg of 158 hr
Broken to 5k segments in order:
1. 9:13 avg hr 146
2. 9:33 avg hr 157
3. 10:03 avg hr 156
4. 9:38 avg hr 161
Warning… this part ain’t pretty…
Perceived effort:
1. Seemed reasonably hard but not sustainable. Started to moderately perspire. Breathing was pretty heavy. Averaged about 34kmh.
2. Started to really labour. Felt serious burning in my quads as I tried to keep my previous pace. I had to ease off the difficulty of pedal and cycle a bit faster (but easier) to keep a 30kmh pace a couple of times. By this point I’m sweating a lot and breathing is moderate. I started to feel like my muscles couldn’t keep up with my lungs. My lungs felt good to go but the lactic acid build up was holding me back.
3. Had to ease off the pace quite a bit. Did half in a harder gear at a slower pace and half in an easier gear with a higher cadence. I had some sub 30kmh times as I tried to keep up. I did some standing to try an use some different muscles and let the lactic acid clear out a bit. Obviously this was my worst segment time wise. I started to seriously sweat here and was dripping by this point. My towel was starting to get soaked. Drops of sweat were hitting the floor and dripping down my arms on to the handle bars which was making them slippery. I tried to focus on smooth leg movements making circles rather than just pushing down on the peddles. I tried to limit the sideways sway of the bike to increase efficiency.
4. I was still sweating profusely and started to pick up the pace. The burn was a lot but not as bad as segment two. The burning was consistent however I knew that it was the last 5k and psychologically I wasn’t as concerned about being able to complete it. I knew that I could give 95% and save the last 5% extra effort for the last km with even more effort in the last 500m. I was starting to really hurt at this point and was just trying to keep my pace above 33 kmh. I hit about 34 in the beginning and them bounced between 32-34kmh. I think that every time I dropped in pace that when I gave it that extra effort to get the pace back up a bit that my legs were getting a quick shot of lactic acid. It always felt harder after a bump up in pace but even when maintaining the pace the burn would taper off a bit. The last km was brutal and didn’t know how much more I could do at this pace. Last 500m I was competing with myself to see if I would give up and that’s when I felt the aggression come out as I didn’t want to be “beaten” by my physical limitations.
5. Recovery- Spent five minutes of easy light riding to keep the blood circulating while my body started to clean out the lactic acid. Started to feel much better and started to cool down. Heart rate fell to about 120 bpm quickly from the 165 bpm that I was doing in the home stretch.
Some light long stretching. Off for a cup of orange juice for some much needed sugar and a cold shower. On the way out of the house I grab a protein shake 30g protein and two pieces of bread with cheese wiz. Still love the cheese wiz.
I’ll be sure to stretch throughout the day and drink mega amounts of water. Also lots of food today too.
First time doing a brick workout tomorrow. You think it’s too soon after a long ride? I’ll have to see how I feel. Aiming for 5k run followed immediately by 20k bike. Hoping for quick 22 min timing on the run. Pacing on the bike should be slower around 30kmh so do it in 40 mins.
Sunday is a rest day.

Training for a Sprint Duathlon… The Beginning

After writing for the CFA exam in June 2012 I hadn’t exercised in about 6 weeks so I decided to start getting active again. I started with a goal to work out 3 days per week at home. My schedule really only permits me to work out in the morning before everyone wakes up so that means the alarm goes off at 5am. My goal was to get in 20 minutes each day. Sounded simple to me. 20 minutes isn’t very long and I should be able to get in a bit of a work out. The goal: just to stay healthy. I noticed that I struggled to get in to good condition for mountain biking. When I went out biking which wasn’t very often I always hurt a lot afterwards. This year I turned 30 and I asked for a trainer to hook my bike on to. I started using it once a week for cardio rather than running as it was easier in my joints and was still a great workout. Once every week or two I would hop on my bike for 20 mins and work out on my upper body 2 days a week.
After reading a triathlon magazine I became inspired by the “multisport” challenge that triathlons offered. The idea of training for not one but three sports and combining them all in one competition felt really appealing to me. The only problem is that I couldn’t swim front stroke for any length of time and even with 3 sessions in the lake I realized that I needed some serious coaching to improve my technique in order to go the distance required. I started looking around to see what my options were and came across a duathlon. Perfect, I can run and bike and combine them together.
So with 8 weeks to go until the race I started to run and work on my biking a bit. I started doing 8-12k bike rides, interval bike sessions of 30 mins and running 5k the other mornings. Still only 3 to 4 days per week at 30 mins per workout.
With 4 weeks to go I’ve come up with a plan to do 5 days per week of heavy training and one easy exercise/stretching morning with Sundays being completely off. The plan is to do:
Mon-run intervals 400m fast/200m recovery for 30 mins
Tues-bike intervals 2mins fast/ 1min recovery for 30 mins = 10 cycles
Wed-bike easy 15 mins stretch for 20 mins
Thurs-run5k to work on quickening up race time sprints after.
Friday-bike 20k focus on increasing avg speed
Saturday-BRICK training.
BRICK trainings are when you combine more than one sport such as biking then running. It’s popular to do a moderate bike then immediately go for a run to get used to running on tired and stressed out legs.