A little over two weeks ago my ever enthusiastic and encouraging brother-in-law signed me up for the National Capital Duathlon organized by Somersault Events. While this is yet another vote of confidence of my athletic ability, it has forced my hand (or maybe my feet) to exercise and train for something. So with 7 weeks to go before the race I’ve been forced to research training plans for duathlons, a sport I know very little about. Yes I can run. Yes I have a bike that I used ride regularly. No I’ve never used them both on the same day with ANY organization or plan. When I did cycle, I was NOT a runner. My wife doesn’t think I need to practice the cycling component at all since I rode all the time when we were first together. Ah love. It does truly mask some things. Sure I rode all the time when we first together — 23 years ago! Yes this will require some training and work.
It turns out the last two weeks have completely derailed any training plan I may have had. These were, as they are every year, two of the busiest weeks at work. Add to that a nagging heal injury that I was desperate not to make worse. Suffice it to say I haven’t done any planned exercise. I’ve been so busy my son has walked the dog more than I have these last two weeks. The only good thing is that I’ve had a little time to get my bike ready to ride again. I bought this bike in 1987; it was a top of the line bike at the time equipped with Shimano 600 group of components. Moving from my old CCM bike to this Italian made Bianchi speedster was significant. During the summer I bought the bike, and the years that followed, I pedaled many kilometers each week exploring Ottawa’s neighbourhoods, the Gatinieau hills, and parts of the Quebec’s Eastern Townships.
As often happens, life got in the way — okay I got married and had a family so it wasn’t a poor trade — and I didn’t ride much at all. Finding myself a few weeks way from a 20 km ride is actually quite daunting. Do I still have the legs? Can I manged the distance in a time that doesn’t seem ridiculous? Can I remember how to get out of clipless pedals without falling over?
With just five weeks to go before race day I actually managed to get out for a run. I try to take advantage of my daughter’s field hockey schedule to get my runs in, and Sunday was one of those days. On an unusually cool late June day (14C) I hit the trails behind Minto Field and pounded out a 6 km run with a 6:01 pace. I went out hard and managed to keep it up fairly well the entire time. It also meant I had a nice 1/2 km walk back to the field as my cool down. Monday was another field hockey night so I managed to hit the trails for another 5k run. I was a little slower on this run, but according to Strava I’m trending up for the route I took as I continue to get a little bit faster the more I run.
I did finally get out on my bike. I had to go to a meeting so instead of taking the car I chose to ride. The distance wasn’t too great, just 8.5 km, so it was a good test to see if I have any cycling legs. I completed the ride to the meeting in 21 minutes, and the return was just under that time. Given the fact I haven’t ridden anywhere I feel these are pretty good times. I do hope to finish the race in under 90 minutes, but that is going to be a challenge given how little I’ve actually trained and prepared for the demands of a duathlon.
Duathlon Training Summary Weeks 1 & 2
The countdown is on with just 7 weeks to go before race day. In the first two weeks of training I did exactly no training. Nothing. I did, however, find a 10 week Beginners Duathlon training plan on the British Heart Foundation website that is manageable for me (Training plan). Of course I’m not going to have the benefit of all 10 weeks, but since I have been running, I’m going to jump in at week 4.
Duathlon Training Summary Week 3
Okay so now I’ve actually started running and riding again and I’m jumping ahead to week 6 of the BHF training plan. Except that I’ve already made some adjustments because of my plans for the week. I have covered the required activities for the first few days of the week, but in my own order. Monday was supposed to be a rest day, but I ran 5 km. Tuesday was supposed to be a 30 minute run day, but I biked 40+ minutes instead. And Wednesday is supposed to be a bike and run day, but since it’s Canada Day, and we have guests coming over, I’m unlikely to do anything. I will just have to adjust the rest of the week.