Do a Duathlon!
Wednesday, 24 October 2012
From the October 2012 issue of Runner’s World
Combining running with another sport can make you a stronger runner
By Alison Hamlett
Race organisers are finding new ways to combine running with cycling and swimming, but traditionally duathlons feature a run, followed by a bike, finished off with a shorter run. Aquathlons usually involve a short swim followed by a short run, although some do require you to get back in the water. Whatever the combination, adding another sport to your running is a great motivation booster. If it’s swimming, you’ll build full-body strength and add lean muscle above your waistband. With cycling you’ll power up your legs, and with both you’ll lessen injury-causing impact while still boosting fitness. All of which will make you a stronger runner.
1 Focus training on your weaknesses rather than your strengths. The greatest strength, fitness and race performance benefits will come from improving your weakest disciplines rather than fine-tuning your strongest.
2 Swim technique is crucial and concentrating on form will reap far greater performance rewards than focusing on endurance. If you lack confidence or want to tweak your technique, sign up for lessons or ask a more experienced swimmer to watch you in the pool and point out areas for improvement.
3 Once you’ve mastered the basics of freestyle, practise swimming in open water. Getting comfortable in open water can take time if you’re used to following the lines on the bottom of the pool.
4 Open-water swimming requires new skills that you can practise in the pool. It’s useful to be able to breathe on both sides to deal with waves or wind, plus you need to learn how to sight buoys as swim routes are likely to feature at least one turn. Practise lifting your head at the point when your arm is fully stretched out in front of you.
5 Train so your body gets accustomed to changing from bike to run, or swim to run – whatever combination your race demands. By switching disciplines in your training sessions, you’ll transition easily on race day.
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