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Geluwe Duathlon, first race recap this year

It was around the New Year when I saw an ad for a March duathlon. Doing an early season multisport event without the hastle triathlon can sometimes bring seemed interesting. I let the idea sink in, but once I entered, I was quite looking forward to it.

It soon became clear it would become a decent training weekend. Saturday morning early swim with a mate, before rejoining our wives and kids for breakfast. That afternoon, I made the most of the first Spring sunshine to build a wooden box for growing vegetables. Turns out this involves about 200 squats down onto my knees and back up. Later that evening, we went to a quiz night. After a rather short night’s sleep, I woke up with sore thigh muscles, exactly the ones needed for cycling and running. Excellent!

Oh well, I didn’t enter to have a great performance anyway. It was nothing more than an early test just to see where I was at. I’m not used to duathlon. I know it’s tougher than triathlon, with a run leg before and after the bike leg. I hadn’t been able to run much leading up to it, so hoping for a strong finish was pointless. Then again, I wasn’t too worried after all, as I would surely manage 35min and 30min of running. Or so I thought. Anyhow, main 2 things I was after were my pace in the first run and the feeling on the bike.

There had been too many nutritional exceptions on Saturday to ensure an optimal fat burning. Belgian pastries, Easter eggs, snacks at the quiz. Sunday had to be perfect in that respect. I started of with Phil Maffetone’s delicious fat-burning coffee for breakfast, along with a bowl of fruit topped with nuts, seeds and whole yoghurt. For lunch, I reheated leftover root vegetables and added some apple pan-fried in lard. Not too much of anything and at least 3 hours before the race start as well, everything had to be fully digested. For the bike, I prepared a bottle of 4% honey water; very simple, 600ml water with 24g honey.

It was a beautiful day to be out exercising. And I was up for it! First, I needed an easy half hour on the bike to loosen the old legs. After the bike check-in, a short run warm-up would set me up nicely. At the start line, I was wise enough to join in at the back of the pack, knowing duathletes can go out hard. After a solid run and doing some of the work in a small group, I reached T1. 32’26” for 8,1k, resulting in a 15 kph pace. Chuffed with that! I was afraid it would be somewhere between 13 and 14 kph. The bike went pretty okay as well. I definitely did not feel invincible, but my cycling legs were not bad. I did fall short on the uphills, especially on this cobbled uphill section. Where others would push on over the short climbs, I felt I didn’t have the extra Watts to be comfortable. On the final lap I had to let the group go, guess where, on the cobbles. Back in transition, straight away, every step was painful. I ran on, hoping I would find my tride. Unfortunately, run 2 turned out to be a 40min pain parade. In the end, it was no more than an unpleasant cool-down.

You learn something from every race, especially bad ones like this one. I will quietly continue working at my fitness. A weekly aerobic run of 1hr-1hr20′ should improve my maximum aerobic pace. In 3-4 weeks, we’ll see if I can hold (and exceed) 15 kph in a couple of 10k road races. My cycling base is better than my run, however, I now need longer rides with more time at the higher end of my MAF heart rate zone (i.e. 145-150 bpm). I have 2 months before the swike in Harelbeke, which involves an 80k all-out effort. That should be good training for Beernem and Bruges, the weekends after that.

I am limiting interval workouts for now and almost solely relying on the races I’ve planned for that high-intensity stimulus. All in favour of the one A-race this year, the New Forest Middle Distance Triathlon in England on August 20th. I know it’s not ideal if I want to do well in other races. I just need more time to build my aerobic base. For a one-off strong performance before England everything would have to fall into place. A period of little sleep deprivation, very few cancelled training sessions, low stress in general, very few nutrition exceptions etc. We’ll see. I, for one, am still going for it!

2 thoughts on “Geluwe Duathlon, first race recap this year

  1. vandepitte marnix says:

    toch proficiat met je prestatie in Geluwe geen makkelijk wedstrijd.Mooi weer dat wel maar toch behoorlijk veel wind .

  2. Bart says:

    meer dan een knappe wedstrijd, en ik maar dromen van een snelheid van 12km/uur, keep up the good work

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