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5 Tips on transitioning from single to multi-events

The switch to duathlon took me by surprise, it certainly wasn’t something I intended to happen, it was a bit of a happy accident.

After the London Marathon my motivation for running took a real nose dive and coming off an intense marathon training programme left me tired both physically and mentally.

Luckily I had my next challenge lined up, which was Ride London 100. Up until May that year I had never even sat on a road bike, let alone ridden one. I had been doing all my training rides indoors as I didn’t want to take a fall before the marathon.

Cycling offered me one of the steepest learning curves of any sport I have tried. It really hasn’t come naturally at all and I’m learning every single day. I think that has been part of the appeal, I refused to accept that I couldn’t do it.

The hard work paid off and I completed Ride London in dreadful weather, hills and all.

Once it was all over, I felt kind of empty, I really missed being out on the bike and made a promise to continue with this new aspect of my training.

As motivation I set my sights on the half distance at London Duathlon as this seemed the perfect entry level into run-bike-run, and I hoped it would help my running motivation return. It’s been a whirlwind, but an incredible journey to finding a sport I love. I’m still not the most capable on the bike, but I am first and foremost a runner and I play this to my advantage.

The feeling of coming off the bike and going into that last run, when my tired legs know what they have to do and they kick in and fight to carry me through, that is what makes me feel strong and that is why I love duathlon.

This year I’m moving up to my first triathlon and I’m really excited. I love the variety multi-sports adds to my training, it certainly keeps me on my toes.

5 Tips on transitioning from single to multi-events

Do it gradually: Don’t go straight in on those brick sessions. Practice each discipline separately then when you feel ready begin putting them together gradually. You don’t need to be a master of each discipline, just let your body feel comfortable as doing too much too soon can lead to injury.

Find small local beginner races in your area: The Go-tri races are an excellent introduction to duathlon/ triathlon and offer a friendly environment for beginners to learn, or more established athletes to have a chance to refine their skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Take the plunge and book a race: Stop saying you want to transition to multi-events and do it! Sometimes you just need that push out of your comfort zone, and having a race to train for offers the perfect motivation. Even if you aren’t sure if multi events are for you, I recommend trying one at least once – you never know!

Learn how fuelling differs between each event: For runs I only use gels, but during multi-events I always try to eat a protein or energy bar on the bike and take on some electrolytes. Eating during a race seemed totally alien to me at first, but chomping away on the bike is an essential part of my race day strategy, and gives me the power for the bike-run transition. Practising your fuelling is also a really important part of your training. Get it right and you’re flying, get it wrong and it can ruin your day.

Go watch an event: The fear of the unknown is often the biggest barrier. If transitions scare you, go watch them happening. If you don’t know what to expect find a race and visit; this way you can see that multi-events aren’t as scary as they first seem. Seeing races in action is always a real motivator, and can answer a lot of questions you might have about what happens.

Written By

Becca Burns