Fitness blogger Becca Burns is a recent convert to the multi-sport world, initially trying out cycling after losing some running motivation. Read on to find out what happened when she caught the multi-sport bug!
In September 2018 I took part in my first duathlon, London Duathlon. I had started cycling earlier that year as a remedy to my sudden loss of running motivation after completing London Marathon. In August that same year I participated in Ride London, and since then I’ve fully embraced life on two wheels. Once Ride London was over I knew I wanted to continue cycling, and by now I was ready to start enjoying running again so made the decision to combine the two and start Run-Bike-Run.
I had always wanted to do a triathlon, but training three disciplines, not to mention facing my fear of open water and the additional cost of a wetsuit, felt like a barrier. Whereas I already had a bike, so I could cycle and I could run - I just had to learn to do both at the same time.
I trained hard, that second run off the bike is brutal - the first km or so was a shock to the system, but I was enjoying the challenge and it offered the perfect solution to balancing two sports I really enjoy. September came and we participated in the London Duathlon in beautiful Richmond Park. I opted for the half distance as this felt like the perfect entry option whilst still offering a challenge.
The day was such a positive introduction to multi sport events. Everything was organised with great precision and the volunteers were incredibly helpful. Transition wasn’t at all scary, there was a mix of abilities and I didn’t fall off my bike, so I felt like a winner. I knew I wanted to do it again next year so signed up to the half distance once more with the aim of using it to track my progress.
I had enjoyed my experience so much I went to compete in two local Duathlons at super sprint and sprint distance, coming second lady (5th overall) in the super sprint distance. I found this so useful during my next marathon training block as it added variety to help avoid mental fatigue of running all the time, helped keep injuries at bay and the second run replicates the feeling of running on very tired legs during a marathon.
Then my brain wandered to triathlon. I had now started open water swimming and it seemed a natural point to add this to the sports I already loved. I had such a positive start at London Duathlon that I opted for London Triathlon as they were organised by the same company (Limelight Sports). London Duathlon has been so well organised and such a pleasant event I felt like sticking with a company that places that at the heart of its event organisation would also give me a good starting point.
Soon my evenings and weekends were filled with running, swimming and cycling and I absolutely loved it. Swimming added something I had felt was missing from my training (arms arms arms!) and gave me even more variety. There’s certainly no chance of getting bored.
Triathlon weekend arrived and my nerves were eased when we arrived to rack our bikes as once again the organisation was on point. We left our bikes overnight which meant we had a hassle free start on Sunday- this was certainly a bonus. The event went well - I particularly loved the swim, I felt so strong and going from swimming onto the bike felt so natural for me, I had much more energy in my legs. The run is tough to mentally get going knowing that you still have a decent chunk of time left (10km as opposed to 5km in a full or half Duathlon). But I found the combination of swim bike run really worked for me. It was such a great day and such a positive start to triathlon.
I came back to London Duathlon again this year and came away with a nice PB and some more fond memories. I had become used to running 10km off the bike so suddenly the 5km off the bike for the Duathlon felt much easier (still tough, but mentally it was over much quicker!)
For me, my journey to triathlon didn’t happen overnight, I eased myself in with a fantastic starting point at London Duathlon and continued to enjoy the experience. I think Triathlon and Duathlon perfectly compliment each other. I find that I do more run-bike-run in winter when it’s too cold to open water swim (I’m not brave enough for winter open water swimming yet!) and then add the swimming element in summer when it’s really enjoyable swimming outside in the sunshine. Duathlon is also the perfect entry into triathlon as you can limit your training to two sports and limit the cost as you don’t need to purchase a wetsuit or pay for open water swim sessions. Often swimming is the most limiting factor for people wanting to get into triathlon (just because you’re comfortable in a pool doesn’t mean you’ll take to open water instantly) so opting for run-bike-run before swim-bike-run is a great way to build multi sport confidence.
So which do I prefer? Well I love them both in their own right, I find Duathlon feels tougher on my body, especially on that second run, but I love the challenge. Whereas triathlon is a bit of everything. I’ve never once regretted my decision to get into multi sports as now I have three disciplines to enjoy!
Feeling inspired to follow in Becca's footsteps? Sign up to the London Duathlon today and start your run-bike-run adventure!