James Renwick’s duathlon training diary: week one

Last night at about 7:30 I found myself in a heap on the bedroom floor eating spaghetti and meatballs off the carpet, I’d fallen over my bike and was starving hungry. So ended week one of my 10 week duathlon training program – it’s going to be a long 10 weeks.

Having agreed to race the Grim Duathlon (5KM, 20KM, 5KM) last year, with just three weeks preparation, the chance of an all-conquering victory was slim to non-existent. I’d never been for a run in my life, but managed four painful and unpleasant training runs in preparation.

Come race day I felt ok, although slightly saddened when the rest of the field overtook me at the off. A couple of hours later and somehow I’d finished 85th out of around 400 people and was pumped on adrenaline.  My lungs felt bruised and sore for the next three days and the rest of my body felt equally ruined, but man it was fun!

A year later and I’ve decided to do things properly, which means working with a real training program, which means actual road riding, not just going to the local bike park and mucking about on jumps and short downhill runs.

Bikemagic Ed David Arthur leads me to believe that the average reader may know a thing or two about fitness and endurance. Unfortunately I don’t, with my passion for the gravity side of riding requiring little cardiovascular fitness, at least not at my lowly level.

A quick Google search pulled up a wealth of free training programs. After a thorough 5 minutes of searching I found one that sounded straightforward and not too much like hard work courtesy of Transition Magazine and duathlon 247 columnist Tom Lowe. Follow it yourself here: Duathlon Training Plan.

With my new plan taped to the bedroom wall and armed with advice from the likes of RCUK’s road cycling guru Richard Hallett, “marmite and cheese crumpets are all you need for training nutrition” I was ready to go.

Ignoring Richard’s words of wisdom, this week I’ve mostly been eating meat and carbs with a big bowl of porridge for breakfast and a Frijj chocolate milk immediately after exercise while upping my vitamins and minerals with Berocca. I’ve also been supplementing this lazy man’s nutrition with actual homemade meals that on occasion even include fruit and/or veg.

My only problem this year being that I haven’t yet signed up for a race where I can test this newfound level of fitness.

Any suggestions are welcome…


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