In recent years, the multisport scene has become so popular that most events coincide at weekend multisport festivals. Besides a triathlon, there’s the aquabike (no run), aquathlon (no bike), swim-run (multiple segments of the two), cross triathlon (off road) and duathlon (run-bike-run).
The duathlon removes the swim and replaces it with another run. But just because there’s no swim, it doesn’t mean it’s easier than a triathlon. A duathlon may actually be harder.
So, why should a triathlete do a duathlon?
If swimming is not your strong suit, a duathlon gives you the opportunity to be competitive from the time the gun goes.
“Not a swimmer, but working on it?” says Bauer. “Duathlons are a great way to refine your racing tactics and use your bike/run strength to influence a race.”
By racing an early season duathlon or two, you can focus on increasing your run mileage before the triathlon season.
“Choosing a duathlon allows you to focus on weaknesses,” says Jesse Bauer, a national duathlon champion and advocate for multisport events. “Setting a duathlon as a goal race requires running strength.” With two run segments in a duathlon, you will need to invest more time into the run to become competitive. “Improving a weakness will pay dividends in the tri season,” says Bauer.
Related: Why a runner should try triathlons
Doing a duathlon is a (really, really) tough brick session.
You don’t necessarily have to register for a duathlon to do this, but run-bike-run training sessions are a great way to accumulate fatigue at target race paces on the run. By doing an organized duathlon, you’re able to practice a nutrition plan and race tactics.
The duathlon season can extend your triathlon season. “Prime duathlon season is usually early spring and late fall,” says Bauer. “So, they make a great addition to the start or the end of a season to knock some rust off or achieve an unfulfilled race goal.”
Besides the physical benefits of doing a duathlon, the duathlon community is super tight-knit and offers a very supportive racing environment in comparison to running or cycling races. “I do duathlons for the community,” says Bauer. “When I branched out from running, all the good people in the community embraced me with open arms.”