Rob Popper is a Level 3 Triathlon Coach and a Sports Massage Therapist who has been working with local clubs and clients (including us here at Capital Tri) for over 12 years. He will be joining the FIX family at their new East Village location in April 2017. Here are his top tips for your next duathlon:
1. Smile, enjoy, have fun. Get to the race early, stick around after you're done. Support your friends, take some time out to cheer them on, clap for them, whoop it up a little bit. High five other people in your wave, shout words of support and encouragement to people who are faster than you. It is scientifically proven that smiling and laughter improves athletic performance. Remember how much you liked it when your friends cheered for you? Be that person who makes someone else feel good.
2. Try something new, make mistakes, learn from them. For most of us, an early-season duathlon is a "B" race or a practice race, and if that is your plan, then you should treat it as such. Perhaps you can consider not being too rigid with setting specific race performance goals (such as, "I want to do the bike in XX amount of time"), and instead set some learning goals (such as, "I want to see what it is like to do a really, really hard bike after a moderate first run, and see how much I have left in my legs for the second run").
3. Practice your transitions. Duathlons are a little different from triathlons and even the most experienced multi-sports athletes may find it a little odd to transition from a run to a bike ride in the first transition, then perhaps might be in more comfortable territory when they transition from a bike ride to a run in the second transition. So, it is definitely worth thinking through your equipment and clothing, practicing those transitions before race day.