Sundays are traditionally for resting.
Or roast dinners.
For me, it’s my Duathlon debut.
It’s the day before the event and as well as a slight hangover from one of my best friend’s wedding last night, I’m also beginning to feel nervous. To ease some of the anxious thoughts from not having done a Duathlon before, below is a checklist I’m using to manage myself out of this very unknown territory:
1. What’s the most simple way to travel to the start line? Every option citymapper gives me is unfortunately ‘un-bike friendly’. With the goal of avoiding as many hold ups, issues and pot holes, I’ve decided to cycle a few miles to Camden and then jump on the overground to Stratford.
2. Working backwards from arrival time, I work out when best to leave the house. Once I have that, I add another 60 mins. Just to be sure. Alarm set for 0645, leave the house by 0800.
3. Clothing choice for my first duathlon has been a tough decision. I’d compare it to the thought process I have for an all day wedding:
What’s going to be comfortable but feel nice?
What will be most suitable for changes in weather conditions?
Which shoes are going to hurt the least by the end?
If I throw up, what do I want to be wearing?
Final decision: Rapha leggings (no chamois), thin base layer, rapha cycling jersey, gilet, adidas ultraboost for the run, Rapha Climbers for the bike. Within the ‘clothing choice’ segment, also sits 'hairstyle choice'. Get this wrong and you could have a mouth full of hair on mile one or a pony tail hitting you in the face on mile three. With the added consideration of a helmet, I’ve decided to go with a simple yet effective low plait.
4. Backpack wanker: Prepping your bag is an important task that can improve your event experience drastically. Don't underestimate the power of a 'pack. You’ve got to be clever and make sure that both the logistical and emotional items have been considered. From the food and drink (logistical) to the slides and big hoody (emotional).
What’s in my backpack: Two bananas, a spare water bottle, slides, spare hoody, purse, joggers (which I may decide to wear in the morning), spare socks, phone, headphones, camera and bobble hat.
5. Food prep: One of my favourite parts of planning for a race/event is deciding on the menu which includes a three course meal of ’Night before, ‘Morning of’ and ‘Post race'. Here’s whats on the Duathlon menu:
Evening before: Warm winter vegetable soup for the starter, followed by sweet potato wedges drizzled in oil on a bed of puy lentils, kale, fried halloumi, sundried tomato, avocado (obvs), roasted veg and topped with a fried egg. All mixed together with a healthy dose of kryptonite - tahini. Essentially, everything I like chucked into a bowl.
Morning of: Overnight oaks soaked in a bowl of almond milk, sprinkled with chia seeds, an indulgent dollop of peanut butter and a side of humble instant coffee.
Post race: I’ll have banana and peanut butter on the way back and I plan to make two meals tonight so it's ready for lunch when I return, avoiding the fridge raid which is always appealing after an event.
6. Strategy consideration: I’m not racing. Apart from my usual fitness routine, I’ve not been training specifically for the event. No sprints or even run to bike transition practice. I’m therefore expecting nothing, but hoping for a good day out. My predicted splits will, ideally, not be far out from:
3 mile run: <30 mins. 10 mile bike: <40 mins. 1 mile run: <10 mins.
Or, in other words, just keep going and be open to winning the golden spoon. This strategy also includes checking the weather. Currently it’s cold and windy which doesn’t give me many action points apart from ‘man up’.
7. Finally, bike-min (bike admin): Quick clean of her and check the tyres. I’m sure there are more complicated things I could do, but I haven’t got time. Those oats won’t soak themselves.
So that’s the check list complete. I’ve controlled everything I can.
Time to handle the things I can’t.