What is a Duathlon?

Written By UK Fitness Events

Usually comprising of a distance run, cycle race and a final sprint at the end, duathlons often take place on race track circuits for safe, traffic-free racing. Cross-country duathlons offer a more challenging off-road setting, perfect for cyclists who prefer trail runs and mountain biking. If road racing is your thing then there are road cycling duathlon events too, as well as team relay options.

Duathlon Events

A duathlon is an event that brings together running and cycling into one challenge. The format starts with a sprint, before moving onto a cycle section, and then back to a sprint. Before you get started with a duathlon, you’ll need to prepare yourself for both disciplines, becoming a master at running and cycling.

How to train for a duathlon for beginners

Your training for the duathlon will be trickier than most, as you have to prepare for two types of sport in one race. You should aim to train at least three times a week to keep yourself on track. You might need to split up your running and cycling sessions, as it can be tricky to plan where you can stop and swap onto the bike. You can find more tips for training here

Know the rules

There are not too many rules to know about with a duathlon, and the ones you’ll need to pay attention to mostly concern the bike section or the transitions between the run and cycle sections. Some things to be aware of are:

  • You have to keep your helmet on whenever you’re using the bike. So once you finish the first run, you’ll have to put the helmet on before getting on the bike and keep it on until you’ve finished the cycle section completely.
  • You have to keep at least three bike lengths between you and the bike in front. If you want to overtake, you’re allowed 15 seconds to get past the person, otherwise, you’ll have to fall back to the three lengths again. Riding too close or alongside another cyclist is known as “drafting”, and you can get disqualified for it.
  • There will be marked transition areas between the sections of the race, and there will normally be a transition line before the cycle section, and you mustn’t get on the bike before crossing this line.

Top Duathlon Events

We have picked out the best duathlon taking place in 2019. We have lots more listings available, just click on the ‘Duathlon Events’ tab at the top of this page to find them.

London Duathlon

Taking place in September the London Duathlon is a great event for athletes of any ability so might be the perfect start if you are thinking of doing a duathlon for the first time. It has a run-bike-run format with 4 different distance options all courses will take you around Richmond park and the surrounding closed-off roads.

Find out more about the London Duathlon

Further reading from our blog

Complete guide to triathlon distances and average times

Duathlon training plan for beginners

Nutrition for Triathlon: How to get the best performance