Sean Van Staden
Columnist
4 minute read
3 Oct 2015
1:20 pm

From couch potato to your first duathlon

Sean Van Staden

You have just less than three weeks before your duathlon race in Sandton.

Last week’s article hopefully inspired you to get off the couch and take action to be a better, healthier you. The race will not be as daunting as you think. It is only a 2.5km run, 12km cycle and then a 2.5km run. First up, pop past the doctor and get a medical check-up.

I am sure it has been some time, but let’s rather be safe than sorry. Once you have been given the clean bill of health, it’s time to start training. Start off slowly and build up your momentum. But before I get going with your programme, let me put the entire beginner race “Super Sprint” into perspective. If you had to walk the entire distance, that means walking the run and walking the cycle then it will take you only three hours to complete the entire race.

Now that we have got your fear of not completing out of the way, let’s get on to the training. I am assuming you are the couch potato who wants to add some health and wellness to your life, so all I want you to do today is map out 5km and simply just walk it. I don’t care about the excuses you have. If you don’t have space, mark off a 100m distance and walk there and back 25 times.

Ideally, try walking in your neighbourhood so that you can map off psychologically how far 5km is. I know you would like to jog or run it but I can promise you, you are going to be sore for two days afterwards, so follow my advice. You can, however, take the dog, wife and kids along for a walk to keep you company.

Monday of Week 1 has arrived and you need to start preparing for the cycle. If you don’t have a bike, then borrow one from a friend, or rent. I know there will be rental facilities available for the race. If you don’t have a bike to train on, then head off to your local gym, bring some headphones, some high-energy music and climb on a bike and start cycling.

Set the machine to level 5 or 6 and try aim for 100 watts at all times. Don’t be concerned about the time, focus on cycling for 7km in distance. This should take you about 30-45 minutes. After your cycle, head for the abs section in the gym and perform three sets of 12 full-range crunches and three sets of 15 seconds Plank.

I also recommend some lower back extensions, one set of six repetitions of Is, Ys, Ts and Ws. It is important to start strengthening your core, lower back and abdominal muscles because this adds distance and faster times to your race. Week 2. I am sure you are feeling a little stiff but can still manage to push on with your training.

Your goal, to complete race day. Keep that in mind when the going gets tough. I am going to start you on multi-sport training, this means you will be upping your game to a jog and after your jog, a cycle. The distance I want you to jog is 2km and then cycle for 7km. Rest for five minutes and repeat. End off your training session with abs, lower back and core and don’t forget to stretch.

Reward yourself with a peanut butter bomb health smoothie. Perform this routine Monday, Wednesday and Friday. To sum up your training for the week, you would have covered a 12km jog and 42km cycle which is three times what you need to complete your beginner race. Sunday the 18th is your prematch test day.

I would like you to give the entire race a go, 2.5km jog, 12km cycle, followed by a 2.5km jog to the finish. Take note of your time and remember to have fun during your race. The final week you are back in training repeating Week 2 on Tuesday and Thursday with slightly elevated speeds. Friday is your rest day and Saturday I recommend light cardio, stretching and self-massage.

Also make sure you have a well-balanced diet with reduced simple carbohydrates. Good Luck with your training and race and tweet me @SeanVStaden on how your journey from off the couch into a race is going. If you need any advice, feel free to contact me. I will gladly assist.