Oh my, this always comes round very quickly! Only a few days until I throw myself wholeheartedly into this year’s London Duathlon. It will be my third time in Richmond Park for this brilliant annual event. You can read about my two previous ‘attempts’ here and here. The first year I really struggled with cramp, I hobbled my way to the finish, where I promptly threw up. This led me to embark on an ongoing exploration of how to deal with cramp and dehydration, trying all sorts of fuelling strategies to get to the bottom of why I had such a difficult time. In the second year I had had a nasty chest infection in the lead up to the race, so went into it feeling a bit rough and not particularly confident! Both times I was over three hours finishing and would dearly love to smash that three hour mark this time.
How will this race be different? I haven’t done a great deal of road cycling (one long ride with friends and, of course, my half-ironman back in July, oh and Ride 100!), but have been on the turbo-trainer and to spin classes *a lot*! I really enjoy the bike leg in any multi-sport race, I look forward to it during the swim (or run 1) and look back longingly at cyclists when on the final run leg. My running, as always, is plodding along, but there’s a bit too much emphasis on the plod right now, I can’t see myself running the 10k and 5k run legs any faster than previously this Sunday 😦 I do think, however, that I might just have got on top of the cramp and dehydration problems that have caused so much discomfort and distress in the past.
What have I done that might make a difference? I have learned to drink whilst on the bike. Now this might sound totally daft to anyone who cycles long distances regularly, but there really is a skill to drinking on the move – it can be quite tricky reaching down to grab your bottle from its cage, sipping whilst steering and looking where you’re going and then getting the bottle back in the cage…all in one swift, smooth move. Well, that’s now mastered, but there’s also the actual *remembering* to drink. Yes, I know! I finish the first run (or the swim), jump on my bike, get caught up in the excitement of it all (quite often going ‘weeeeeeee!’ down the hills) and simply forget to take a drink. This was what happened on that first London Duathlon and I paid the price horribly, swearing never to let that happen again. I have also been taking magnesium supplements, having read that they can help with muscle recovery and also with cramping. I fill my drinks bottle with Precision Hydration tablets (which I first found at the triathlon show at the Olympic Velopark earlier this year), making sure I have the right level of electrolytes going back in (I sweat heavily on the move) and I even took some salt tablets during my half-ironman (I’ll try anything!). Let’s see if all this gets me through Sunday’s duathlon in one bouncy, not wobbly, piece!
Watch this space!