I decided to sign up for an April duathlon (4 mile run, 14 mile ride, 4 mile run). Up until two years ago I was a casual runner (~650 miles/yr). Then I got hooked on cycling so now I've cut back the running to about 300 miles/yr (all during the week) and I did 2200 miles of cycling last year (all on the weekends). So, this duathlon seemed doable. My goal is modest - not to finish last in my age group (I'm a 57 year old male).
1. I wear bib shorts when I ride and I run in shorts and a supporter. What do you suggest wearing in the duathlon? I'll be in the 70's.
2. What do you suggest eating/drinking during the race? When I ran 10K's, I avoided eating before the race, but in this race I'm worried about boinging either during the ride or the second run leg.
3. How about training? I intend to raise my running mileage a bit, but concentrate on increasing my pace during my runs. I can't do much more riding, so I'll try and maintain the weekend mileage. Could you recommend a general schedule two weeks before the race? I'm interested in when I should taper back, so that I don't enter the race with a tired body.
1. You may look into a pair of tri shorts. They are the same as bike shorts with a much thinner pad that should be more comfortable while running.
2. I would eat something for breakfast for sure. I would probably eat a gel or bar or something during the bike so you have a little energy left for the second run. Whatever you decide be sure and try it all out during practice. During a race is not the time to be experimenting with foods and drinks. Anything you feel like trying, try it during your workouts and make sure it works with your body.
3. Not a complete answer but I would at least recommend doing what are called "bricks". This is where you ride your bike for a while then immediately get off your bike and go run just as you will in the race. The hardest part of your race will be the second run. During my tri's it seems to take a mile or mile and half before my legs start fully cooperating. You don't have to do the full distance or anything. I will usually ride my bike for 8 or 10 miles making at least the last few miles pretty tough then run for 2 or 3 miles. I would do this as much as possible to get a feel for your legs off your bike.
You didn't give a real clear picture of your current conditioning. But, hey, that's never stopped anyone on this board from making recommendations, so here goes...
1. I would suggest a pair of tri shorts. Wear them for the whole event. They'll have plenty of support and you won't even notice the pad on the run. If you don't want to spend the money on one race, I'd suggest run clothing over bike shorts, and just wear them the whole race. A 14 mile bike won't kill you w/o a pad. I'd skip the supporter, though. It will get uncomortable on the bike. Do you have a pair of compression shorts you could wear for the entire race?
2. How long do you think this race will take you? It's a pretty short race and you're not going to bonk during an event this short. You'll get tired, but not bonk. Food isn't going to keep you from getting tired. For me... I'd go with water only. If it makes you feel better, maybe take one gel shortly before the end of the bike, but I don't think it's necessary. You can also drink a little sports drink if it agrees with you, but, again, probably not a necessity.
3. You have plenty of time to prepare for racing these distances in April. Since you seem to be most concerned about running, that's where I'd put my greatest effort. Be careful with increasing run volume and intensity at the same time. That's a recipe for disaster. I'd slowly build up the volume until ~3wks out from your event, then cut it back a little and increase the intensity. Definitely do some bricks. Ride ~1/2hr at race pace, run just long enough that you get in a rythm (usually takes me ~1 mile), repeat. It's a short race. I'd take the day before off and possibly go short (but high intensity) the day before that. But, that's about it for taper.
I normally go from the house. No reason not too. I'll just leave the house, ride rather hard for 30 minutes or so and end up back at the house. Throw the bike in the garage, change into my running shoes as quickly as possible and go for a short 1 or 2 mile loop that I like. I find it easier to do these in familiar territory though I guess it doesn't really matter. These also give you a chance to practice on the transition. Knowing what you need and practice changing shoes and whatever else you want to change quickly.