There is more to life than running. Did I REALLY just type that?! Yes! Because it is true there are MILLIONS of other sports out there and it is always good to try something new. Running has given me so much: stress relief, happiness, friendship and memories to last a lifetime. It has given me the gift of fitness and confidence in my sporting ability. However, it has also given me a level of curiosity- if I can run a marathon what other awesome things can I do?
If you love running, but want to try something new too then multisports is a great way to challenge yourself and enjoy running alongside swimming/cycling or even all three! I’m so new to this multiple sport thing, having completed my first aquathlon in August, then first duathlon in September. However let me take you on a whistle stop tour of my findings so far:
- Just like running, you don’t have to be the fastest to take part. Aquathletes, duathletes and triathletes are regular people too, and whilst you get many many insanely talented multi-sport athletes there are loads of regular have a go characters too. At the London Duathlon recently, there was such an eclectic mix of people- from insane ultra athletes, to super strong speedsters and people there for enjoyment. Many people walked some of the runs, got off their bikes and pushed them up the hill, and if you want to cycle slowly that is ABSOLUTELY fine, just keep to the left. You don’t need to be a master to take part, just get your body somewhat used to doing more than one thing in one session even if it isn’t perhaps the right way round- e.g. for the aquathlon I ran then swam in training, when actually the event is a swim then a run.
- There are loads of distance options- if taking on a full duathlon or triathlon seems scary look for events with sprint or even super sprint options- the perfect way to become hooked!
- Multi-sports can be expensive. Yes in comparison to running the price tag is much bigger. With running you can shove on a pair of shoes and go. But with cycling you need a bike or for open water swimming you need a wetsuit or tri suit. These all come with the barrier of expense, but there are ways around it. Stores like decathlon offer cheaper bike, wetsuit and tri-suit options. There is also eBay and you can check the outlet and sales on stores like wiggle. Plus many races offer wetsuit or bike hire options and whilst this isn’t ideal for your training it does give you the option.
- Transition is scary?! Nope! It is definitely not as bad as you think. In fact transition is so much simpler than you think. I got into my head that transition was this big scary thing, when actually it simply is throwing some kit off and throwing some kit on. My big tip is give yourself loads of time to get your kit ready before the race. If you’re nervous have a look at what others have done. Over pack if you’re worried- it’s better to be over prepared and just get out the kit you need. And always leave your laces undone.
- Get your friends involved. One thing I’ve loved about my cycling and swimming journey is I can share it with my boyfriend. Running isn’t his thing but he loves cycling so we’ve both been able to exchange tips and tricks. Plus we’re fiercely competitive!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice! There are a lot of things that might feel daunting and confusing, so rather than get into a tizz about it just ask someone. Even something as simple as- what should I wear?! I’ve had so much great advice and support from, my friends Liam, Victoria, John and Sarah and I’m so grateful!
- It provides excellent cross training- cycling and swimming work your body in different ways to running as well as being less high impact. Cycling has been great for my legs during marathon training as I can give my calves and knees a rest. Also brick sessions teach you A LOT about running on tired legs!
So there you go- combining sports with running isn’t scary. It’s exciting! I highly recommend you give it a go. So what’s next for me? As well as training for Dublin and Liverpool marathon I really want to tackle my first triathlon- the big question now is, which one to choose?!