What is the best form of duathlon clothing to wear for a race? While choosing the right type of duathlon clothing is a little easier than for a triathlon (no swim!) it still pays to get it right. The right duathlon clothing will make your race not only more comfortable, but can also help you to go faster.
The secret is to find one outfit that you can wear throughout the race that is both comfortable and functional, so that you don't waste time changing clothes between the three stages of the race. There are two main areas you need to think about when choosing duathlon clothing – shorts, and tops. Let's look at shorts first.
As you spend two parts of the race running, you might think that running shorts would be a good choice. However, while they are great for running, they have no padding – which will literally be a pain on the bike – and they blow about in the wind, creating draft and slowing you down when you ride.
Regular bike shorts will provide the padding you need to be comfortable, and are suitably aerodynamic, but running in them can feel like you are wearing a soggy nappy – the pad tends to waddle around behind you. The solution? Triathlon or biathlon shorts. These look pretty much like standard bike shorts, but they have slightly shorter legs, and a thinner pad – they thus provide enough comfort for the ride, but don't sag when you run.
What you wear on the top half of your body will depend on your sex (women are highly recommended to wear a properly fitting sports bra), the weather, and your preference. Again, bear in mind that you will be both biking and running in whatever top you choose, so while that cool t-shirt might be fine on the run, it's going to billow like a sail when you are on the bike.
The solution? Most people choose to wear a short sleeved bike top – it is close fitting, so it won't flap around and slow you down on the bike, and you can unzip it if you find yourself getting too hot on the run.
Other decisions will depend on the weather. There are duathlons held throughout the year – for summer races, just shorts and a top will be fine, but winter races require more careful planning. The biggest issue for most people (unless you are impervious to the cold) is that you will tend to feel a lot colder on the bike than on the runs.
The only way around that is to dress in layers, slipping an extra top on before the bike leg, then taking it off as you head out for the second run. You'll also need to make decisions about things like tights and gloves – getting your layers right can be the difference between a fun race and a chilly nightmare!