USA Triathlon recently announced the 2019 Duathletes of the Year. We were thrilled to see QR Athlete Meghan Fillnow at the top of the list - named Overall Woman of the year! We were eager to hear what she had to say about this great accomplishment.
1. Congratulations on winning the 2019 Duathlete of the Year! Tell us a little bit about your experience in duathlon.
I have an athletic background growing up playing soccer, basketball, gymnastics, softball, and tennis. I started running in my 20s and then eventually got into triathlon. I started doing duathlon in my 30s as prep for my triathlon season. I figured duathlon would fit my background of going from sport to sport as a child. Plus, swimming is my least favorite of the three sports in triathlon, so I thought that duathlon would be a win on all fronts! Little did I know, duathlon would be so challenging! There is nothing quite like running a hard 5k or 10k, then doing a time trial on your bike, and then finding the strength in your legs to dig deep to run fast one more time.
2. We see you were Honorable Mention for Women’s Open Age-Group Triathlete of the Year. Tell us about the highlights of your year.
My highlights include overall amateur female winner at IRONMAN Chattanooga 70.3 by about 20 seconds, second overall female at Ohio 70.3 losing to the female (who is now professional) that I beat in Chattanooga by 20 seconds, and then IRONMAN North Carolina 70.3 overall female winner. My favorite race was becoming an IRONMAN champion for the first time at IRONMAN Maryland. I had a pretty significant deficit starting the run as the leader swam over 10 min faster and we had similar bike times. I took some calculated risks on the marathon and eventually took the lead at the 18 mile marker. It was a grind.
3. Since you are such an accomplished triathlete, why duathlon?
I think competing in duathlons early season helps me to get in race mode. I also enjoy avoiding the cold water in the early spring! Duathlon teaches me to race smart as you can’t crush the first run or your legs will be toast for the bike and second run. It’s a good way to practice riding well on some fatigue which can simulate the bike on longer distance triathlon events. I first became interested in duathlon after my sister became a world champion in duathlon when the event was held on the Charlotte Motor Speedway; which is where I live.
4. How do you train for a duathlon vs triathlon?
When I am training for duathlon, I usually do a two-week crunch training block in which I do a few run, bike, run workouts for race specificity. When I am training for triathlon, I do a mix of key sessions in all the disciplines intertwined with easy workouts. Some of my favorite sessions include muscular endurance, VO2 max workouts, and steady climbs on the bike, or fartlek, easy long runs, and hill repeats for the run, and ladder type of workouts for the swim. I also enjoy doing core and glute workouts. When I get more into my triathlon season, I do a brick session most weeks so I get comfortable running well off the bike.
5. Did you know you were up for Duathlete of the Year?
I did not know I was up for Duathlete of the Year. I was aware I had the potential to be ranked #1 in duathlon because the rankings coordinator reached out to me. He asked me if I was able to complete one more duathlon for the year to hit the minimum number of races. That’s why I signed up for a long course duathlon in the middle of my off season. Haha!
Meghan is MED, USAT Level 1, RRCA, TRX Level 1, IRONMAN U Certified and NAFC Certified. Her resume includes many IRONMAN distance and duathlete wins. You can find her online at her coaching website here.
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