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Int J Sports Med. 2010 Apr;31(4):251-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0029-1243647. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Age-related changes in triathlon performances.

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UFR STAPS - Université de Bourgogne, INSERM - U887 Motricité - Plasticité, DIJON, France.


The aim of this study was two-fold: i) to analyse age-related declines in swimming, cycling, and running performances for Olympic and Ironman triathlons, and ii) to compare age-related changes in these three disciplines between the Olympic and Ironman triathlons. Swimming, cycling, running and total time performances of the top 10 males between 20 and 70 years of age (in 5 years intervals) were analysed for two consecutive world championships (2006 and 2007) for Olympic and Ironman distances. There was a lesser age-related decline in cycling performance (p<0.01) compared with running and swimming after 55 years of age for Olympic distance and after 50 years of age for Ironman distance. With advancing age, the performance decline was less pronounced (p<0.01) for Olympic than for Ironman triathlon in cycling (>55 years) and running (>50 years), respectively. In contrast, an age-related decline in swimming performance seemed independent of triathlon distance. The age-related decline in triathlon performance is specific to the discipline, with cycling showing less declines in performance with age than swimming and running. The magnitude of the declines in cycling and running performance at Ironman distance is greater than at Olympic distance, suggesting that task duration exerts an important influence on the magnitude of the age-associated changes in triathlon performance.

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