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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2003 Jan;88(4-5):427-30. Epub 2002 Nov 19.

Physiological characteristics of elite short- and long-distance triathletes.

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Laboratoire Sport, Performance, Santé, Faculté des Sciences du Sport, 700 Avenue du pic Saint Loup, 34090 Montpellier, France.


The purpose of this study was to compare the physiological responses in cycling and running of elite short-distance (ShD) and long-distance (LD) triathletes. Fifteen elite male triathletes participating in the World Championships were divided into two groups (ShD and LD) and performed a laboratory trial that comprised submaximal treadmill running, maximal then submaximal ergometry cycling and then an additional submaximal run. "In situ" best ShD triathlon performances were also analysed for each athlete. ShD demonstrated a significantly faster swim time than LD whereas .VO(2max) (ml kg(-1) min(-1)), cycling economy (W l(-1) min(-1)), peak power output (.W(peak),W) and ventilatory threshold (%.VO(2max)) were all similar between ShD and LD. Moreover, there were no differences between the two groups in the change (%) in running economy from the first to the second running bout. Swimming time was correlated to .W(peak)(r=-0.76; P<0.05) and economy ( r=-0.89; P<0.01) in the ShD athletes. Also, cycling time in the triathlon was correlated to .W(peak)(r=-0.83; P<0.05) in LD. In conclusion, ShD triathletes had a faster swimming time but did not exhibit different maximal or submaximal physiological characteristics measured in cycling and running than LD triathletes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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