Determinants of success during triathalon competition

Donald R. Dengel, Michael G. Flynn, David L. Costill, John P. Kirwan

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77 Scopus citations


Eleven male triathletes were studied to determine the relationships between selected metabolic measurements and triathlon performance. Measurements of oxygen uptake (V02), pulmonary ventilation (VE), and heart rate (HR) were made during submaximal and maximal 365.8 m freestyle swimming (FS), cycle ergometry (CE), and treadmill running (TR). Submaximal workloads were 1 mis for swimming, 200 W for cycling, and 2012 ml nun for running. The mean V02 max (Umin) was significantly (p <.05) lower during FS (4.17) than CE (4.68) or TR (4.81). Swimming, cycling, and running performance times during the Muncie Endurathon (12 mile swim, 56 mile cycle, 13.1 mile run) were not significantly related to the event-specific VO max (mllkglmin): -.49, -32 and -55, respectively. The VO2 max expressed in llmin was found to be significantly (p <.05) related to cycling time (r = -.70). A significant (p <.05) relationship was observed between submaximal V02 (mllkglmin) during TM and run performance time (r =.64), whereas swimming and cycling performance times were significantly (p <.05) related to submaximal V02 max (Umin), r =.72 and.60, respectively. The percentage ofV02 (%V02 max) used during the submaximal tests was significantly (p <.05) related to swimming (.91), cycling (.78), and running (.86) performance times. Time spent running and cycling during triathlon competition was significantly (p <.05) related to overall triathlon time, r = 97 and.81, respectively. However, swimming time was not significantly related (30) to overall triathlon time. This study suggests that economy of effort is an important determinant of triathlon performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-238
Number of pages5
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1989


  • Economy
  • Fractional utilization of aerobic capacity
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Triathlon


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