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Pacing strategies during the swim, cycle and run disciplines of sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman triathlons

Wu, S.S.X., Peiffer, J.J., Brisswalter, J., Nosaka, K., Lau, W.Y. and Abbiss, C.R. (2015) Pacing strategies during the swim, cycle and run disciplines of sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman triathlons. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 115 (5). pp. 1147-1154.

Link to Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00421-014-3096-2
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Abstract

Purpose
This study investigated the influence of distance on self-selected pacing during the swim, cycle and run disciplines of sprint, Olympic and half-Ironman (HIM) distance triathlon races.

Method
Eight trained male triathletes performed the three individual races in <2 months. Participants’ bikes were fitted with Schoberer Rad Meßtechnik to monitor speed, power output and heart rate during the cycle discipline. Global positioning system was worn to determine speed and heart rate during the swim and run disciplines.

Result
An even swim pacing strategy was adopted across all distances. A more stochastic pacing was observed during the HIM cycle [standard deviation of exposure variation analysis (EVASD) = 3.21 ± 0.61] when compared with the sprint cycle discipline (EVASD = 3.84 ± 0.44, p = 0.018). Only 20.9 ± 4.1 % of the cycling time was spent more than 10 % above the mean power output in the HIM, compared with 43.8 ± 2.9 % (p = 0.002) and 37.7 ± 11.1 % (p = 0.039) during the sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, respectively. Conversely, 13.6 ± 5.1 % of the cycling time was spent 5–10 % below the mean power output during the HIM, compared with 5.9 ± 1.2 % (p = 0.034) and 8.0 ± 5.1 % (p = 0.045) during the sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, respectively. A negative pacing strategy was adopted during the sprint distance run, compared with positive pacing strategy during the Olympic and HIM.

Conclusion
Results of this study suggest that pacing strategies during triathlon are highly influenced by distance and discipline, and highlight the importance of developing pacing strategies based on distance, strengths and individual fitness.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Springer Verlag
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/25021
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