Age-related changes in conventional road versus off-road triathlon performance



Publication Details

Lepers, R. & Stapley, P. J. (2011). Age-related changes in conventional road versus off-road triathlon performance. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111 (8), 1687-1694.


The aims of this study were: (i) to analyze agerelated declines in swimming, cycling, and running performances for road-based and off-road triathlons, and (ii) to compare age-related changes in these three disciplines between road-based and off-road triathlons. Swimming, cycling, running and total time performances of the top five males between 20 and 70 years of age (in 5-year intervals) were analyzed for short distance road-based (1.5 km swim, 40 km cycle, and 10 km run) and off-road (1.5 km swim, 30 km mountain bike, and 11 km trail run) triathlons at the 2009 World Championships. Independently of age, there was a lesser age-related decline in cycling performance (P\0.01) compared to running and swimming for roadbased triathlon. In contrast, age-related decline did not differ between the three locomotion modes for off-road triathlon. With advancing age, the performance decline was less pronounced (P\0.01) for road-based than for off-road triathlon in swimming (C65 years), cycling (C50 years), running (C60 years), and total event (C55 years) times, respectively. These results suggest that the rate of the decline in performance for off-road triathlon is greater than for road-based triathlon, indicating that the type of discipline (road vs. mountain bike cycling and road vs. trail running) exerts an important influence on the magnitude of the age-associated changes in triathlon performance. Keywords Master athlete Swimming Cycling Mountain biking Running Xterra

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