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Ultra‐triathlon—Pacing, performance trends, the role of nationality, and sex differences in finishers and non‐finishers


Sousa, Caio Victor; Nikolaidis, Pantelis Theodoros; Knechtle, Beat (2019). Ultra‐triathlon—Pacing, performance trends, the role of nationality, and sex differences in finishers and non‐finishers. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports:sms.13598.

Abstract

Ultra-triathlons are defined as triathlons longer than the traditional Ironman distance and became more popular in the last two decades; however, scarce scientific evidence of these events are available. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the trends of performance, pacing, nationality, sex differences, and rate of non-finishers in ultra-triathlons. Data from 1985 to 2018 were collected including Double Iron, Triple Iron, Quintuple Iron, and Deca Iron ultra-triathlons. Different pacing patterns by event and sex were observed (P < .05); athletes spent less %time in swimming and cycling, and more %time in running as the distance of event was longer; women spent more %time in cycling and less% time in running in Double and Triple. Performance analysis showed a negative trend over time for men and women since 1985. Switzerland, France, and Germany were the fastest nations in ultra-triathlons. The frequency of North Americans competing in Europe was very low (<5%), whereas Europeans often competed in North America (~25%). The rate of non-finishers between sexes was similar in all races with the exception of Deca Iron ultra-triathlon, which was much greater (~20%) for women. Non-finishers had slower race times in swimming and cycling splits than finishers. In conclusion, ultra-triathletes should redistribute their energy among swimming, cycling, and running depending on their sex and distance of race. Performance in ultra-triathlons has been decreasing in men and women over the years, but sex difference in performance remained. Europeans were the fastest ultra-triathletes and compete in Europe and North America. Additionally, non-finishers were slower swimmers and cyclists than finishers.

Abstract

Ultra-triathlons are defined as triathlons longer than the traditional Ironman distance and became more popular in the last two decades; however, scarce scientific evidence of these events are available. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the trends of performance, pacing, nationality, sex differences, and rate of non-finishers in ultra-triathlons. Data from 1985 to 2018 were collected including Double Iron, Triple Iron, Quintuple Iron, and Deca Iron ultra-triathlons. Different pacing patterns by event and sex were observed (P < .05); athletes spent less %time in swimming and cycling, and more %time in running as the distance of event was longer; women spent more %time in cycling and less% time in running in Double and Triple. Performance analysis showed a negative trend over time for men and women since 1985. Switzerland, France, and Germany were the fastest nations in ultra-triathlons. The frequency of North Americans competing in Europe was very low (<5%), whereas Europeans often competed in North America (~25%). The rate of non-finishers between sexes was similar in all races with the exception of Deca Iron ultra-triathlon, which was much greater (~20%) for women. Non-finishers had slower race times in swimming and cycling splits than finishers. In conclusion, ultra-triathletes should redistribute their energy among swimming, cycling, and running depending on their sex and distance of race. Performance in ultra-triathlons has been decreasing in men and women over the years, but sex difference in performance remained. Europeans were the fastest ultra-triathletes and compete in Europe and North America. Additionally, non-finishers were slower swimmers and cyclists than finishers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of General Practice
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Health Sciences > Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
Uncontrolled Keywords:Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Language:English
Date:26 November 2019
Deposited On:13 Jan 2020 08:42
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 12:22
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0905-7188
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13598
PubMed ID:31715049

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