European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 88, Issue 4–5, pp 427–430 | Cite as

Physiological characteristics of elite short- and long-distance triathletes

  • Grégoire P. Millet
  • Patrick Dréano
  • David J. Bentley
Original Article


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 V˙O2max (ml kg–1 min–1), cycling economy (W l–1 min–1), peak power output (\( \dot W_{{\rm{peak}}} \) , W) and ventilatory threshold (%V˙O2max) 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 \( \dot W_{{\rm{peak}}} \) (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 \( \dot W_{{\rm{peak}}} \) (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.

Maximal oxygen uptake Energy cost Ventilatory threshold Triathlon Performance 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grégoire P. Millet
    • 1
  • Patrick Dréano
    • 2
  • David J. Bentley
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire 'Sport, Performance, Santé', Faculté des Sciences du Sport, 700 Avenue du pic Saint Loup, 34090, Montpellier, France
  2. 2.Fédération Française de Triathlon, 2 rue Justice, 93210 St Denis la Plaine, France
  3. 3.Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Bath University, Bath, BA2 7AY, United Kingdom

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