Running performance, not anthropometric factors, is associated with race success in a Triple Iron Triathlon

B Knechtle
June 2009
British Journal of Sports Medicine;Jun2009, Vol. 43 Issue 6, p437
Academic Journal
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the influence of anthropometric parameters on race performance in ultra-endurance triathletes. DESIGN: Descriptive field study. SETTING: The Triple Iron Triathlon Germany 2006 in Lensahn over 11.6 km swimming, 540 km cycling and 126.6 km running. SUBJECTS: 17 male Caucasian triathletes (mean (SD) 39.2 (7.5) years, 80.7 (8.9) kg, 178 (5) cm, BMI 25.4 (2.4) kg/m2). INTERVENTIONS: None. MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS: Determination of body mass, body height, skin fold thicknesses, circumferences of extremities, as well as calculation of body mass index (BMI), skeletal muscle mass (SM), per cent SM (%SM) and per cent body fat (%BF) in order to correlate measured and calculated anthropometric parameters with race performance. RESULTS: Body mass, body height, skin fold thicknesses, circumferences of extremities, BMI, %SM and %BF had no effect (p>0.05) on race performance. No significant correlation (p>0.05) was observed between total race time and any of the directly measured and calculated anthropometric properties. A significant correlation (p<0.05) was observed between total race time and both running time (r2= 0.87) and cycling time (r2= 0.62). In contrast, no significant correlation (p>0.05) was shown between swimming time and total race time. CONCLUSIONS: There is no significant association between anthropometric parameters and race performance in ultra-endurance triathletes. Running performance rather than cycling performance seems to be the most important factor in order to be successful in a Triple Iron Triathlon. Swimming performance seems to be of low importance.


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