Special Issue "Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art"

A special issue of Sports (ISSN 2075-4663).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Veronica Vleck
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
FCT Research Fellow (SFRH/BPD/104394/2014). CIPER, Faculdade de Motricidade Humana (FMH), University of Lisbon, Portugal
Tel. (int + 351) 214149174
Interests: medical support; elites; training; health in triathletes both across the lifespan and vs. their sedentary age-matched peers; training adaptation; training diary based predictive models that can be used to minimize the occurrence of non-functional overreaching; injury and illness; pacing
Prof. Maria Francesca Piacentini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Rome "Foro Italico"
Tel. (int + 39) 06-36733245
Interests: training monitoring; elite athletes; endurance athletes (open water swimmers, triathletes and runners) functional and non-functional overreaching; overtraining prevention
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. David Hoeden
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Karl-Franzens University, Graz, Austria
Tel. (int + 043) 6767875198
Interests: training; health in triathletes; overuse injuries; maladaptation due to extrinsic factors; the status of the shoulder in sports

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue aims to presents some of the latest findings at the cutting edge of all aspects of triathlon health and performance. The idea arose from round table discussions on how to optimise training and performance that took place between some of the best coaches, medics, sports physiologists, researchers and athletes in the sport when they met in Lisbon in 2017. We aim to bring together a collection of papers that will act as a spur to the instigation and expansion of collaborative research projects that have the potential to improve applied practice in our sport. The key topics for which we invite paper submissions are:

  • Triathlon health in training and or competition (health evaluation, event medical care, open water swimming, heat acclimation).
  • Training and risk factors for maladaptation (as evidenced by injury, illness, and non functional overreaching and or performance stagnation)- including how it may change with athlete age, ability level and event distance specialisation.
  • Optimising training and race preparation- at the cutting edge (preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games, what can scientists tell coaches, what can coaches tell scientist, what do athletes want, how technology can change the game e.g. as regards research into the aetiology and prediction of maladaptation).

Although this Special Issue of Sports focuses on triathlon, the papers contained within it should also prove relevant both to its component sports and to the optimisation of performance and health in endurance sports in general.

Dr. Veronica Vleck
Prof. Maria Francesca Piacentini
Dr. David Hoeden
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sports is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • training
  • maladaptation
  • monitoring
  • injury
  • illness
  • non-functional overreaching
  • predictive analytics
  • medical
  • Big data
  • neural networks

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Core Temperature in Triathletes during Swimming with Wetsuit in 10 °C Cold Water
Sports 2019, 7(6), 130; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060130 - 28 May 2019
Abstract
Low water temperature (<15 °C) has been faced by many organizers of triathlons and swim-runs in the northern part of Europe during recent years. More knowledge about how cold water affects athletes swimming in wetsuits in cold water is warranted. The aim of [...] Read more.
Low water temperature (<15 °C) has been faced by many organizers of triathlons and swim-runs in the northern part of Europe during recent years. More knowledge about how cold water affects athletes swimming in wetsuits in cold water is warranted. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate the physiological response when swimming a full Ironman distance (3800 m) in a wetsuit in 10 °C water. Twenty triathletes, 37.6 ± 9 years (12 males and 8 females) were recruited to perform open water swimming in 10 °C seawater; while rectal temperature (Tre) and skin temperature (Tskin) were recorded. The results showed that for all participants, Tre was maintained for the first 10–15 min of the swim; and no participants dropped more than 2 °C in Tre during the first 30 min of swimming in 10 °C water. However; according to extrapolations of the results, during a swim time above 135 min; 47% (8/17) of the participants in the present study would fall more than 2 °C in Tre during the swim. The results show that the temperature response to swimming in a wetsuit in 10 °C water is highly individual. However, no participant in the present study dropped more than 2 °C in Tre during the first 30 min of the swim in 10 °C water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
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Open AccessArticle
Effectiveness of Manual Therapy, Customised Foot Orthoses and Combined Therapy in the Management of Plantar Fasciitis—A RCT
Sports 2019, 7(6), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060128 - 28 May 2019
Abstract
Background: Plantar fasciitis (PF) is one of the most common causes of plantar heel pain. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of three different treatment approaches in the management of PF. Methods: Sixty-three patients (44 female, 19 men; 48.4 ± 9.8 years) were randomly [...] Read more.
Background: Plantar fasciitis (PF) is one of the most common causes of plantar heel pain. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of three different treatment approaches in the management of PF. Methods: Sixty-three patients (44 female, 19 men; 48.4 ± 9.8 years) were randomly assigned into a manual therapy (MT), customised foot orthosis (FO) and a combined therapy (combined) group. The primary outcomes of pain and function were evaluated using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society-Ankle Hindfoot Scale (AOFAS-AHS) and the patient reported outcome measure (PROM) Foot Pain and Function Scale (FPFS). Data were evaluated at baseline (T0) and at follow-up sessions after 1 month, 2 months and 3 months (T1–T3). Results: All three treatments showed statistically significant (p < 0.01) improvements in both scales from T0 to T1. However, the MT group showed greater improvements than both other groups (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Manual therapy, customised foot orthoses and combined treatments of PF all reduced pain and function, with the greatest benefits shown by isolated manual therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Cycling on Subsequent Running Performance, Stride Length, and Muscle Oxygen Saturation in Triathletes
Sports 2019, 7(5), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050115 - 16 May 2019
Abstract
Running performance is a determinant factor for victory in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon. Previous cycling may impair running performance in triathlons, so brick training becomes an important part of training. Wearable technology that is used by triathletes can offer several metrics for [...] Read more.
Running performance is a determinant factor for victory in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon. Previous cycling may impair running performance in triathlons, so brick training becomes an important part of training. Wearable technology that is used by triathletes can offer several metrics for optimising training in real-time. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of previous cycling on subsequent running performance in a field test, while using kinematics metrics and SmO2 provided by wearable devices that are potentially used by triathletes. Ten trained triathletes participated in a randomised crossover study, performing two trial sessions that were separated by seven days: the isolated run trial (IRT) and the bike-run trial (BRT). Running kinematics, physiological outcomes, and perceptual parameters were assessed before and after each running test. The running distance was significantly lower in the BRT when compared to the IRT, with a decrease in stride length of 0.1 m (p = 0.00) and higher %SmO2 (p = 0.00) in spite of the maximal intensity of exercise. No effects were reported in vertical oscillation, ground contact time, running cadence, and average heart rate. These findings may only be relevant to ‘moderate level’ triathletes, but not to ‘elite’ ones. Triathletes might monitor their %SmO2 and stride length during brick training and then compare it with isolated running to evaluate performance changes. Using wearable technology (near-infrared spectroscopy, accelerometry) for specific brick training may be a good option for triathletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
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Open AccessCommunication
The Rise of Elite Short-Course Triathlon Re-Emphasises the Necessity to Transition Efficiently from Cycling to Running
Sports 2019, 7(5), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050099 - 29 Apr 2019
Abstract
Transitioning efficiently between cycling and running is considered an indication of overall performance, and as a result the cycle–run (C–R) transition is one of the most researched areas of triathlon. Previous studies have thoroughly investigated the impact of prior cycling on running performance. [...] Read more.
Transitioning efficiently between cycling and running is considered an indication of overall performance, and as a result the cycle–run (C–R) transition is one of the most researched areas of triathlon. Previous studies have thoroughly investigated the impact of prior cycling on running performance. However, with the increasing number of short-course events and the inclusion of the mixed relay at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, efficiently transitioning from cycle–run has been re-emphasised and with it, any potential limitations to running performance among elite triathletes. This short communication provides coaches and sports scientists a review of the literature detailing the negative effects of prior variable-cycling on running performance experienced among elite, short-course and Olympic distance triathletes; as well as discussing practical methods to minimise any negative impact of cycling on running performance. The current literature suggests that variable-cycling negatively effects running ability in at least some elite triathletes and that improving swimming performance, drafting during cycling and C–R training at race intensity could improve an athlete’s triathlon running performance. It is recommended that future research clearly define the performance level, competitive format of the experimental population and use protocols that are specific to the experimental population in order to improve the training and practical application of the research findings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
Open AccessArticle
Cross-Sectional Investigation of Stress Fractures in German Elite Triathletes
Sports 2019, 7(4), 88; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7040088 - 15 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Triathlon is a popular sport for both recreational and competitive athletes. This study investigated the rates and patterns of stress fractures in the German national triathlon squad. We developed a web-based retrospective questionnaire containing questions about the frequency of stress fractures, anatomic localisation [...] Read more.
Triathlon is a popular sport for both recreational and competitive athletes. This study investigated the rates and patterns of stress fractures in the German national triathlon squad. We developed a web-based retrospective questionnaire containing questions about the frequency of stress fractures, anatomic localisation and associated risk factors. The survey was conducted as an explorative cross-sectional study. Eighty-six athletes completed the questionnaire. Twenty athletes (23%) sustained at least one stress fracture. All documented stress fractures were located in the lower extremities. Factors associated with a higher risk for stress fractures were female gender, competitive sport prior to triathlon career, Vitamin D or iron deficiency, menstrual disturbances and a high number of annual training hours. Disseminating knowledge among athletes and their professional community in order to raise awareness about early symptoms and relevant risk factors could help to improve prevention and reduce the incidence of stress fractures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
Open AccessArticle
Is the Bike Segment of Modern Olympic Triathlon More a Transition towards Running in Males than It Is in Females?
Sports 2019, 7(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7040076 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In 2009, the International Triathlon Union created a new triathlon race format: The World Triathlon Series (WTS), for which only athletes with a top 100 world ranking are eligible. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of the three [...] Read more.
In 2009, the International Triathlon Union created a new triathlon race format: The World Triathlon Series (WTS), for which only athletes with a top 100 world ranking are eligible. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the influence of the three disciplines on performance within all the WTS Olympic distance races within two Olympic cycles, and to determine whether their relative contribution changed over the years. Methods: For each of a total of 44 races, final race time and position as well as split times (and positions), and summed time (and position) at each point of the race were collected and included in the analysis. Athletes were divided into 4 groups according to their final race placing (G1: 1st–3rd place; G2: 4–8th place; G3: 8–16th place and G4: ≥17th place). Two-way multivariate ANOVAs were conducted to compare the main effects of years and rank groups. For females, there were significant differences in the swim and bike segment only between G4 and the other groups (p range from 0.001–0.029), whilst for the run segment each group differed significantly from each other (p < 0.001). For males, there were significant differences in swim only between G4 and the other groups (p range from 0.001–0.039), whilst for the running segment each group differed significantly from the others (p < 0.001). Although we found running to be the segment where there were significant differences between performance groups, it is apparently important for overall success that a good runner be positioned with the first cycling pack. However, bike splits were not different between either of the four male groups or between the first 3 groups of the females. At this very high level of performance, at least in the males, the bike leg seems to be a smooth transition towards running. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Accelerating Recovery from Exercise-Induced Muscle Injuries in Triathletes: Considerations for Olympic Distance Races
Sports 2019, 7(6), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060143 - 13 Jun 2019
Abstract
The triathlon is one of the fastest developing sports in the world due to expanding participation and media attention. The fundamental change in Olympic triathlon races from a single to a multistart event is highly demanding in terms of recovery from and prevention [...] Read more.
The triathlon is one of the fastest developing sports in the world due to expanding participation and media attention. The fundamental change in Olympic triathlon races from a single to a multistart event is highly demanding in terms of recovery from and prevention of exercise-induced muscle injures. In elite and competitive sports, ultrastructural muscle injuries, including delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), are responsible for impaired muscle performance capacities. Prevention and treatment of these conditions have become key in regaining muscular performance levels and to guarantee performance and economy of motion in swimming, cycling and running. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the current findings on the pathophysiology, as well as treatment and prevention of, these conditions in compliance with clinical implications for elite triathletes. In the context of DOMS, the majority of recovery interventions have focused on different protocols of compression, cold or heat therapy, active regeneration, nutritional interventions, or sleep. The authors agree that there is a compelling need for further studies, including high-quality randomized trials, to completely evaluate the effectiveness of existing therapeutic approaches, particularly in triathletes. The given recommendations must be updated and adjusted, as further evidence emerges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
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Open AccessReview
Training and Competition Readiness in Triathlon
Sports 2019, 7(5), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7050101 - 29 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Triathlon is characterized by the multidisciplinary nature of the sport where swimming, cycling, and running are completed sequentially in different events, such as the sprint, Olympic, long-distance, and Ironman formats. The large number of training sessions and overall volume undertaken by triathletes to [...] Read more.
Triathlon is characterized by the multidisciplinary nature of the sport where swimming, cycling, and running are completed sequentially in different events, such as the sprint, Olympic, long-distance, and Ironman formats. The large number of training sessions and overall volume undertaken by triathletes to improve fitness and performance can also increase the risk of injury, illness, or excessive fatigue. Short- and medium-term individualized training plans, periodization strategies, and work/rest balance are necessary to minimize interruptions to training due to injury, illness, or maladaptation. Even in the absence of health and wellbeing concerns, it is unclear whether cellular signals triggered by multiple training stimuli that drive training adaptations each day interfere with each other. Distribution of training intensity within and between different sessions is an important aspect of training. Both internal (perceived stress) and external loads (objective metrics) should be considered when monitoring training load. Incorporating strength training to complement the large body of endurance work in triathlon can help avoid overuse injuries. We explore emerging trends and strategies from the latest literature and evidence-based knowledge for improving training readiness and performance during competition in triathlon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)

Other

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Open AccessCase Report
Late-Presenting Swimming-Induced Pulmonary Edema: A Case Report Series from the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon
Sports 2019, 7(6), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7060137 - 03 Jun 2019
Abstract
Swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE) may develop during strenuous physical exertion in water. This case series reports on three cases of suspected late-presenting SIPE during the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. A 30-year-old male professional (PRO) triathlete, a 40-year-old female AGE GROUP triathlete and a 34-year-old [...] Read more.
Swimming-induced pulmonary edema (SIPE) may develop during strenuous physical exertion in water. This case series reports on three cases of suspected late-presenting SIPE during the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. A 30-year-old male professional (PRO) triathlete, a 40-year-old female AGE GROUP triathlete and a 34-year-old male AGE GROUP triathlete presented with shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing up pink sputum during the last part of the bike phase. All three athletes reported an improvement in breathing during the first major uphill of the bike phase and increasing symptoms during the downhill. The PRO athlete had a thoracic computed tomography, and the scan showed bilateral ground glass opacity in the peripheral lungs. The male AGE GROUP athlete had a normal chest x-ray. Both athletes were admitted for further observation and discharged from hospital the following day, with complete regression of symptoms. The female athlete recovered quickly following pre-hospital oxygen treatment. Non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema associated with endurance sports is rare but potentially very dangerous. Knowledge and awareness of possible risk factors and symptoms are essential, and the results presented in this report emphasize the importance of being aware of the possible delayed development of symptoms. To determine the presence of pulmonary edema elicited by strenuous exercise, equipment for measuring oxygen saturation should be available for the medical staff on site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maximising Triathlon Health and Performance: the State of the Art)
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