Running Your Best Triathlon Race

Naroa Etxebarria, Jackson Wright, Hamish Alexander Jeacocke, Cristian Mesquida, David Pyne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Negative or evenly paced racing strategies often lead to more favorable performance 37 outcomes for endurance athletes. However, casual inspection of race split times and 38 observational studies both indicate that elite triathletes competing in Olympic distance 39 triathlon typically implement a positive pacing strategy during the last of the three 40 disciplines, the 10 km run. To address this apparent contradiction, we examined data 41 from 14 International Triathlon Union (ITU) elite races over three consecutive years 42 involving a total of 725 male athletes. Analyses of race results confirm that triathletes 43 typically implement a positive running pace strategy, running the first lap of the standard 44 four lap circuit substantially faster than laps 2 (~7%), 3 (~9%) and 4 (~12 %). 45 Interestingly, mean running pace in lap 1 had a substantially lower correlation with 10 46 km run time (r=0.82) than both laps 2 and 3. Overall triathlon race performance (ranking) 47 was best associated with run performance (r=0.82) compared to the swim and cycle 48 sections. Lower variability in race pace during the 10 km run was also reflective of more 49 successful run times. Given that overall race outcome is mainly explained by the 10 km 50 run performance, with top run performances associated with a more evenly paced pacing 51 strategy, triathletes (and their coaches) should re-evaluate their pacing strategy during the 52 run section.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-747
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


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