The Effects of a Duathlon Simulation on Ventilatory Threshold and Running Economy


Multisport events continue to grow in popularity among recreational, amateur, and professional athletes around the world. This study aimed to determine the compounding effects of the initial run and cycling legs of an International Triathlon Union (ITU) Duathlon simulation on maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), ventilatory threshold (VT) and running economy (RE) within a thermoneutral, laboratory controlled setting. Seven highly trained multisport athletes completed three trials; Trial-1 consisted of a speed only VO2maxtreadmill protocol (SOVO2max) to determine VO2max, VT, and RE during a single-bout run; Trial-2 consisted of a 10 km run at 98% of VT followed by an incremental VO2max test on the cycle ergometer; Trial-3 consisted of a 10 km run and 30 km cycling bout at 98% of VT followed by a speed only treadmill test to determine the compounding effects of the initial legs of a duathlon on VO2max, VT, and RE. A repeated measures ANOVA was performed to determine differences between variables across trials. No difference in VO2max, VT (%VO2max), maximal HR, or maximal RPE was observed across trials. Oxygen consumption at VT was significantly lower during Trial-3 compared to Trial-1 (p = 0.01). This decrease was coupled with a significant reduction in running speed at VT (p = 0.015). A significant interaction between trial and running speed indicate that RE was significantly altered during Trial-3 compared to Trial-1 (p < 0.001). The first two legs of a laboratory based duathlon simulation negatively impact VT and RE. Our findings may provide a useful method to evaluate multisport athletes since a single-bout incremental treadmill test fails to reveal important alterations in physiological thresholds.

Key points

  • Decrease in relative oxygen uptake at VT (ml·kg-1·min-1) during the final leg of a duathlon simulation, compared to a single-bout maximal run.
  • We observed a decrease in running speed at VT during the final leg of a duathlon simulation; resulting in an increase of more than 2 minutes to complete a 5 km run.
  • During our study, highly trained athletes were unable to complete the final 5 km run at the same intensity that they completed the initial 10 km run (in a laboratory setting).
  • A better understanding, and determination, of training loads during multisport training may help to better periodize training programs; additional research is required.
Key words: Multisport, sport performance, endurance, exercise prescription 

Autor / Fonte:Nathaniel T Berry, Laurie Wideman, Edgar W Shields, Claudio L Battaglini Journal of Sports Science & Medicine 2016, 15 (2): 247-53