Tri-athletes are a class of sports men that require reserves of energy much similar to most other endurance activities. The switch through different sports demands more from an athlete’s body than a single sport.
The triathlon is a 3-event endurance sport in which athletes compete sequentially in swimming, cycling and running. The success of a tri-athlete depends on his ability to sustain high energy expenditure for prolonged periods of time. Vigorous exercise training-induced physiological adaptations in most of the body systems help the tri-athlete achieve this. Numerous studies have reported relatively high mean VO2max values for various groups of tri-athletes that are comparable to those reported for athletes in single-event endurance sports.
While a high VO2max in individuals is clearly of importance to triathlon performance, energy output must be sustained for long periods of time, making economy of motion also very important.
The economy of motion in swimming, cycling and running has all been found to be correlated with comparable event performance. Cardiovascular, metabolic and neuromuscular adaptations are the main physiological correlates of improved movement economy.