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Age-related changes in ultra-triathlon performances

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The age-related decline in performance has been investigated in swimmers, runners and triathletes. No study has investigated the age-related performance decline in ultra-triathletes. The purpose of this study was to analyse the age-related declines in swimming, cycling, running and overall race time for both Triple Iron ultra-triathlon (11.4-km swimming, 540-km cycling and 126.6-km running) and Deca Iron ultra-triathlon (38-km swimming, 1,800-km cycling and 420-km running). Methods The age and performances of 423 male Triple Iron ultra-triathletes and 119 male Deca Iron ultra-triathletes were analysed from 1992 to 2010 using regression analyses and ANOVA. Results The mean age of the finishers was significantly higher for Deca Iron ultra-triathletes (41.3 ± 3.1 years) compared to a Triple Iron ultra-triathletes (38.5 ± 3.3 years) ( P < 0.05). For both ultra-distances, the fastest overall race times were achieved between the ages of 25 and 44 years. Deca Iron ultra-triathletes achieved the same level of performance in swimming and cycling between 25 and 54 years of age. Conclusions The magnitudes of age-related declines in performance in the three disciplines of ultra-triathlon differ slightly between Triple and Deca Iron ultra-triathlon. Although the ages of Triple Iron ultra-triathletes were on average younger compared to Deca Iron ultra-triathletes, the fastest race times were achieved between 25 and 44 years for both distances. Further studies should investigate the motivation and training of ultra-triathletes to gain better insights in ultra-triathlon performance.
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Knechtleet al. Extreme Physiology & Medicine2012,1:5 http://www.extremephysiolmed.com/content/1/1/5
R E S E A R C H
Open Access
Agerelated changes in ultratriathlon performances 1,2* 2 1 2 3 Beat Knechtle , Christoph Alexander Rüst , Patrizia Knechtle , Thomas Rosemann and Romuald Lepers
Abstract Background:The agerelated decline in performance has been investigated in swimmers, runners and triathletes. No study has investigated the agerelated performance decline in ultratriathletes. The purpose of this study was to analyse the agerelated declines in swimming, cycling, running and overall race time for both Triple Iron ultratriathlon (11.4km swimming, 540km cycling and 126.6km running) and Deca Iron ultratriathlon (38km swimming, 1,800km cycling and 420km running). Methods:The age and performances of 423 male Triple Iron ultratriathletes and 119 male Deca Iron ultratriathletes were analysed from 1992 to 2010 using regression analyses and ANOVA. Results:The mean age of the finishers was significantly higher for Deca Iron ultratriathletes (41.3 years)± 3.1 compared to a Triple Iron ultratriathletes (38.5 ± 3.3 years) (P< 0.05). For both ultradistances, the fastest overall race times were achieved between the ages of 25 and 44 years. Deca Iron ultratriathletes achieved the same level of performance in swimming and cycling between 25 and 54 years of age. Conclusions:The magnitudes of agerelated declines in performance in the three disciplines of ultratriathlon differ slightly between Triple and Deca Iron ultratriathlon. Although the ages of Triple Iron ultratriathletes were on average younger compared to Deca Iron ultratriathletes, the fastest race times were achieved between 25 and 44 years for both distances. Further studies should investigate the motivation and training of ultratriathletes to gain better insights in ultratriathlon performance. Keywords:Swimming, Cycling, Running, Ultraendurance
Background In recent years, there has been an increased interest in investigating the effect of aging on endurance running performances [16]. Over the last decades, the participa tion of master athletes (>40 years old) has increased, espe cially in the longer run distances such as half marathons [2,3], marathons [13] and ultramarathons [710]. How ever, with increasing age, the endurance performance decreases. In general, the peak endurance performance is maintained until the age of 30 to 35 years, followed by a moderate decline until the age of 50 to 60 years, and then a progressively steeper decline after the age of 70 to 75
* Correspondence: beat.knechtle@hispeed.ch 1 Gesundheitszentrum St. Gallen, Vadianstrasse 26, St., Gallen 9011, Switzerland 2 Institute of General Practice and Health Services Research, University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 71, Zurich 8006, Switzerland Full list of author information is available at the end of the article
years, independent of the length of the performance and the kind of the discipline [26,1116]. Considering the agerelated decline in male ultra endurance athletes, Hoffman investigated ultramarathoners competing over 161 kilometres [79]. Beyond the age of 30 to 39 years, the average finishing times increased linearly with increasing age. The 30 to 39yearold males showed the fastest races times, with athletes in younger and older age groups being slower. The 40 to 49year age group was approximately 4.0% slower than the 30 to 39 years one [8]. In another study of 161km ultra marathoners, performance of the athletes in the 40 to 49year age group was no different from the performance of the athletes in the < 30 and the 30 to 39year age groups [9]. Both the moderate decline in running per formance and the large number of successful master ath letes suggest that master athletes are able to maintain a high degree of physiological performance with increasing
© 2012 Knechtle et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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