Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Factors Impacting Ironman Triathlon Performance

December 8, 2015

As the triathlon off season carries forward into the Spring athletes should be focused on the evaluation, treatment, and/or prevention of last season’s nagging injuries.  Specifically, athletes competing in Triathlon should see a reduction in their endurance training and a corresponding increase in weight training.  The additional time placed on weight training in the off season will lead to fewer injuries and improved performance come Spring.  In addition to resistance training a recent article was published examining factors shown to impact future Ironman performance. 

Knechtle et al. and colleagues published a review article in the Journal of Sports Medicine examining predictor variables shown to be associated with a successful completion of a future triathlon (2015).  After examining the available evidence the authors broke the predictor variables into the following categories: age, prior experience, an athlete’s sex, training, anthropometry, and origin.  The most important predictor of a faster time in the Ironman competition was an athlete’s age.  Male and female athletes between the age of 30-35 years old demonstrated a strong correlation with successful times during the race.  In addition, a previous fast marathon time, a high volume of training and speed work, low body fat %, and an origin from the United States were also associated with a successful finish.  The authors suggest athletes and coaches should plan a transition from sprint to full distance triathlons to maximize factors such as age, training, and prior triathlon experience.