## Discovering the sluggishness of triathlon running : using the attractor method to quantify the impact of the bike-run transition

2022
Journal article
Published
##### Published in
Frontiers in Sports and Active Living ; 4 (2022). - 1065741. - Frontiers Media. - eISSN 2624-9367
##### Abstract
Running in a triathlon, a so-called brick run, is uniquely influenced by accumulated load from its preceding disciplines. Crucially, however, and irrespective of race type, the demands of a triathlon always exceed the sum of its parts. Triathletes of all levels commonly report subjectively perceived incoordination within the initial stages of the cycle run transition (T2). Although minimizing it, and its influence on running kinematics, can positively impact running and overall triathlon performance, the mechanisms behind the T2 effect remain unclear. In the present study, we assessed the influence of the pre-load exercise mode focusing on the biomechanical perspective. To analyze inertial sensor-based raw data from both legs, the so-called Attractor Method was applied. The latter represents a sensitive approach, allowing to quantify subtle changes of cyclic motions to uncover the transient effect, a potentially detrimental transient phase at the beginning of a run. The purpose was to analyze the impact of a pre-load on the biomechanics of a brick run during a simulated Olympic Distance triathlon (without the swimming section). Therefore, we assessed the influence of pre-load exercise mode on running pattern (δM) and precision (δD), and on the length of the transient effect (tT) within a 10 km field-based run in 22 well-trained triathletes. We found that δD, but not δM, differed significantly between an isolated run (IRun) and when it was preceded by a 40 km cycle (TRun) or an energetically matched run (RRun). The average distance ran until overcoming the transient phase (tT) was 679 m for TRun, 450 m for RRun, and 29 4 m for IRun. The results demonstrated that especially the first kilometer of a triathlon run is prone to an uncoordinated running sensation, which is also commonly reported by athletes. That is, i) the T2 effect appeared more linked to variability in running style than to running style per se ii) run tT distance was influenced by preceding exercise load mode, being greater for a TRun than for the RRun condition, and iii) the Attractor Method seemed to be a potentially promising method of sensitively monitoring T2 adaptation under ecologically valid conditions.
796 Sport
##### Cite This
ISO 690WEICH, Christian, Valentin BARTH, Nikolai KILLER, Veronica VLECK, Julian ERICH, Tobias TREIBER, 2022. Discovering the sluggishness of triathlon running : using the attractor method to quantify the impact of the bike-run transition. In: Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. Frontiers Media. 4, 1065741. eISSN 2624-9367. Available under: doi: 10.3389/fspor.2022.1065741
BibTex
@article{Weich2022-12-16Disco-59766,
year={2022},
doi={10.3389/fspor.2022.1065741},
title={Discovering the sluggishness of triathlon running : using the attractor method to quantify the impact of the bike-run transition},
volume={4},
journal={Frontiers in Sports and Active Living},
author={Weich, Christian and Barth, Valentin and Killer, Nikolai and Vleck, Veronica and Erich, Julian and Treiber, Tobias},
note={Article Number: 1065741}
}

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<dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Running in a triathlon, a so-called brick run, is uniquely influenced by accumulated load from its preceding disciplines. Crucially, however, and irrespective of race type, the demands of a triathlon always exceed the sum of its parts. Triathletes of all levels commonly report subjectively perceived incoordination within the initial stages of the cycle run transition (T2). Although minimizing it, and its influence on running kinematics, can positively impact running and overall triathlon performance, the mechanisms behind the T2 effect remain unclear. In the present study, we assessed the influence of the pre-load exercise mode focusing on the biomechanical perspective. To analyze inertial sensor-based raw data from both legs, the so-called Attractor Method was applied. The latter represents a sensitive approach, allowing to quantify subtle changes of cyclic motions to uncover the transient effect, a potentially detrimental transient phase at the beginning of a run. The purpose was to analyze the impact of a pre-load on the biomechanics of a brick run during a simulated Olympic Distance triathlon (without the swimming section). Therefore, we assessed the influence of pre-load exercise mode on running pattern (δM) and precision (δD), and on the length of the transient effect (t&lt;sub&gt;T&lt;/sub&gt;) within a 10 km field-based run in 22 well-trained triathletes. We found that δD, but not δM, differed significantly between an isolated run (I&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt;) and when it was preceded by a 40 km cycle (T&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt;) or an energetically matched run (R&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt;). The average distance ran until overcoming the transient phase (t&lt;sub&gt;T&lt;/sub&gt;) was 679 m for T&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt;, 450 m for R&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt;, and 29 4 m for I&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt;. The results demonstrated that especially the first kilometer of a triathlon run is prone to an uncoordinated running sensation, which is also commonly reported by athletes. That is, i) the T2 effect appeared more linked to variability in running style than to running style per se ii) run tT distance was influenced by preceding exercise load mode, being greater for a T&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt; than for the R&lt;sub&gt;Run&lt;/sub&gt; condition, and iii) the Attractor Method seemed to be a potentially promising method of sensitively monitoring T2 adaptation under ecologically valid conditions.</dcterms:abstract>
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