Background: In order to study the effect of a competitive triathlon season on maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), aerobic power (AeP) and anaerobic performance (AnP) of the lower limbs, eight triathletes performed exercise tests after: (1) a pre-competition period (Pre-COMP) (2) a competitive period (COMP), and (3) a low (volume and intensity) training period (Post-COMP). The tests were a vertical jump-and-reach test and an incremental exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Ventilatory data were collected every minute during the incremental test with an automated breath-by-breath system and the heart-rate was monitored using a telemetric system.
Results: No changes in VO2max were observed, whereas AeP decreased after Post-COMP compared to Pre-COMP and COMP and AnP decreased during COMP compared to Pre-COMP and Post-COMP. In addition, second ventilatory threshold (VT2) and power output at first ventilatory threshold (VT1) and VT2 decreased after Post-COMP.
Conclusion: This study showed that six weeks of low volume and intensity of training is too long a period to preserve adaptations to training, although a stable maximal oxygen uptake throughout the triathlon season was observed. Moreover, the AnP decrease during COMP was probably in relation with the repetitive nature of the training mode and/or triathlon competitions.