Paratriathlete Mikel Garmendia, crossing the finish line (Photo: Inigo Mujika)

Paratriathlete Mikel Garmendia, crossing the finish line (Photo: Inigo Mujika)

Mujika IOrbañanos JSalazar H.


Paratriathlon will debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, but research documenting the physiological attributes and training practices of elite paratriathletes is lacking. This case study reports on the physiology and training of a Long Distance World Champion male paratriathlete (below the knee amputee) over 19 months. His body mass and skinfolds declined respectively by ≈4 kg and 30% in 2 months, and remained relatively constant thereafter. His swim test velocity increased by 4.4% over six months, but declined back to baseline thereafter. His absolute and relative cycling maximal aerobic power improved progressively by 21.8% and 32.6%, respectively. His power output at the individual lactate threshold (ILT) improved by 39.5% and 51.6%, and his power output at the onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) by 59.7% and 73.4%. His maximal running aerobic velocity improved by 12.8%, and his velocity at ILT and OBLA increased by 38.9% and 44.9%, respectively. Over 84 weeks he performed 813 training sessions (248 swim, 229 bike, 216 run, 120 strength), i.e. 10±3 sessions/week (mean±SD). Swim, bike and run volumes were 709 km (8±3 km/wk), 519 h (6±4 h/wk) and 164 h (2±1 h/wk). Training at intensities below ILT, between ILT and OBLA, and above OBLA for swim were 82%±3%, 14%±1%, 4.4±0.4%; bike 91%±3%, 6.2%±0.5%, 3.3%±0.3%; run 88%±1%, 8.0%±0.3%, 3.5%±0.1%. The training volume for each discipline was lower than previously reported for competitive able-bodied Olympic distance triathletes. He won the Long Distance World Championship in 8h 14min 47s, nearly 30 min faster than his nearest competitor.

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