Effects of cycling on subsequent running performance, stride length, and muscle oxygen saturation in triathletes

Guillermo Olcina*, Miguel Ángel Perez-Sousa, Juan Antonio Escobar-Alvarez, Rafael Timón

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)


Running performance is a determinant factor for victory in Sprint and Olympic distance triathlon. Previous cycling may impair running performance in triathlons, so brick training becomes an important part of training. Wearable technology that is used by triathletes can offer several metrics for optimising training in real-time. The aim of this study was to analyse the effect of previous cycling on subsequent running performance in a field test, while using kinematics metrics and SmO2 provided by wearable devices that are potentially used by triathletes. Ten trained triathletes participated in a randomised crossover study, performing two trial sessions that were separated by seven days: the isolated run trial (IRT) and the bike-run trial (BRT). Running kinematics, physiological outcomes, and perceptual parameters were assessed before and after each running test. The running distance was significantly lower in the BRT when compared to the IRT, with a decrease in stride length of 0.1 m (p = 0.00) and higher %SmO2 (p = 0.00) in spite of the maximal intensity of exercise. No effects were reported in vertical oscillation, ground contact time, running cadence, and average heart rate. These findings may only be relevant to ‘moderate level’ triathletes, but not to ‘elite’ ones. Triathletes might monitor their %SmO2 and stride length during brick training and then compare it with isolated running to evaluate performance changes. Using wearable technology (near-infrared spectroscopy, accelerometry) for specific brick training may be a good option for triathletes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number115
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • SmO2
  • wearable
  • stride length
  • monitoring
  • NIRS


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