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For anyone who has participated in a triathlon, the feelings accompanying the cycle to run transition (T2 transition) will be all too familiar and painful. For the elite and juniors, the difference between success or failure at this adaptation may well determine the overall results in a race.
The authors have covered this topic comprehensively and detail factors that may contribute to the increased energy cost of running after cycling when compared with control running. No research to date has looked at those triathletes who spend very little time in T2 transition and compared their energy cost for running with those that spend longer in T2 transition. Whether they are better adapted, and run faster, or gain time by a faster transition is unclear, but the authors show that they race faster.
The authors emphasise that economy of effort in the cycle section of a drafting legal race will minimise the stochastic power output. This necessitates the triathlete riding near to the front of the pack of cyclists. Drafting behind the lead cyclists confers an energy saving, but the ideal position should not be too far back in the pack, so avoiding excessive braking at corners and hence a rise in the stochastic power output. Being “pack wise” is important then for energy conservation and will influence the physiological changes required for commencing the run.
Neurosensory, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and psychological habituation to T2 transitions are clearly the desired end points of appropriate training regimens. Quite what those training regimens should be has yet to be accurately determined. In the competitive world of triathlon perhaps the results, if established, will never be published!