Will training for a triathalon make you a better cyclist? World-class triathletes are slower runners, swimmers and cyclists than athletes who compete in only one sport. A study from the University of Toulon-Var in France shows that swimming before cycling slows you down (Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, August 2005). Well-trained male triathletes pedaled for 30 minutes on a stationary bicycle at 75 percent of their maximal aerobic power, with a cadence of 95 revolutions per minute. Later they did the same exercise after swimming 1500 meters.
After swimming, they had a 13 percent reduction in efficiency, and significantly higher blood lactate levels. Fatigue from swimming caused them to lose their efficient form so that they had to work much harder to maintain the same pace. Fatigue has the same effect on all athletes. A fresh field goal kicker in football will perform better than one who has played the entire game. Triathletes will always swim, run and cycle slower than comparable athletes training for only one sport. However, triathletes have fewer injuries.