Scarfe, Amy Clare (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Triathlon comprises of three disciplines: swimming, cycling and running. Of these, running performance has been found to be most strongly related to race success. Studies investigating the effect of long term multidisciplinary training on running technique are limited. This thesis set out to further explore these chronic adaptations and apply this theoretical understanding to investigate training modification in triathlon. Results of the first two experiments showed that long term kinematic adaptations to running, present in both male and female triathletes. This is most likely due to the volume of cycling undertaken and the subsequent effect it has on the hip musculature. Consequently, a hip flexibility programme was designed and implemented. However, despite improvements in static flexibility, this programme did not affect running technique. In a subsequent study, flexibility training combined with running technique drills also failed to bring about any modifications in running kinematics. Findings of a longitudinal case study demonstrated that, in addition to chronic and acute running technique adaptations, intermediate changes linked to varying training demands also exist showing the level of variability of the running technique. It is concluded that adaptations to cycling are the cause of differences in running technique between triathletes and runners and that these modifications are difficult to reverse. However, the additional intermediate variations observed demonstrate technique can be changed as a result of training requirements.
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