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What is the most important discipline in Triathlon???

bennybenny Posts: 1,314
What do you think is the most essential part for top finishing??

Is it the swim, bike, run, transition, nutrition, .....

I know its a really complicated mix that makes the champs, but what do you guys think is the one part that makes the most difference of them all and why?


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    zoezoe Posts: 28
    In non-drafting races Cycling.

    I'm rubbish at cycling and loose loadsa places in every race. I can usually make a lot back up on the run and have a relatively strong swim, but just can't compete with the cyclists.

    only goes to show I need a new bike!

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    Zoe- i know how you feel!! It sucks, im a fast swimmer and a quick runner, but my bike sucks.....I guess it's because im new to cycling (year and a half) and ive done the other two to a far higher level....

    I didnt think they did drafting races in non elite races ( ive seen alot of drafting on TV with the pros) but never in reaces that i have been in....Is this pretty normal???

    If anyone wants to do a Quadrathlon that is more focused on the run- do the Kindrochit quadrathlon- its a 1.5 k swim, a 15 mile run (up and down 7 mountains) then a 8 mile Kayack and then a 35 mile cycle. The running phase takes about 6 hours- so runners get thier own back finally!
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Swimming! Only because of the amount of energy you can waste in the swim because of poor form. Poor cycling or running technique WILL waste energy, of course, but nothing saps the calories quite like swimming badly.

    You don't necessarily need to be quick in the water - unless you are planning on competing with the sub 20-minute swimmers - but you DO need to get out of the water feeling fresh.

    Swimming more efficiently gives you loads more energy to go faster on the bike.

    Having said that, cycling is where most of us amateurs will make up the most time. I read in my triathlon training book that swimming becomes more important the faster you get overall.

    Anyway, swimming is the only bit I'm good at, so I'm sticking with it. Sniff.
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    rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    All three are strategically very important, although it has been argued by many who are more knowledgeable than me that cycling is the most important because it is usually the discipline where you will be spending the most time (or shaving off the most time through improvements) in any given race. For example, for me, a 10% improvement in my cycling speed at the London Triathlon next year would improve my time by 7 minutes or so, whereas a 10% improvement in my swimming speed would result in a 3 minute improvement, and a 10% improvement in my running speed would result in a 5 minutes improvement.

    Swimming is, in many ways, the most important technically, as bopomofo points out, because an inefficient swimming technique will leave you drained for the other events, while an efficient swimming technique will leave you in much better shape. Also, in draft-legal racing, a good position in swimming sets you up for a good position in the pack in cycling, which is also very important.

    Running is also pretty critical from a technique and endurance point of view, since it is the last discipline and the one where you need to know that, no matter how exhausted you are, that you will still be able to go the distance without hurting yourself and pacing yourself correctly for the entire distance.

    For me, the most important discipline is the one I am worst at, or the one where I have the most likelihood of doing better. Looking at my hypothetical 10% improvements in speed above is one thing, but it is quite probable that at 1:06 on the cycle leg at London this year, I am just not going to see a 10% improvement in my cycling time next year - 1:06 for me might just be within a minute or so of my best cycling time I can achieve at this stage of my life. Whereas, with a swimming time of 30 min at London this year, I could (and should) aim for a 10% improvement in my swimming next year. And, with a running time of 49 min at London this year, I might just squeeze out a 10% improvement in my running (well, probably 5% improvement, and another 5% the year after that).

    So, it's relative to each of us, and not such an easy question to answer.
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    Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152
    Im no expert and have no experience of shorter distance races, but At Iron distance I would say maybe the bike stage holds the cards.

    Must agree that the swim can zap energy (both of the mind and body) in probably the shortest amount of time pro-rata.
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    well, i think most ofus see cycling as the most important discipline. I think it istoo, but maybe that is because it's my weakest discipline. I exit the water at middle of the pack, but when its in drafting races( I've only done 3 yet), i cant keep up on the bike. I really suffer, gotta let myself go from group to group, hang on a while and then recup until next gang passes. I catch a lot of guys during running, but it would give more satisfaction to stay with them on the bike and then have a good run.

    So I guess cycling is most important.
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    TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    The quick answer is : Whichever one you're weakest at!!

    The more complex answer, still related to the above is, most people will pick the cycle as it will pretty much always be the longest chunk, however the run can be critical once you get further into racing as this is where times seem to spread out (cycle times tend to be much more compact), and of course if you struggle in the swim you can tire yourself out before you even get in the saddle. So in short, don't ask us...ask yourself! (That's meant in a friendly helpful way unlike how it sounds :-) )
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    that answer makes sense; whichever is your weakest. If youre middle of the pack in swim and run times, but your cycling is of the charts ugly, then obviously cycling is the most important one for this person.

    but i wasnt asking myself( also in a friendly way [:)]).

    Come on, this question is the roots of our sports: a few athletic guys wondering which sports is the greatest; to prove it: mix three endurance sports into one gruelling event and there you have it: IRONMAN!!!

    So come on triathletes, dont just ask yourself[;)]; which is the most important discipline in the fantastic sport ( and life!) of triathlon(races).
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