Master of Science (MS)



Document Type



Triathlon is an increasingly popular sport in which an athlete competes in swimming, biking and running in a single competitive bout. Today there are more than 140,000 members in the sanctioning body for triathlon. However, there is little descriptive data about this group of athletes. PURPOSE: The primary purpose of this exploratory study was to describe the demographics, training habits, nutritional practices, injury occurrence and overall health status of triathletes and identify any differences between two studies that collected this information. The secondary purpose was to examine any significant correlations among the major outcome variables in the LSU study. METHODS: Three hundred and eighty male and female triathletes were recruited for this study. Participants were recruited at race expos the day prior to the event. Subjects completed a 30-question survey examining triathlete characteristics. The Purdue study surveyed 514 athletes competing in triathlons during the 1999 season. Independent t-tests were conducted to compare variables between studies and genders. Pearson’s correlations were run to examine relationships between outcome variables. RESULTS: In the LSU study 248 male and 131 female were recruited, while 367 males and 147 females were recruited in the Purdue study. Mean age of the LSU study participants was 38.5 ± 10.0 years (mean ± SD), while mean age of the Purdue study participants was 33.2 ± 8.9 years. Triathletes in the LSU study report participating in 5.34 ± .3.8 months of competition in the past year, while triathletes in the Purdue study report participating 3.4 ± 2.7 months of competition. Athletes in the LSU study did not meet daily recommendations for carbohydrates, with only 12.6% of triathletes in the LSU study meeting requirements. The most common injury suffered, at the knee, occurred in 34% of triathletes surveyed in the LSU study and 46.1% of the Purdue athletes. CONCLUSION: The LSU study participants were older than the Purdue study participants. The triathletes from the LSU study report a longer competitive season when compared with the Purdue study. LSU study participants consumed fewer carbohydrates than the Purdue study participants and most triathletes from both studies suffered injuries at the knee.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Stewart, Laura K.



Included in

Kinesiology Commons