Performance Analysis: Triathlon

Science & Technology
Sport Science
Course Code
SPSC 1315
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
24 (deemed necessary to ensure safety during class bike rides)
Method(s) Of Instruction
Field Experience
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
In this course, the endurance sport of triathlon will be analyzed from a practical point of view. The essential nature of each sport involved (swimming, biking, and running) will be studied along with nature of transitions among the three sports. Topics include the analysis of each sport, as well as the study of the history of triathlon, strategies of the three sports, and pedagogical principles of triathlon.
Course Content
  1. Introduction to Triathlon
  • History
  • Rules: National and International Organizations
  • Types of Races
  • Triathlon Terminology
  • Compiling the Necessary Equipment
    • Swimming
    • Biking
    • Running
    • Transition areas
    • Pre-race/Post-race
  • Biomechanics of the Three Sports
    • Swimming
      • Creating Propulsion
      • Technique Improvement
      • Swimming Drills
    • Biking
      • Pedaling Efficiency
      • Pedaling Cadence
      • Gearing
      • Riding Position
    • Running
      • Mechanics of Running
      • Mechanics of Running after biking
  • Training
    • Safety Concerns
      • Water
      • Biking
    • Training Principles
    • Types of Training
    • Overload Principle
    • Specificity Principle
    • Warm-up and Cool-Down
    • Developing a Training Program
    • Developing a Strength Training Program
    • Maintaining a Training Log
    • Bike Maintenance
  • Nutrition and Body Metabolism
    • Essential Nutrients
      • Energy Nutrients and Non-Energy Nutrients
    • The Triathlete’s Diet
    • Pre- and Post-race Recovery
    • Carbo loading
    • Supplementation
  • Injuries
    • Recognizing Overtraining
    • Types of Injuries within the 3 Sports Disciplines
    • Common Injuries
    • Injury Prevention
  • Racing Triathlons
    • Tapering Training
    • Final Workouts Prior to a Race
    • Race-Day Preparations and Checklist
    • Faster Transitions
    • Racing Attire
    • Racing Tips from the Pros
    • Participating in a Sprint-Distance Triathlon
  • Coaching Requirements
    • Certifications
    • Career Paths



    Finch, Micheal. Triathlon Training. Human Kinetics; 2004, Windsor.

    Town, Glenn and Kearney, Todd. Swim, Bike, Run. Human Kinetics; 1994, Windsor.

    Learning Activities


    Training Swims, Training Rides, Training Runs, Strength Training Workouts

    Discussion Groups

    Practical Coaching and Training Applications

    Means of Assessment

    The selection of evaluation tools for this course is based upon:

    1. Adherence to college evaluation policy regarding number and weighing of evaluations, for example a course of three credits or more should have at least three separate evaluations.
    2. A developmental approach to evaluation that is sequenced and progressive.
    3. Evaluation is used as a teaching tool for both students and instructors.
    4. Commitment to student participation in evaluation through such processes as self and peer evaluation, and program/ instructor evaluation.

    The following is presented as an example assessment format for this course:

    Class participation 10%
    Swimming skills 10%
    Biking skills 10%
    Running skills 10%
    Training plan/program 15%
    Completion of a triathlon 15%
    Cognitive mid-term exam 10%
    Cognitive final exam 20%
    Learning Outcomes

    After completing the course, students will have acquired and be able to demonstrate:

    1. Thorough working knowledge and understanding of the spirit and rules, history, safety, and etiquette of triathlon.
    2. Improvement in personal physical fitness by participation in swimming, biking, and running. 
    3. Development of an individualized workout program to successfully complete a sprint-distance triathlon. 
    4. Sharpened skills and techniques in the fundamentals of swimming, biking, and running. 
    5. Developed aptitude for
    • Conditioning principles, training methods, training design and planning for triathlon.
    • Nutrition and body metabolism during endurance and strength training exercises
    • Bike maintenance.
  • Practice of training methods that maximize potential and minimize injury.
  • Knowledge of certifications and career paths regarding coaching triathletes.
  • Textbook Materials

    Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

    A list of recommended textbooks and materials is provided on the Instructor's Course Outline, which is available to students at the beginning of each semester.

    REQUIRED Course Materials 

    1. Cold and warm weather clothing
    2. Cycling helmet
    3. Flat tire kit and bike tire pump
    4. Swim suit and swim goggles
    5. Running shoes
    6. Multispeed bike

    OPTIONAL Course Materials

    1. Swim cap
    2. Eye protection, for biking



    Ability to swim 500 meters continuously

    Own or have access to a multispeed bike in good working condition.


    No corequisite courses.


    No equivalent courses.

    Course Guidelines

    Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

    Course Transfers

    These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

    Institution Transfer Details for SPSC 1315
    Simon Fraser University (SFU) No credit
    University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV KPE 1XX (3)
    University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC EPHE 1XX (1.5)

    Course Offerings

    Winter 2023