I come from a running background and marathoners and half marathoners (including the elites) typically don’t do 2 races of these lengths closer than 6 months apart, seemingly never a few weeks apart. How are triathletes able to do 70.3 and 140.6 a week or a couple of weeks apart at a competitive level? Can Sam Long really be competitive 1 week after 70.3 WC against a rested Lionel Sanders at Chattanooga tomorrow?
Elite triathletes don’t often attempt extreme doubles of that sort. The reasons it’s slightly more common in triathlon than in running are partly physiological and partly cultural. Triathlons are mostly swimming and cycling, which are easier to recovery from, and the running is slightly less intense than it is at equivalent distances in running. But I would submit that many elite runners could get away with racing more often than they do. But the culture of the sport is different. Elite runners are trying to shave every second, whereas triathlete are far less focused on the clock. Ultrarunning is similar, and in fact you do see some elite runners racing extreme distances fairly frequently.
Sam Long didn’t turn out to be a great example for strong back to back finishes, but Skye Moench finished in 6th place at 70.3 Worlds with the second fastest bike split among females, and then 1 week later won 70.3 Chattanooga! She had a 1:24 half marathon in 70.3 WC with tons of incline/descent, and then a 3:01 marathon 8 days later at Chattanooga. Utterly amazing. I don’t understand how triathletes can recover so quickly. She proved she could, and proved it’s possible. So different in triathlon than running long distance races at the elite level. I can not relate. I can only guess what it takes. I’d imagine the mental element for back to back races is just huge.