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Pacing Pattern and Speed Skating Performance in Competitive Long-Distance Events

Muehlbauer, Thomas1; Panzer, Stefan2; Schindler, Christian3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - pp 114-119
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c6a04a
Original Research

Muehlbauer, T, Panzer, S, and Schindler, C. Pacing pattern and speed skating performance in competitive long-distance events. J Strength Cond Res 24(1): 114-119, 2010-The present study was aimed to compare the pacing pattern adopted by women and men in races performed during a complete World Cup series. Elite skaters competed in long-distance races of different length (3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 m) and location (low/high altitude) where distribution of lap times were analyzed. Regardless of athletes' performance level, gender, or rinks' location, similar pacing patterns were observed in each event, which were characterized by an initial acceleration followed by a progressive delay in lap times-“positive pacing strategy”. Differences in lap times were significant in each instance for women's 3,000 m (p < 0.001). For the 5,000 m races, laps 5-12 in women and laps 8-12 in men were slower compared with previous laps (p < 0.001, for both sexes). For men's 10,000 m, skaters performed only the first lap faster than the remaining laps (p < 0.001) with laps 2-7 not different from each other but faster than laps 19-24 (p < 0.05), which also did not differ from each other. Top-ranked compared with bottom-ranked skaters (p < 0.001) and male compared with female skaters (p < 0.001) were significantly faster at each lap, suggesting that technical or physiological or both aspects need to be developed in those. The significantly shorter lap times at high- compared with low-altitude races (p < 0.001) suggest that rinks' location appears to be important for performance outcome, at elite level.

1Institute of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 2Department of Human Movement Science, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany; and 3Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at Swiss Tropical Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

This study was supported by a grant from the German Federal Office of Sport (grant number: IIA1-07070308).

The results of the present study do not constitute endorsement of the product by the authors or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Address correspondence to Thomas Muehlbauer, thomas.muehlbauer@unibas.ch.

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association