The Effect of Preceding Race Efforts on Pacing and Short-Track Speed Skating Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: To examine whether preceding high-intensity race efforts in a competitive weekend affect pacing behavior and performance in elite short-track speed skaters. Methods: Finishing and intermediate lap times were gathered from 500-, 1000-, and 1500-m short-track speed skating world cups during the seasons 2011–2016. The effect of preceding races on pacing behavior and performance was explored using 2 studies. Study I: The effect of competing in extra races due to the repechage (Rep) system, leading to an increased number of high-intensity race efforts prior to the subsequent main tournament race, was explored (500-m, n = 32; 1000-m, n = 34; and 1500-m, n = 47). Study II: The performance of skaters over the tournament days was evaluated (500-m, n = 129; 1000-m, n = 54; and 1500-m, n = 114). For both analytic approaches, a 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess differences in pacing and performance within skaters over the races. Results: An additional number of preceding high-intensity race efforts due to the Rep system reduced the qualification percentage in the first main tournament race for the next stage of competition in all events (500-m, direct qualification = 57.3%, Rep = 25.0%; 1000-m, direct = 44.2%, Rep = 28.3%; and 1500-m, direct = 27.1%, Rep = 18.2%) and led to a decreased pace in the initial 2 laps of the 500-m event. By contrast, tournament day (Saturday vs Sunday) only affected the pacing behavior of female skaters during the 1500-m event. Conclusion: High-intensity race efforts earlier in the day affected pacing and performance of elite skaters, whereas the effect of high-intensity race efforts from the previous day seemed to be only marginal.

The authors are with Sport, Performance and Fatigue Research Unit, School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom.

Hettinga (fjhett@essex.ac.uk) is corresponding author.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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