Why Train Together When Racing Is Performed Alone? Drafting in Long-Track Speed Skating

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $114.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $152.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $217.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $289.00

Purpose: In long-track speed skating, drafting is a commonly used phenomenon in training; however, it is not allowed in time-trial races. In speed skating, limited research is available on the physical and psychological impact of drafting. The aim of this study was to determine the influence of “skating alone,” “leading,” or “drafting” on physical intensity (heart rate and blood lactate) and perceived intensity (perceived exertion) of speed skaters. Methods: Twenty-two national-level long-track speed skaters with a mean age of 19.3 (2.6) years skated 5 laps, with similar external intensity in 3 different conditions: skating alone, leading, or drafting. Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed differences between the 3 conditions, heart rate (F2,36 = 10.546, P < .001), lactate (F2,36 = 12.711, P < .001), and rating of perceived exertion (F2,36 = 5.759, P < .01). Results: Heart rate and lactate concentration were significantly lower (P < .001) when drafting compared with leading (heart rate Δ = 7 [8] beats·min–1, 4.0% [4.7%]; lactate Δ = 2.3 [2.3] mmol/L, 28.2% [29.9%]) or skating alone (heart rate Δ = 8 [7.1] beats·min–1, 4.6% [3.9%]; lactate Δ = 2.8 [2.5] mmol/L, 33.6% [23.6%]). Rating of perceived exertion was significantly lower (P < .01) when drafting (Δ = 0.8 [1.0], 16.5% [20.9%]) or leading (Δ = 0.5 [0.9], 7.7% [20.5%]) versus skating alone. Conclusions: With similar external intensity, physical intensity, as well as perceived intensity, is reduced when drafting in comparison with skating alone. A key finding of this study is the psychological effect: Skating alone was shown to be more demanding than leading, whereas leading and drafting were perceived to be similar in terms of perceived exertion. Knowledge about the reduction of internal intensity for a drafting skater compared with leading or skating alone can be used by coaches and trainers to optimize training conditions.

van den Brandt, Stoter, and Elferink-Gemser are with the Dept of Human Movement Sciences, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands. Stoter is also with the Innovation Lab Thialf, Heerenveen, the Netherlands. Otter is with the School of Sport Studies, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, the Netherlands, and the Dept of Biomedical Sciences of Cells & Systems, Section of Anatomy & Medical Physiology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.

van den Brandt (floorvandenbrandt@hotmail.com) is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplemental Figure S1 (pdf 427 KB)
  • 1.

    Konings MJ, Elferink-Gemser MT, Stoter IK, van der Meer D, Otten E, Hettinga FJ. Performance characteristics of long-track speed skaters: a literature review. Sports Med.. 2015;45:505516. doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Mujika I. Quantification of training and competition training loads in endurance sports: methods and applications. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2017;12(3):273274. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Orie J, Hofman N, de Koning JJ, Foster C. Thirty-eight years of training distribution in Olympic speed skaters. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2014;9(1):9399. PubMed ID: 24408352 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    Bilodeau B, Roy B, Boulay MR. Effect of drafting on heart rate in cross-country skiing. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994;26(5):637641. PubMed ID: 8007814 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 5.

    Rundell KW. Effects of drafting during short-track speed skating. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1996;28(6):765771. PubMed ID: 8784765 doi:

  • 6.

    Millet GP, Geslan R, Ferrier R, Candau R, Varray A. Effects of drafting on energy expenditure in in-line skating. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2003;43:285290. PubMed ID: 14625508

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Caru B, Mauri L, Knippel M, Carnelli F. Effects of air resistance on heart rate of track race cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 1987;4:7782.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Edwards AG, Byrnes WC. Aerodynamic characteristics as determinants of the drafting effect in cycling. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(1):170176. PubMed ID: 17218899 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Casado A, Moreno-Pérez D, Larrosa M, Renfree A. Different psychophysiological responses to a high-intensity repetition session performed alone or in a group by elite middle-distance runners. Eur J Sports Sci. 2019;19(8):10451052. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Hausswirth C, Lehenaff D, Dreano P, Savonen K. Effects of cycling alone or in a sheltered position on subsequent running performance during a triathlon. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31(4):599604. PubMed ID: 10211859 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Hausswirth C, Vallier JM, Lehenaff D, Brisswalter J, Smith D, Millet G. Effect of two drafting modalities in cycling on running performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(3):485492. PubMed ID: 11252078 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 12.

    Zouhal H, Abderrahman AB, Prioux J, et al. . Drafting’s improvement of 3000m running performance in elite athletes: is it a placebo effect? Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015;10(2):147152. PubMed ID: 24912074 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    van Ingen Schenau GJ. The influence of air friction in speed skating. J Biomech. 1982;15(6):449458. PubMed ID: 7118959 doi:

  • 14.

    Elfmark O, Bardal LM, Oggiano L, Myklebust H. Aerodynamic interaction between two speed skaters in a closed wind tunnel. J Sport Health Sci. 2019;13:191201. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    Crotty NM, Boland M, Mahony N, Donne B, Fleming N. Reliability and validity of the Lactate Pro 2 Analyzer. Meas Phys Educ Exerc Sci. Published online January 25, 2021. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Borg G. Borg’s Perceived Exertion and Pain Scales. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 1998.

  • 17.

    Rodriguez-Marroyo JA, Antonan C. Validity of the session rating of perceived exertion for monitoring exercise demands in youth soccer players. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2015;10:404407. PubMed ID: 25202917 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Scherr J, Wolfarth B, Christle JW, Pressler A, Wagenpfeil S, Halle M. Associations between Borg’s rating of perceived exertion and physiological measures of exercise intensity. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013;113(1):147155. PubMed ID: 22615009 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Foster C, Florhaug JA, Franklin J, et al. . A new approach to monitoring exercise training. J Strength Cond Res. 2001;15:109115. PubMed ID: 11708692 doi:

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Cohen. Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioural Sciences. (2nd ed.) New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum; 1988.

  • 21.

    Konings M, Parkinson J, Zijdewind CAT, Hettinga FJ. Racing against an opponent improves 4-km time trial performance, alters pacing and force declines, but does not affect RPE. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2018;13(3):283289. PubMed ID: 28657853 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Ouvrard T, Groslambert A, Ravier G, Grospretre S, Gimenez P, Grappe F. Mechanisms of performance improvements due to a leading teammate during uphill cycling. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. 2018;13(9):12151222. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 637 637 72
Full Text Views 11 11 2
PDF Downloads 11 11 4