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Inge K. Stoter, Brian R. MacIntosh, Jared R. Fletcher, Spencer Pootz, Inge Zijdewind, and Florentina J. Hettinga

Purpose:

To evaluate pacing behavior and peripheral and central contributions to muscle fatigue in 1500-m speed-skating and cycling time trials when a faster or slower start is instructed.

Methods:

Nine speed skaters and 9 cyclists, all competing at regional or national level, performed two 1500-m time trials in their sport. Athletes were instructed to start faster than usual in 1 trial and slower in the other. Mean velocity was measured per 100 m. Blood lactate concentrations were measured. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA), and potentiated twitch (PT) of the quadriceps muscles were measured to estimate central and peripheral contributions to muscle fatigue. In speed skating, knee, hip, and trunk angles were measured to evaluate technique.

Results:

Cyclists showed a more explosive start than speed skaters in the fast-start time trial (cyclists performed first 300 m in 24.70 ± 1.73 s, speed skaters in 26.18 ± 0.79 s). Both trials resulted in reduced MVC (12.0% ± 14.5%), VA (2.4% ± 5.0%), and PT (25.4% ± 15.2%). Blood lactate concentrations after the time trial and the decrease in PT were greater in the fast-start than in the slow-start trial. Speed skaters showed higher trunk angles in the fast-start than in the slow-start trial, while knee angles remained similar.

Conclusions:

Despite similar instructions, behavioral adaptations in pacing differed between the 2 sports, resulting in equal central and peripheral contributions to muscle fatigue in both sports. This provides evidence for the importance of neurophysiological aspects in the regulation of pacing. It also stresses the notion that optimal pacing needs to be studied sport specifically, and coaches should be aware of this.

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Rikstje Wiersma, Inge K. Stoter, Chris Visscher, Florentina J. Hettinga, and Marije T. Elferink-Gemser

Purpose:

To provide insight on the development of pacing behavior in junior speed skaters and analyze possible differences between elite, subelite, and nonelite juniors.

Methods:

Season-best times (SBTs) in the 1500-m and corresponding pacing behavior were obtained longitudinally for 104 Dutch male speed skaters at age 13–14 (U15), 15–16 (U17), and 17–18 (U19) y. Based on their U19 SBT, skaters were divided into elite (n = 17), subelite (n = 64), and nonelite (n = 23) groups. Pacing behavior was analyzed using the 0- to 300-m, 300- to 700-m, 700- to 1100-m, and 1100- to 1500-m times, expressed as a percentage of final time. Mixed analyses of variance were used for statistical analyses.

Results:

With age, pacing behavior generally developed toward a slower 0- to 300-m and 1100- to 1500-m and a faster midsection relative to final time. While being faster on all sections, the elite were relatively slower on 0- to 300-m (22.1% ± 0.27%) than the subelite and nonelite (21.5% ± 0.44%) (P < .01) but relatively faster on 300- to 700-m (24.6% ± 0.30%) than the nonelite (24.9% ± 0.58%) (P = .002). On 700- to 1100-m, the elite and subelite (26.2% ± 0.25%) were relatively faster than the nonelite (26.5% ± 0.41%) (P = .008). Differences in the development of pacing behavior were found from U17 to U19, with relative 700- to 1100-m times decreasing for the elite and subelite (26.2% ± 0.31% to 26.1% ± 0.27%) but increasing for the nonelite (26.3% ± 0.29% to 26.5% ± 0.41%) (P = .014).

Conclusions:

Maintaining high speed into 700 to 1100 m, accompanied by a relatively slower start, appears crucial for high performance in 1500-m speed skating. Generally, juniors develop toward this profile, with a more pronounced development toward a relatively faster 700- to 1100-m from U17 to U19 for elite junior speed skaters. The results of the current study indicate the relevance of pacing behavior for talent development.

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Floor A.P. van den Brandt, Inge K. Stoter, Ruby T.A. Otter, and Marije T. Elferink-Gemser

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 (F 2,36 = 10.546, P < .001), lactate (F 2,36 = 12.711, P < .001), and rating of perceived exertion (F 2,36 = 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.

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Annemiek J. Roete, Marije T. Elferink-Gemser, Ruby T.A. Otter, Inge K. Stoter, and Robert P. Lamberts

Purpose: The aim of this brief review was to present an overview of noninvasive markers in trained to professional endurance athletes that can reflect a state of functional overreaching. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted in the PubMed, Scopus, and PsycINFO databases. After screening 380 articles, 12 research papers were included for the systematic review. Results: Good consensus was found between the different papers in which noninvasive parameters were able to reflect a state of functional overreaching. Changes in power output (PO), heart rate (HR; [sub]maximal and HR recovery), rating of perceived exertion, and scores in the Daily Analysis of Life Demands for Athletes (DALDA) and/or Profile of Mood States (POMS) were shown to be able to reflect functional overreaching, whereas changes in maximal oxygen uptake and HR-variability parameters were not. Conclusion: Functional overreaching within a maximal performance test was characterized by a decrease in peak PO and a lower maximum HR, whereas a lower mean PO and a lower HR were observed during time trials. Changes in parameters during a standardized submaximal test when functionally overreached were characterized by a higher PO at a fixed HR or a lower HR at a fixed intensity, higher rating of perceived exertion, and a faster HR recovery. Although both the DALDA and POMS were able to reflect functional overreaching, the POMS was not able to differentiate this response from acute fatigue, which makes it unsuitable for accurately monitoring functional overreaching.