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Graham J. Mytton, David T. Archer, Louise Turner, Sabrina Skorski, Andrew Renfree, Kevin G. Thompson and Alan St Clair Gibson

Purpose:

Previous literature has presented pacing data of groups of competition finalists. The aim of this study was to analyze the pacing patterns displayed by medalists and nonmedalists in international competitive 400-m swimming and 1500-m running finals.

Methods:

Split times were collected from 48 swimming finalists (four 100-m laps) and 60 running finalists (4 laps) in international competitions from 2004 to 2012. Using a cross-sectional design, lap speeds were normalized to whole-race speed and compared to identify variations of pace between groups of medalists and nonmedalists. Lap-speed variations relative to the gold medalist were compared for the whole field.

Results:

In 400-m swimming the medalist group demonstrated greater variation in speed than the nonmedalist group, being relatively faster in the final lap (P < .001; moderate effect) and slower in laps 1 (P = .03; moderate effect) and 2 (P > .001; moderate effect). There were also greater variations of pace in the 1500-m running medalist group than in the nonmedalist group, with a relatively faster final lap (P = .03; moderate effect) and slower second lap (P = .01; small effect). Swimming gold medalists were relatively faster than all other finalists in lap 4 (P = .04), and running gold medalists were relatively faster than the 5th- to 12th-placed athletes in the final lap (P = .02).

Conclusions:

Athletes who win medals in 1500-m running and 400-m swimming competitions show different pacing patterns than nonmedalists. End-spurtspeed increases are greater with medalists, who demonstrate a slower relative speed in the early part of races but a faster speed during the final part of races than nonmedalists.

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Deryn Bath, Louise A. Turner, Andrew N. Bosch, Ross Tucker, Estelle V. Lambert, Kevin G. Thompson and Alan St. Clair Gibson

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to examine performance, pacing strategy and perception of effort during a 5 km time trial while running with or without the presence of another athlete.

Methods:

Eleven nonelite male athletes participated in five 5 km time trials: two self-paced, maximal effort trials performed at the start and end of the study, and three trials performed in the presence of a second runner. In the three trials, the second runner ran either in front of the subject, behind the subject, or next to the subject. Performance times, heart rate, RPE, and a subjective assessment of the effect of the second runner on the athlete’s performance were recorded during each of the trials.

Results:

There was no significant difference in performance times, heart rate or RPE between any of the five trials. Running speed declined from the 1st to the 4th kilometer and then increased for the last kilometer in all five trials. Following the completion of all trials, 9 of the 11 subjects perceived it to be easier to complete the 5 km time trial with another runner in comparison with running alone.

Conclusions:

While the athletes perceived their performance to be improved by the presence of another runner, their pacing strategy, running speed, heart rate and RPE were not significantly altered. These findings indicate that an athlete’s subconscious pacing strategy is robust and is not altered by the presence of another runner.