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Jac Orie, Nico Hofman, Jos J. de Koning and Carl Foster

During the last decade discussion about training-intensity distribution has been an important issue in sports science. Training-intensity distribution has not been adequately investigated in speed skating, a unique activity requiring both high power and high endurance.

Purpose:

To quantify the training-intensity distribution and training hours of successful Olympic speed skaters over 10 Olympiads.

Methods:

Olympic-medal-winning trainers/coaches and speed skaters were interviewed and their training programs were analyzed. Each program was qualified and quantified: workout type (specific and nonspecific) and training zones (zone 1 ≤2 mMol/L lactate, zone 2 2–4 mMol/L lactate, zone 3 lactate >4 mMol/L). Net training times were calculated.

Results:

The relation between total training hours and time (successive Olympiads) was not progressive (r = .51, P > .5). A strong positive linear relation (r = .96, P < .01) was found between training distribution in zone 1 and time. Zones 2 and 3 both showed a strong negative linear relation to time (r = –.94, P < .01; r = –.97, P < .01). No significant relation was found between speed skating hours and time (r = –.11, P > .05). This was also the case for inline skating and time (r = –.86, P > .05).

Conclusions:

These data indicate that in speed skating there was a shift toward polarized training over the last 38 y. This shift seems to be the most important factor in the development of Olympic speed skaters. Surprisingly there was no relation found between training hours, skating hours, and time.

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Nico Hofman, Jac Orie, Marco J.M. Hoozemans, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Wingate test scores are strongly associated with anaerobic capacity in athletes involved in speed-endurance sports. In speed skating Wingate results are known to predict performance cross-sectionally but have not been investigated relative to their ability to predict performance longitudinally. Purpose: To investigate whether Wingate tests performed during summer training are predictive of 1500-m speed-skating performance the subsequent winter in elite speed skaters. Methods: Wingate test results from the summer training periods and 1500-m performances during the subsequent winter were analyzed over a 3-y period in 5 female and 8 male elite (Olympic, World Championship, and World Cup medalists) speed skaters. Regression analyses using generalized estimating equations (GEE) were used to estimate the relationship between Wingate test variables and 1500-m speed-skating performance. Wingate peak power (PP) and mean power (MP) were used to predict 1500-m time and 400-m lap times. Results: Improvements of 1 W/kg on PP and MP in women predict improvements of −0.75 s and −2.05 s, respectively, on 1500-m time (World Record 110.85 s). In men, improvements in PP and MP were associated with performance improvements of −0.92 s and −2.32 s on 1500-m time per 1 W/kg (World Record 101.04 s). Conclusion: Wingate test results achieved during the summer training period are a good predictor of improvements in 1500-m speed-skating performance during the subsequent winter. For the smallest worthwhile improvement in 1500-m performance, a gain in PP and MP of 2.1% and 1.4% (0.38 and 0.14 W/kg) for females and 1.2% and 0.9% (0.29 and 0.12 W/kg) for males is needed.