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Arturo Casado and Andrew Renfree

probability of progression from qualification rounds in the middle-distance running events at a major athletic championship, 5 there is no published research which also incorporates analysis of split times. Incorporation of this variable may assist in furthering understanding of the decision-making process

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Montassar Tabben, Laurent Bosquet and Jeremy B. Coquart

Purpose:

This study examined the effect of performance level on the validity and accuracy of middle-distance running-performance predictions obtained from the nomogram of Mercier et al in male runners.

Methods:

Official French track-running rankings for the 3000-, 5000-, and 10,000-m events from 2006 to 2014 were examined. The performance level was determined from the official reference table of the Fédération Française d’Athlétisme, and the runners were divided in 3 groups (ie, low, moderate, and high levels). Only male runners who performed in the 3 distance events within the same year were included (N = 443). Each performance over any distance was predicted using the nomogram from the 2 other performances.

Results:

No difference was found in low- and moderate-performance-level athletes (0.02 ≤ effect size [ES] ≤ 0.06, 95% limits of agreement [LoA] ≤ 6%). By contrast, a small difference in high-performance-level athletes (P < .01, 0.23 ≤ ES ≤ 0.45, 95% LoA ≤ 11.6%) was found.

Conclusion:

The study confirms the validity of the nomogram to predict track-running performance with a high level of accuracy, except for male runners with high performance level (ie, national or international). Consequently, the predictions from the nomogram may be used in training programs (eg, to prescribe tempo runs with realistic training velocities) and competitions (eg, to plan realistic split times to reach the best performance).

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Andrew Renfree, Graham J. Mytton, Sabrina Skorski and Alan St Clair Gibson

Purpose:

To identify tactical factors associated with progression from preliminary rounds in middle-distance running events at an international championship.

Methods:

Results from the 2012 Olympic Games were used to access final and intermediate positions, finishing times, and season-best (SB) times for competitors in men’s and women’s 800-m and 1500-m events (fifteen 800-m races and ten 1500-m races). Finishing times were calculated as %SB, and Pearson product–moment correlations were used to assess relationships between intermediate and finishing positions. Probability (P) of qualification to the next round was calculated for athletes in each available intermediate position.

Results:

There were no significant differences in finishing times relative to SB between qualifiers and nonqualifiers. In the 800-m, correlation coefficients between intermediate and final positions were r = .61 and r = .84 at 400 m and 600 m, respectively, whereas in the 1500-m, correlations were r = .35, r = .43, r = .55, and r = .71 at 400 m, 800 m, 1000 m, and 1200 m, respectively. In both events, probability of qualification decreased with position at all intermediate distances. At all points, those already in qualifying positions were more likely to qualify for the next round.

Conclusions:

The data demonstrate that tactical positioning at intermediate points in qualifying rounds of middle-distance races is a strong determinant of qualification. In 800-m races it is important to be in a qualifying position by 400 m. In the 1500-m event, although more changes in position are apparent, position at intermediate distances is still strongly related to successful qualification.

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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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Gareth N. Sandford, Simon Pearson, Sian V. Allen, Rita M. Malcata, Andrew E. Kilding, Angus Ross and Paul B. Laursen

In middle-distance running, an athlete’s tactical execution is a key element of race performance. 1 , 2 Historical examples of men’s 800-m championship running from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (OG) suggests the presence of an end spurt with 200 m left to run. 3 By contrast, both Sebastian Coe

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Neil D. Clarke, Darren L. Richardson, James Thie and Richard Taylor

Context : Caffeine, often in the form of coffee, is frequently used as a supplement by athletes in an attempt to facilitate improved performance during exercise. Purpose: To investigate the effectiveness of coffee ingestion as an ergogenic aid prior to a 1-mile (1609 m) race. Methods: In a double-blind, randomized, cross-over, and placebo-controlled design, 13 trained male runners completed a 1-mile race 60 minutes following the ingestion of 0.09 g·kg−1 coffee (COF), 0.09 g·kg−1 decaffeinated coffee (DEC), or a placebo (PLA). All trials were dissolved in 300 mL of hot water. Results: The race completion time was 1.3% faster following the ingestion of COF (04:35.37 [00:10.51] min:s.ms) compared with DEC (04:39.14 [00:11.21] min:s.ms; P = .018; 95% confidence interval [CI], −0.11 to −0.01; d = 0.32) and 1.9% faster compared with PLA (04:41.00 [00:09.57] min:s.ms; P = .006; 95% CI, −0.15 to −0.03; d = 0.51). A large trial and time interaction for salivary caffeine concentration was observed (P < .001; ηp2=.69), with a very large increase (6.40 [1.57] μg·mL−1; 95% CI, 5.5–7.3; d = 3.86) following the ingestion of COF. However, only a trivial difference between DEC and PLA was observed (P = .602; 95% CI, −0.09 to 0.03; d = 0.17). Furthermore, only trivial differences were observed for blood glucose (P = .839; ηp2=.02) and lactate (P = .096; ηp2=.18) and maximal heart rate (P = .286; ηp2=.13) between trials. Conclusions: The results of this study show that 60 minutes after ingesting 0.09 g·kg−1 of caffeinated coffee, 1-mile race performance was enhanced by 1.9% and 1.3% compared with placebo and decaffeinated coffee, respectively, in trained male runners.

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Stephen A. Ingham, Barry W. Fudge, Jamie S. Pringle and Andrew M. Jones

Prior high-intensity exercise increases the oxidative energy contribution to subsequent exercise and may enhance exercise tolerance. The potential impact of a high-intensity warm-up on competitive performance, however, has not been investigated.

Purpose:

To test the hypothesis that a high-intensity warm-up would speed VO2 kinetics and enhance 800-m running performance in well-trained athletes.

Methods:

Eleven highly trained middle-distance runners completed two 800-m time trials on separate days on an indoor track, preceded by 2 different warm-up procedures. The 800-m time trials were preceded by a 10-min self-paced jog and standardized mobility drills, followed by either 6 × 50-m strides (control [CON]) or 2 × 50-m strides and a continuous high-intensity 200-m run (HWU) at race pace. Blood [La] was measured before the time trials, and VO2 was measured breath by breath throughout exercise.

Results:

800-m time-trial performance was significantly faster after HWU (124.5 ± 8.3 vs CON, 125.7 ± 8.7 s, P < .05). Blood [La] was greater after HWU (3.6 ± 1.9 vs CON, 1.7 ± 0.8 mM; P < .01). The mean response time for VO2 was not different between conditions (HWU, 27 ± 6 vs CON, 28 ± 7 s), but total O2 consumed (HWU, 119 ± 18 vs CON, 109 ± 28 ml/kg, P = .05) and peak VO2 attained (HWU, 4.21 ± 0.85 vs CON, 3.91 ± 0.63 L/min; P = .08) tended to be greater after HWU.

Conclusions:

These data indicate that a sustained high-intensity warm-up enhances 800-m time-trial performance in trained athletes.

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David A. Greene, Geraldine A. Naughton, Julie N. Briody, Allan Kemp, Helen Woodhead and Nathalie Farpour-Lambert

This study compared tibial bone and muscle geometry and total body and regional bone mineral content (BMC) in elite female adolescent middle-distance runners (n = 20, age: 16 ± 1.7 years) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 20, 16 ± 1.8 years) using magnetic resonance imaging and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Significant advantages were found in athletes compared with controls in bone and muscle geometric values for distal tibial cortical, medullary cavity, distal tibial total muscle and dorsi flexor muscle compartment cross-sectional area, and regional BMC. Results imply mechanical loads associated with middle-distance running might be beneficial to musculoskeletal health in adolescent females.

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David V.B. James, Leigh E. Sandals, Stephen B. Draper, Sara Maldonado-Martín and Dan M. Wood

Purpose:

Previously it has been observed that, in well-trained 800-m athletes, VO2max is not attained during middle-distance running events on a treadmill, even when a race-type pacing strategy is adopted. Therefore, the authors investigated whether specialization in a particular running distance (400-m or 800-m) influences the VO2 attained during running on a treadmill.

Methods:

Six 400-m and six 800-m running specialists participated in the study. A 400-m trial and a progressive test to determine VO2max were completed in a counterbalanced order. Oxygen uptakes attained during the 400-m trial were compared to examine the influence of specialist event.

Results:

A VO2 plateau was observed in all participants for the progressive test, demonstrating the attainment of VO2max. The VO2max values were 56.2 ± 4.7 and 69.3 ± 4.5 mL · kg−1 · min−1 for the 400-m- and 800-m-event specialists, respectively (P = .0003). Durations for the 400-m trial were 55.1 ± 4.2 s and 55.8 ± 2.3 s for the 400-m- and 800-m-event specialists, respectively. The VO2 responses achieved were 93.1% ± 2.0% and 85.7% ± 3.0% VO2max for the 400-m- and 800-m-event specialists, respectively (P = .001).

Conclusions:

These results demonstrate that specialist running events do appear to influence the percentage of VO2max achieved in the 400-m trial, with the 800-m specialists attaining a lower percentage of VO2max than the 400-m specialists. The 400-m specialists appear to compensate for a lower VO2max by attaining a higher percentage VO2max during a 400-m trial.

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Avish P. Sharma, Philo U. Saunders, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Brad Clark, Jamie Stanley, Eileen Y. Robertson and Kevin G. Thompson

Purpose:

To determine the effect of training at 2100-m natural altitude on running speed (RS) during training sessions over a range of intensities relevant to middle-distance running performance.

Methods:

In an observational study, 19 elite middle-distance runners (mean ± SD age 25 ± 5 y, VO2max, 71 ± 5 mL · kg–1 · min–1) completed either 4–6 wk of sea-level training (CON, n = 7) or a 4- to 5-wk natural altitude-training camp living at 2100 m and training at 1400–2700 m (ALT, n = 12) after a period of sea-level training. Each training session was recorded on a GPS watch, and athletes also provided a score for session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE). Training sessions were grouped according to duration and intensity. RS (km/h) and sRPE from matched training sessions completed at sea level and 2100 m were compared within ALT, with sessions completed at sea level in CON describing normal variation.

Results:

In ALT, RS was reduced at altitude compared with sea level, with the greatest decrements observed during threshold- and VO2max-intensity sessions (5.8% and 3.6%, respectively). Velocity of low-intensity and race-pace sessions completed at a lower altitude (1400 m) and/or with additional recovery was maintained in ALT, though at a significantly greater sRPE (P = .04 and .05, respectively). There was no change in velocity or sRPE at any intensity in CON.

Conclusion:

RS in elite middle-distance athletes is adversely affected at 2100-m natural altitude, with levels of impairment dependent on the intensity of training. Maintenance of RS at certain intensities while training at altitude can result in a higher perceived exertion.