Author(s): Knechtle B, Rosemann T, Zingg MA, Stiefel M, Rst CA
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Abstract Pacing strategy has been investigated in elite 100 km and elite 161 km (100 mile) ultra-marathoners, but not in age group ultra-marathoners. This study investigated changes in running speed over segments in male elite and age group 100 km ultra-marathoners with the assumption that running speed would decrease over segments with increasing age of the athlete. Running speed during segments in male elite and age group finishers for 5-year age groups (ie, 18-24 to 65-69 years) in the 100 km Lauf Biel in Switzerland was investigated during the 2000-2009 period. Average running speed over segment time station (TS) TS1-TS2 (56.1 km) was compared with running speed Start-TS1 (38 km) and Start-TS3 (76.7 km) and running speed TS2-TS3 was compared with running speed Start-Finish. For the top ten athletes in each edition, running speed decreased from 2000 to 2009 for TS1-TS2 and TS2-TS3 (P<0.0001) but not in TS3-Finish (P>0.05). During TS1-TS2, athletes were running at 98.0\%±2.1\% of the running speed of Start-TS1. In TS2-TS3, they were running at 94.6\%±3.4\% of the running speed of TS1-TS2. In TS3-Finish, they were running at 95.5\%±3.8\% of running speed in TS2-TS3. For age group athletes, running speed decreased in TS1-TS2 and TS2-TS3. In TS3-Finish, running speed remained unchanged with the exception of the age group 40-44 years for which running speed increased. Running speed showed the largest decrease in the age group 18-24 years. To summarize, the top ten athletes in each edition maintained their running speed in the last segment (TS3-Finish) although running speed decreased over the first two segments (TS1-TS2 and TS2-TS3). The best pacers were athletes in the age group 40-44 years, who were able to achieve negative pacing in the last segment (TS3-Finish) of the race. The negative pacing in the last segment (TS3-Finish) was likely due to environmental conditions, such as early dawn and the flat circuit in segment TS3-Finish of the race.
This article was published in Open Access J Sports Med
and referenced in Clinical and Experimental Psychology