Development of 1500-m pacing behavior in junior speed skaters: A longitudinal study

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1231
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


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