Influence of Different Performance Levels on Pacing Strategy during the Female World Championship Marathon Race

Renfree, Andrew and St Clair Gibson, Alan (2013) Influence of Different Performance Levels on Pacing Strategy during the Female World Championship Marathon Race. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 8 (3). pp. 279-285. ISSN 1555-0273

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PURPOSE: to analyse pacing strategies displayed by athletes achieving differing levels of performance during an elite level marathon race.

METHODS: Competitors in the 2009 IAAF Women's Marathon Championship were split into Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4 comprising the first, second, third, and fourth 25% of finishers respectively. Final, intermediate, and personal best (PB) times of finishers were converted to mean speeds, and relative speed (% of PB speed) was calculated for intermediate segments.

RESULTS:Mean PB speed decreased from Group 1 to 4 and speed maintained in the race was 98.5 ± 1.8%, 97.4 ±3.2%, 95.0 ± 3.1% and 92.4 ± 4.4% of PB speed for Groups 1-4 respectively. Group 1 was fastest in all segments and differences in speed between groups increased throughout the race. Group 1 ran at lower relative speeds than other groups for the first two 5 km segments, but higher relative speeds after 35km. Significant differences (P<0.01) in the percentage of PB speed maintained were observed between Groups 1 and 4, and 2 and 4 in all segments after 20 km, and Groups 3 and 4 from 20-25 km and 30-35 km.

CONCLUSIONS:Group 1 athletes achieved superior finishing times relative to their PB than athletes in other Groups who selected unsustainable initial speeds resulting in subsequent significant losses of speed. It is suggested that psychological factors specific to a major competitive event influenced decision making by athletes and poor decisions resulted in final performances inferior to those expected based on PB times.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: PMID: 23006811
Uncontrolled Keywords: decision making, regulation, competition
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Ellen Cole
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2013 14:37
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2019 16:25

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