The specificity of training for races is believed to be important for performance development. However, measuring specificity is challenging. This study aimed to develop a method to quantify the specificity of speed skating training for sprint races (i.e., 500 and 1,000 m), and explore the amount of training specificity with a pilot study. On-ice training and races of 10 subelite-to-elite speed skaters were analyzed during 1 season (i.e., 26 weeks). Intensity was mapped using 5 equal zones, between 4 m·s-1 to peak velocity and 50% to peak heart rate. Training specificity was defined as skating in the intensity zone most representative for the race for a similar period as during the race. During the season, eight 500 m races, seven 1,000 m races, and 509 training sessions were analyzed, of which 414 contained heart rate and 375 sessions contained velocity measures. Within-subject analyses were performed. During races, most time was spent in the highest intensity zone (Vz5 and HRz5). In training, the highest velocity zone Vz5 was reached 107 ± 28 times, with 9 ± 3 efforts (0.3 ± 0.1% training) long enough to be considered 500 m specific, 6 ± 5 efforts (0.3 ± 0.3% training) were considered 1,000 m specific. For heart rate, HRz5 was reached 151 ± 89 times in training, 43 ± 33 efforts (1.3 ± 0.9% training) were considered 500 m specific, and 36 ± 23 efforts (3.2 ± 1.7% training) were considered 1,000 m specific. This newly developed method enables the examination of training specificity so that coaches can control whether their intended specificity was reached. It also opens doors to further explore the impact of training specificity on performance development.
- specifity of training
- speed skating