Braz J Med Biol Res 2019; 52(6): e8593
Are experienced and high-level race walking athletes able to match pre-programmed with executed pacing?
The objective of this study was to verify the agreement between pre-programmed and executed pacing during race walking and whether level of the athletes experience and performance influenced this relationship. Twenty-nine national and international race walkers participated in this study (14 males, 24.0±7.1 years old, and 15 females, 23.3±7.3 years old). Pre-programmed pacing for 10- and 20-km official walking races was self-selected via demonstrative pacing charts prior to races, while executed pacing was analyzed by a specialist investigator via an individual plot of current velocity versus distance. There was no agreement between pre-programmed and executed pacing (P=0.674). There was no association between the ability to match the pre-programmed pace with the executed pace and race walking experience or level of performance. Low- and high-performance athletes pre-programmed a similar pacing profile (P=0.635); however, high-performance athletes generally executed an even pacing strategy, while low-performance athletes generally adopted a positive pacing strategy (P=0.013). Race walkers did not faithfully match their pre-programmed with their executed pacing, and this seemed to be independent of previous experience and level of performance. High-performance athletes, however, tended to execute an even pacing strategy, even though this had not been pre-programmed.