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Speed

Speed is displacement per unit time and is typically quantified as the time taken to cover a fixed distance. It is the ability of an athlete to achieve a high velocity. Speed is a manifestation of explosive force applied to a specific skill, but it is often incorrectly perceived as incompatible with strength. Tests of speed are not usually conducted over distances greater then 200m because longer distances reflect anaerobic or aerobic capacity more than the absolute ability to drive the body at maximal speed.

Functional motor skills requiring accelerative as well as decelerative power, which is force developed at high velocities, are the basis of speed training. Speed-endurance provides the metabolic conditioning needed to support these qualities (to maintain the running velocity) over an extended duration or to achieve maximum acceleration or speed during repetitive sprints. An important application of speed-endurance occurs when there are sport-specific exercise then relief patterns that consist of ongoing submaximal activity with intermittent, high-intensity bursts- or a series of plays- interspersed with periodic rest intervals. Speed-endurance requires the metabolic power to execute technical and tactical skills at a predetermined effort distribution (target pace in practice or competition), as well as the capacity to recover and perform subsequent repetitions or sets.

Maximum running velocity has been directly related to muscle myokinase (MK) and creatine phosphokinase (CPK) enzymatic activities and inversely related to total lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity. Thus, the enzymes associated with ATP resynthesis and pyruvate-lactate conversion are key determinants of sprinting speed. Sprint-type training has the most significant effects on the phosphagen pathways, with lesser effects on glycolytic or oxidative metabolism. When lactic acid builds up, the acid-base balance in the tissues is subsequently disrupted. This impairs the muscle's mechanical properties and energetic efficiency so that the rate of force development, peak force, velocity, and power are reduced. We research training and nutritional strategies to help facilitate lactic acid clearance. The lactate clearance rate is strongly impacted by priming exercise (preliminary submaximal activity) and postworkout recovery activity, and both methods have been shown to not only reduce lactate formation but to improve the maximal oxygen consumption. Our athletes are given very specific pre- and post-competition protocols to follow based on our studies.

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