Speed Reserve Mechanism

I know speed reserve contributes to greater speed and special endurance but how does it work (physiologically/mechanically)?

-increased momentum after the first 50m
-increased energy availability/production in muscle fibres that are not trained in the gym
-impoved neural control leading to more efficient recruitment and energy expenditure
-improved ability to recruit type IIb which leads to a greater pool of fibres and therefore energy contributing to the run.

I have just hypothesised the above. Anyone have any others ideas or know of anything definate?

Yes, all of the above sound correct.

Speed reserve is the difference top speed and desired race pace. The greater the difference between absolute top speed and actual race pace, the less effort must be exerted to achieve a fixed race pace. Increased top speed lets you last longer in race in which sub-maximal effort plays a role (like a 400m) because it allows you to work at a smaller percentage of that max speed and still maintain the same pace.

It works the other way around too. If you improve your top speed (and therefore, your speed reserve) you can increase race pace while maintaining the same deceleration rate (once SE becomes a factor) you had before you improved your top speed (and speed reserve).

Good post sprinterl!

All good points. A higher top speed will always make a given lower speed easier (less effort) But remember this is a one-way street. IE Higher top speed yields greater speed reserve at a give pace, and, therefore, better Special Endurance results for the same training BUT greater endurance does NOT yield greater top speed.

how would the concept of speed reserve as related to speed dynamics and Speed/Special Endurance would apply to the sport of swimming?

Pleas4e consider that in in the pool - unlikely on the track - we have Top Speed right at the start of any pool length (1. after the starting dive carrying flight speed into the water,and 2. after each push off from the walls),and since then best opportunity is TO MAINTAIN as much speed as possible,therefore minimizing decelerations/reaccelerations.

Any further discussion of the topic by anyone interested in how the Speed Reserve concept apply in different sports,and related training implications is much welcome.


There would be a speed reserve benefit but it would, of course, be smaller because of the nature of the speeds involved and the performance time multiple

Track and Swimming have very similar training concepts but speed reserve is tricky.

Track-from 0 sprinting then speed endurance
Swimming- from 0- entry to preserving speed off the start and walls.

I would argue that speed underwater and maximal strenth will be vital in 2008. While swimming is 4 times longer time wise, maximal absolute strength is starting to be the norm since walls are faster due to elimination work and dolphin kicking is from the top part of the spine and transfering through the core.

The fastest swimmer allways wins and maximal speed with efficiency in that zone will be outcome.

Thanks Charlie.