Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2021


Middle-distance running is an interesting domain in which to study sex differences in athletic performance because of the varied metabolic, mechanical and tactical demands. The Anaerobic Speed Reserve (ASR) represents the difference between an athlete’s maximal sprint speed (MSS) and maximal aerobic speed (MAS). The ASR and MSS are key determinants of elite male 800m performance (Sandford et al., 2018); however, the role of the ASR in female middle-distance running is unclear, considering sex differences in physiology, mechanics and competition factors. We found that sub-groups of female middle-distance runners could be distinguished using the ASR and speed reserve ratio (SRR = MSS/MAS), illustrating diversity in metabolic and mechanical profiles. The ASR and MSS had no significant relationship with 800m time; instead, measures of aerobic power appear to underpin 800m performance in this sub-elite female cohort. This information may assist coaches and practitioners to individualize training protocols for female middle-distance runners.


anaerobic speed reserve, maximal sprint speed, maximal aerobic speed, physical performance, sex gap, female athlete

Document Type




Degree Name

Physical Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Health, Exercise, and Sports Sciences

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr Fabiano Amorim

Second Committee Member

Dr Ann Gibson

Third Committee Member

Dr Christine Mermier

Fourth Committee Member

Dr Leonard Kravitz