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Long Track Speed Skating

Skaters participate in both Long Track and Short Track Speed Skating according to the Long Term Participant and Athlete Development Plan.

Long Track is completed on a 400m oval skating surface. Most Long Track Ovals in Canada are outside and skaters contend with weather and the elements while they race in pairs (Olympic Style) or in Mass Starts. An elegant sport, Long Track Speed Skaters glide along the surface of the ice on blades up to 45cm long with seemingly little effort. Younger skaters gain experience in both the Olympic Style 100m races and in longer Mass Start races and work hard to develop a good skating form.

Long Track Meets

For long track meets, skin suits are desirable but any close-fitting clothing will suffice. Under the skin suits, skaters usually wear (long) underwear of some sort. Underwear that whisks away moisture (LIFA, for instance) is the best. Aside from that, warm mitts are usually a good idea, as well as sports glasses to protect the eyes from ice, snow and wind. For many skaters, a warm-up suit is also a very good idea, as it allows for longer warm-ups and more comfort during the pre-race time period.

At practices, the situation is a bit different. Aerodynamics are not quite as important and warmth becomes a more critical issue. Dressing in layers is highly recommended. For the upper body, that should include a full set of underwear, another shirt or sweater, and a windbreaker of some sort. A neck gator or other face protector often helps. For the legs, a warm pair of tights with long underwear underneath is a good idea. On the feet, boot covers provide extra warmth on cold nights.

Mass Start

This form of racing, used in both short and long track, has up to six skaters race against each other on a single lane/track.

Olympic Style

This is a style of long track racing where two skaters race in separate lanes, at the same time, against each other and the clock. Each skater stays in his or her own lane, crossing over to the other lane at a predetermined point on the backstretch of each lap (to make the distances traveled equal). Ranking is based on finish times for all competitors (i.e. a skater who wins his or her pairing might come in 3rd overall).

More information on Long Track from Speed Skating Canada: