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Speed Skating 101

Types of Speed Skating

Short track - skaters move in a counterclockwise direction on a 100 m track or (for more advanced skaters) a 111 m track. Some races are only one lap of the track, while others are 15 laps or more! There can be anywhere from 1 to 8 skaters in each race, all jostling for first position and the inside lane!  It is fast-paced and super fun to watch.


Long track - skaters move in a counterclockwise direction on a 400 m track.  These skaters are marathoners... pushing themselves to keep going, no matter how tired they get!  Long track races may have many skaters on the ice at a time - unless the race is "Olympic Style".  In an Olympic Style race, there are only two skaters on the ice at a time.  Distances of races can be up to 10 000 m in length!


Speed skaters wear special skates that have long, sharp blades.  For both short track and long track skates, hand sharpening is essential.  In addition to skates, speed skaters wear cut-proof, one-piece suits called "skin suits".  They also wear a helmet, gloves, goggles, ankle guards, and a neck guard.


Speed skating competitions are called "meets".  Meets can be designated as short track or long track.  Ability meets ("fun meets") have skaters competing against skaters who have similar times to them.  This might result in races with skaters ranging in age from 6 to 16.  Sanctioned meets are a bit more serious (but still a lot of fun!).  Skaters race against other athletes who are close to their age while officials, time keepers, and coaches monitor their every stride.

Meets are a great time for skaters to connect with athletes from their own club and from other clubs in the province - and, in many cases, with skaters from across the country.


The Regina Speed Skating Club encourages athletes to participate in speed skating camps throughout the season.  Local, provincial, and western Canadian camps offer skaters the chance to work with many different coaches and athletes to take their skills to the next level.  Camps may include social events, mental training, nutrition counselling, dryland, cycling, and ice time. In addition to improving their performance, skaters always build lots of friendships and fond memories at these events.

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