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Sex differences in performance and pacing strategies during a sprint time-trial in cross-country skiing
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences. (Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4433-1218
Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, La Trobe University, Australia.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6224-0454
Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, United Kingdom.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Health Sciences. (Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1273-6061
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

INTRODUCTION: The aim of this study was to compare the pacing strategies, choice of sub-technique (i.e., gear) and overall performance between elite male and female cross-country (XC) skiers during a ski-skating sprint time-trial (TT) on snow.

METHODS: Thirty-four elite XC skiers (20 males and 14 females: age, 23 ± 4 and 21 ± 3 yr; body mass, 76 ± 8 and 64 ± 5 kg; height, 183 ± 7 and 171 ± 5 cm; sprint FIS points, 86 ± 42 and 90 ± 54) performed a 1.6 km TT, which was 56% flat (or undulating), 21% uphill and 22% downhill. The sprint course was measured with a differential global navigation satellite system and divided into four flat, three uphill and two downhill sections. Race time was measured with the EMIT timing system (Emit AS, Oslo, Norway) and one 25-m uphill (4°) section was filmed continuously with a fixed camcorder (50 Hz). All skiers used a similar stone-grind and all skis were glide-waxed similarly. The air temperature was +1°C (fresh snow at ±0°C), relative humidity was 90% and the friction coefficient between ski and snow was estimated to 0.045 (i.e., very slow).

RESULTS: Average speed during the TT was 25 ± 1 and 22 ± 1 km/h (TT time: 227 ± 11 and 254 ± 10 s) for males and females, respectively (P < 0.001, Cohen’s d effect size [ES] = 2.6). Average relative power output (PO) was estimated to 3.9 ± 0.3 and 3.3 ± 0.2 W/kg for males and females, respectively (P < 0.001, ES = 2.5). Average heart rate was 95 ± 2% and 96 ± 1% of maximum for males and females (P = 0.51), with a 2-min post-race blood lactate concentration of 10 ± 2 mmol/L for both sexes (P = 0.64). Within-athlete coefficient of variation in speed between sections was 20 ± 2% for males and 24 ± 1% for females (P < 0.001, ES = 2.6). Speeds on the flat, uphill and downhill sections were 26 ± 1, 19 ± 1 and 32 ± 1 km/h for males and 23 ± 1, 16 ± 1 and 30 ± 1 km/h for females (main effects for terrain, sex and interaction, all P < 0.01) corresponding to 9%, 16% and 8% slower speeds on flat, uphill and downhill terrain for females. Speeds relative to the average TT speed were 103 ± 1%, 77 ± 2% and 129 ± 4% for males and 105 ± 1%, 72 ± 2% and 133 ± 2% for females (main effects for terrain, sex and interaction, all P < 0.001). Relative PO on the flat, uphill and downhill sections were estimated to 4.0 ± 0.3, 4.9 ± 0.4 and 1.9 ± 0.2 W/kg for males and 3.5 ± 0.2, 4.0 ± 0.3 and 1.5 ± 0.2 W/kg for females (main effects for terrain, sex and interaction, all P < 0.001). The males were 20% faster than the females on the uphill video section (16 ± 1 versus 13 ± 1 km/h, P < 0.001, ES = 2.6), with 95% of the male skiers and 21% of the female skiers using gear 3 exclusively, and the remaining skiers using gear 2 exclusively or a combination of gears 2 and 3.

CONCLUSION: The present results indicate an overall sex difference in sprint skiing performance of ~12% and reveal differences in terrain-specific pacing as well as gear choice between sexes with females showing a higher overall variation in speed and considerably slower uphill skiing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-34772OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-34772DiVA, id: diva2:1258074
Conference
Paper presented at the 23d annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science ECSS, Dublin, 4-7th July, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-23 Created: 2018-10-23 Last updated: 2018-10-24Bibliographically approved

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Andersson, Erik P.Govus, AndrewMcGawley, Kerry

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