Performance-Determining Variables in Long-Distance Events: Should They Be Determined From a Rested State or After Prolonged Submaximal Exercise?

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Performance-determining variables are usually measured from a rested state and not after prolonged exercise, specific to when athletes compete for the win in long-distance events. Purpose: (1) To compare cross-country skiing double-poling (DP) performance and the associated physiological and biomechanical performance-determining variables between a rested state and after prolonged exercise and (2) to investigate whether the relationship between the main performance-determining variables and DP performance is different after prolonged submaximal DP than when tested from a rested state. Methods: Male cross-country skiers (N = 26) performed a blood lactate profile test and an incremental test to exhaustion from a rested state on day 1 (D1; all using DP) and after 90-minute submaximal DP on day 2 (D2). Results: The DP performance decreased following prolonged submaximal DP (D1: peak speed = 15.33–20.75 km·h−1, median = 18.1 km·h−1; D2: peak speed = 13.68–19.77 km·h−1, median = 17.8 km·h−1; z = −3.96, P < .001, effect size r = −.77), which coincided with a reduced submaximal gross efficiency and submaximal and peak cycle length, with no significant change in peak oxygen uptake (P = .26, r = .23). The correlation coefficient between D1 cycle length at 12 km·h−1 and D2 performance is significantly smaller than the correlation coefficient between D2 cycle length at 12 km·h−1 and D2 performance (P = .033), with the same result being found for peak cycle length (P < .001). Conclusions: The reduced DP performance after prolonged submaximal DP coincided with a reduced submaximal gross efficiency and shorter peak cycle length. The results indicate that performance-determining variables could be determined after prolonged exercise to gain more valid insight into long-distance DP performance.

Noordhof, Nirenberg, and Sandbakk are with the Center for Elite Sports Research, Dept of Neuromedicine and Movement Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Øfsteng, Hammarström, Hansen, and Rønnestad are with the Section for Health and Exercise Physiology, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Lillehammer, Norway.

Noordhof (dionne.a.noordhof@ntnu.no) is corresponding author.
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