Performance and Micro-Pacing Strategies in a Freestyle Cross-Country Skiing Distance Race

Craig A. Staunton, Steffi L. Colyer, Øyvind Karlsson, Mikael Swarén, Simo Ihalainen, Kerry McGawley

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4 Citations (SciVal)


This study examined the micro-pacing strategies during a distance freestyle cross-country (XC) skiing competition. Nine female and 10 male highly trained XC skiers wore a GNSS device during a FIS-sanctioned race. The course was ~4900 m; women completed two-laps; men completed three-laps. The course was divided into uphill (S1, S3, S5, S7), downhill (S2, S4, S6, S8), and flat (S9) sections for analyses. Statistical parametric mapping was used to determine the course positions (clusters) where total race time or section time was significantly associated with instantaneous skiing speed. Total race time was associated with instantaneous skiing speed during a cluster in S1 on lap 2 for both sexes (t ≥ 5.899, p ≤ 0.008). The two longest uphill sections (S1; S5) and the flat section (S9) contained clusters where section times were related to instantaneous skiing speed for both sexes (p < 0.05). The fastest woman gained 6.9 s on the slowest woman during a cluster in S1 on lap 1 and 7.3 s during a cluster in S9 on lap 1. The fastest man gained 51.7 s on the slowest man over all clusters in S5 over the 3 laps combined. Compared to skiers with longer total race times, skiers with shorter race times skied with faster instantaneous speeds in some clusters of the uphill sections, as well as on the flat section of the course. This study also identified different relative micro-pacing strategies for women and men during freestyle distance XC skiing races. Finally, statistical parametric mapping analyses can help to identify individual strengths and weaknesses for guiding training programs and optimise competition pacing strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number834474
JournalFrontiers in Sports And Active Living
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2022


  • GNSS
  • GPS
  • skate skiing
  • statistical parametric mapping
  • tactics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Anthropology
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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