Seasonal variations in endurance performance, and aerobic and anaerobic variables in competitive cross country skiers
Cross country skiing is known as an endurance sport and both aerobic and anaerobic systems have a major impact on performance in cross country skiers. Coaches and athletes use periodized training programs to optimize physiological adaptations and increase performance. Knowing how the major aerobic and anaerobic variables change during the course of one ski season will allow better implementation of training programs. This study examined variations in endurance performance, and how that relates to the variation in different aerobic and anaerobic variables. There were 19 subjects in the study, 11 male and 8 female. All subjects were competitive cross country skiers. The study took place over the course of one training/competitive year and was split into four different testing periods. Periods took place in May, July/August, October/November and April. The first test was a long maximal aerobic capacity test that looked at time to exhaustion (TTE), peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), aerobic threshold (VO2AT), anaerobic threshold (VO2ANT), and submaximal economy (V1, V2). The second test was a shorter rollerski treadmill test looking at maximal anaerobic skiing speed (MASS). There was a significant increase in TTE (7.4% ± 7.2), VO2ANT (4.8% ± 8.7), and MASS (7.1% ± 4.1) through the preparation periods 1-3 (p < 0.05). There was a small decrease in V1 (-2.8% ± 4.7) and V2 (-2.8% ± 4.2) submaximal economy between periods 1-3 (p < 0.05). There was also no significant variation in VO2peak or VO2AT during any periods in the study. VO2peak (r = 0.820, p < 0.01), VO2ANT (r = 0.795, p < 0.01), and MASS (r = 0.687, p < 0.01) were significantly correlated with TTE. The major findings of the study showed that there was an increase in endurance performance during the preparation phase of training. Endurance performance was correlated with VO2peak, VO2ANT, and MASS. With the significant variation in VO2ANT and MASS during the year, athletes and coaches should focus on trying to increase the anaerobic threshold and neuromuscular performance using a periodized training program. ...
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