Tactical options of covering 15 km distance in staggered start cross-country skiing race used by Winter Olympic and World Championship winners


PhD, Associate Professor A.V. Shvetsov1
PhD, Associate Professor I.V. Nikishin1
PhD, Associate Professor A.E. Matveyev1
PhD, Associate Professor V.V. Kleshchev1
1Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow

The key tactical fitness component in cyclic endurance sports is the choice of a rational tactical pattern (option) of covering the distance and the use of this tactical pattern depending on the competitive situation.
In this regard, objective of the present study was to analyze the dynamics of competitive speed at the distance of 15 km in the world-class cross-country skiers, which made it possible to identify the optimal cross-country skiing tactics able to become an important factor in increasing the effectiveness of competitive activity and athletic training process.
For this purpose, we processed the data of the final protocols of the World Championships and Winter Olympic Games from 2001 in 15 km ski races from a staggered start, which made it possible to determine the indicators of competitive speed (average and at distance segments) and its dynamics.
The study showed that the world-class cross-country skiers choose a rational tactical pattern of covering the 15 km distance from a staggered start depending on the level of their athletic fitness as well as a large number of specific aspects of cross-country skiing and competitive activity. Most often, in the 15 km staggered start cross-country skiing race, the world-class cross-country skiers use the tactical pattern of "maximum initial acceleration" followed by a smooth (or pronounced) decrease in the competitive speed up to the finish line. This is logical from the point of view of energy supply, as with an increase in the duration of competitive activity, there is also a gradual transition from energy-intensive substrates of glycogen stored in the liver and muscles to less energy-intensive fatty acids.
Therefore, the main tactical actions of cross-country skiers in the 15 km ski races from a staggered start are: powerful starting acceleration, warming-up time, reaching near-maximum speed (at the level between maximal oxygen consumption and anaerobic threshold), and the ability to maintain this speed as long as possible, withstanding fatigue to the maximum degree.
It is this model of speed dynamics at the distance that the authors recommend reproducing during trainings and competitions.

Keywords: tactical training, elite cross-country skiers, 15 km race from a staggered start, tactical options in ski races, speed dynamics.


  1. Platonov V.N. Sistema podgotovki sportsmenov v olimpiyskom sporte. Obshchaya teoriya i ee prakticheskie prilozheniya [Olympic training system: general theory and its practical applications]. Kiev: Olimpiyskaya literatura publ., 2004. 808 p.
  2. Utkin V.L. Biomekhanicheskie osnovy sportivnoy taktiki [Biomechanical foundations of sports tactics]. M.: Fizkultura i sport publ., 1984. 128 p.
  3. Fedotova V.G., Shvetsov A.V. Osnovy takticheskoy podgotovki lyzhnikov-gonshchikov [Basics of tactical training of cross-country skiers]. Teaching aid . Malahovka: MSAPC publ., 2006. 44 p.
  4. Shvetsov A.V. Vybor ratsionalnoy takticheskoy skhemy prokhozhdeniya razlichnykh sorevnovatelnykh distantsiy u lyzhnikov-gonshchikov – chempionov OI i ChM [Choice of rational tactical scheme to pass various competitive distances by cross-country skiers -Olympic Games and World Cup champions]. Problems of sports kinesiology: Proc. Int. scientific conference. Malakhovka: MSAPC publ., 2009. pp. 142-146.
  5. Shvetsov A.V. Takticheskie varianty prokhozhdeniya lyzhnoy gonki s mass-starta na 50 km u pobediteley zimnikh Olimpiyskikh igr i chempionatov mira [Tactical options for skiing from mass 50 km start for Winter Olympic Games and World Championship winners]. Uchenye zapiski universiteta imeni P.F.Lesgafta. 2017. no. 9 (151). pp. 249-252.
  6. Shvetsov A.V. Takticheskaya podgotovlennost i ee realizatsiya v lyzhnykh gonkakh i biatlone [Tactical fitness and its implementation in cross-country skiing and biathlon]. Current trends in the development of theory and methods of physical education, sports and tourism: Proc. II nat. with international participation res.-practical conference. Malakhovka: MSAPC publ., 2018. pp. 398-404.