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Br J Sports Med. 2005 Oct;39(10):742-6; discussion 742-6.

Effect of anticipation during unknown or unexpected exercise duration on rating of perceived exertion, affect, and physiological function.

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  • 1University of Southampton, Southampton, Hampshire, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine the effect of unknown exercise duration and an unexpected increase in exercise duration on rating of perceived exertion (RPE), affect, and running economy during treadmill running.

METHODS:

Sixteen well trained male and female runners completed three bouts of treadmill running at 75% of their peak treadmill running speed. In the first trial, they were told to run for 20 minutes and were stopped at 20 minutes (20 MIN). In another trial, they were told to run for 10 minutes, but at 10 minutes were told to run for a further 10 minutes (10 MIN). In the final trial, they were not told for how long they would be running but were stopped after 20 minutes (unknown, UN). During each of the running bouts, RPE, oxygen consumption (ml/kg/min), heart rate (beats/min), stride frequency (min(-1)), affect scores (arbitrary units), and attentional focus (percentage associative thought scores) were recorded.

RESULTS:

RPE increased significantly between 10 and 11 minutes in the 10 MIN compared with the 20 MIN and UN trials (p<0.05). The affect score decreased significantly between 10 and 11 minutes in the 10 MIN compared with the 20 MIN trial (p<0.05). Running economy, as measured by oxygen consumption, was significantly lower in the UN compared with the 20 MIN trial from 10 to 19 minutes (p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The change in RPE between 10 and 11 minutes in the 10 MIN trial suggests that RPE is not purely a measure of physical exertion, as treadmill speed was maintained at a constant pace both before and after the unexpected increase in exercise duration. The associated changes in affect score at similar times in the 10 MIN trial supports the hypothesis that RPE has an affective component.

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