Distance-dependent association of affect with pacing strategy in cycling time trials.

Hollie S Jones, Emily L Williams, David Marchant, Andy Sparks, Adrian Midgley, Craig Bridge, Lars McNaughton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


The psychological construct of affect is proposed to significantly contribute to pacing decisions during exercise. Borg's RPE scale, another important regulator of work rate, is criticized as an inadequate measure of the multiple perceptual responses experienced. This study aimed to examine power output distribution and associated changes in affect, self-efficacy, perceptual cues, HR, and respiratory gases during both 16.1- and 40-km self-paced cycling time trials (TT). Secondly, the differentiation between physical perceptions of exertion and sense of effort in self-paced exercise was investigated. Method: Fifteen trained male cyclists completed 16.1- and 40-km TT using a CompuTrainer cycle ergometer. Time, power output distribution, affect, self-efficacy, physical RPE (P-RPE), task effort and awareness (TEA), HR, and respiratory gases were measured throughout each TT. Linear mixed models explored associations of these variables with power output distribution and the relationship between P-RPE and TEA. Results: Similar pacing strategies were adopted in the 16.1- and 40-km TT (P = 0.31), and the main effects were found for affect (P = 0.001) and RER (P < 0.001). Interactions between affect (P = 0.037) and RER (P = 0.004), with condition, indicated closer associations with power output distribution in 16.1 km than that in 40 km TT. P-RPE was not significantly different from TEA (P = 0.053). Conclusion: A significant association between affect and power output distribution suggests that affective responses are task dependent even in self-paced exercise, and a greater association is demonstrated in higher intensity, 16.1 km TT. Furthermore, physical perceptions of exertion are not clearly differentiated from the sense of effort in self-paced exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)825-832
Number of pages8
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number4
Early online date1 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2015


  • affective valence
  • exercise regulation
  • perceived exertion
  • power output
  • sense of effort


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