Objective To investigate how experience and feedback influence pacing and performance during time trial cycling.
Design Twenty-nine cyclists performed three 20 km cycling time trials using a Computrainer. The first two time trials (TT1 and TT2) were performed (1) without any performance feedback (n = 10), (2) with accurate performance feedback (n = 10) or (3) with false feedback showing the speed to be 5% greater than the actual speed (n = 9). All participants received full feedback during the third time trial (TT3), and their performance and pacing data were compared against TT2.
Results Completion time, average power and average speed did not change among the false feedback group, but their pacing strategy did change as indicated by a lower average cadence, 89.2 (SD 5.2) vs 96.4 (6.8) rpm, p<0.05, and higher power during the first 5 km (SMD = 39, 36, 36, 27 and 27 W for 1–5 km respectively). Pacing changed among the blind feedback group indicated by a faster completion time, 35.9 (3.1) vs 36.8 (4.4) min, p<0.05, and power increases during the final 5 km (SMD = 14, 13, 18, 23 and 53 W for 16–20 km respectively). No performance or pacing changes were observed among the accurate feedback group.
Conclusions Pacing is influenced by an interaction between feedback and previous experience. Conscious cognitive processes that lead to ratings of perceived exertion and pacing appear to be influenced by previous experience.
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