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External exercise information provides no immediate additional performance benefit to untrained individuals in time trial cycling
  1. C A Williams1,
  2. S D Bailey1,
  3. A R Mauger2
  1. 1Children's Health & Exercise Research Centre, Sport & Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  2. 2Endurance Performance Research group, Centre for Sports Studies, University of Kent, Chatham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Associate Professor Craig Williams, Sport & Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK; c.a.williams{at}


Objective To determine the importance of the provision of external exercise information to the setting of the pacing strategy, in subjects unfamiliar with a cycling task.

Design Twenty-two healthy, untrained cyclists (VO2max, 50±9 mL−1·kg−1·min−1) were randomly assigned to a control (CON) group or an experimental (EXP) group and two successive 4 km time trials (TT) were performed, separated by a 17 min recovery. The CON group received distance knowledge and distance feedback; the EXP group received neither, but knew that each TT was to be of the same distance

Results No significant difference in completion time (p>0.05) was observed between the groups for either time to complete TT one (TT1) (CON=443±33 s versus EXP=471±63 s) or time to complete TT two (time trial 2) (CON=461 ±37 s versus EXP=501±94 s). No significant difference in the final RPE was observed between groups. However, a significant interaction for RPE (rating of perceived exertion)×TT in the CON was observed (F7,70=5.32, p<0.05), with significantly higher RPE values in the final kilometre of TT2 (p<0.05).

Conclusion The lack of any performance improvement in either group, despite the differences in exercise information received, indicates both a reliance on the afferent feedback for setting a pacing strategy and slow learning effect from practice in subjects unfamiliar with the task. The modification in RPE profile observed in the CON, despite no performance improvement, suggests exercise perception based changes may pre-empt work rate based changes and thus not immediately translate to improved performance.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Funding None.

  • Ethical approval Institutional ethcis committee of the university.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.