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Modelling perception-action coupling in the phenomenological experience of “hitting the wall” during long-distance running with exercise-induced muscle damage in highly trained runners

Venhorst, Andreas and Micklewright, Dominic P and Noakes, Timothy D (2018) 'Modelling perception-action coupling in the phenomenological experience of “hitting the wall” during long-distance running with exercise-induced muscle damage in highly trained runners.' Sports Medicine - Open, 4 (1). ISSN 2199-1170

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Abstract

Background “Hitting the wall” (HTW) can be understood as a psychophysiological stress process characterised by (A) discrete and poignant onset, (B) dynamic interplay between physiological, affective, motivational, cognitive, and behavioural systems, and (C) unintended alteration of pace and performance. A preceding companion article investigated the psychophysiological responses to 20-km self-paced treadmill time trials after producing exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) via a standardised muscle-lengthening contraction protocol. Methods A 5-step procedure was applied determining the extent to which the observed data fit the hypothesised cause-effect relationships. Running with EIMD negatively impacts performance fatigability via (A) amplified physiological responses and a non-adaptive distress response and (B) deterioration in perceived fatigability: increase in perceived physical strain precedes decrease in valence, which in turn precedes increase in action crisis, eventually dissolving the initially aspired performance goal. Results First, haematological indicators of EIMD predicted increased blood cortisol concentration, which in turn predicted increased performance fatigability. Second, perceived physical strain explained 44% of the relationship between haematological indicators of EIMD and valence, which in turn predicted increased action crisis, which in turn predicted increased performance fatigability. The observed data fitted the hypothesised dual-pathway model well with good model-fit indices throughout. Conclusions The hypothesised interrelationships between physiological strain, perception, and heuristic and deliberative decision-making processes in self-regulated and goal-directed exercise behaviour were applied, tested, and confirmed: amplified physiological strain and non-adaptive distress response as well as strain-perception-thinking-action coupling impact performance fatigability. The findings provide novel insights into the psychophysiological processes that underpin the phenomenological experience of HTW and alteration in pacing behaviour and performance.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Structural equation modelling, Mediation analysis, Pacing behaviour, Perceived fatigability, Performance fatigability, Central regulation, Decision-making
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2019 12:34
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2019 12:34
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23971

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