Perceptual responses and running performance during treadmill and overground self-paced interval running in moderately active adults
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Background: Perceptual responses (affect, enjoyment and perceived exertion) and exercise performance (running speed) during self-paced continuous running are dependent on environmental setting (treadmill vs overground), but these observations remain unclear during interval exercise. We examined the running speed, affect, enjoyment, and perceived exertion to self-paced interval running (IR) with different environmental settings in adults. Methods: Twelve moderately active men and women (6 women, 21.3 ± 1.7 years) unfamiliar with interval exercise performed two counterbalanced self-paced IR (8 x 1-min work intervals separated by 75 s recovery) under two different conditions: Treadmill IR and Overground IR. Affect was recorded before, during, and after exercise. Heart rate (HR) and perceived exertion were recorded throughout the exercise trials and enjoyment responses were collected following the exercise trials. Results: Overground IR elicited greater running speed and perceived exertion compared to Treadmill IR during work intervals 1 to 4 (P<0.01, ES=2.49-0.39) and 1 to 8 (P<0.001, ES=0.55-0.91), respectively. HR was also significantly greater in Overground IR than Treadmill IR during work intervals 1 to 5 (P<0.001, ES=2.91-1.73). Affect was lower in Overground IR compared to Treadmill IR during work intervals 5 to 8 (P<0.01; ES=0.83-1.16). Similar post-enjoyment was evident in both conditions (P=0.24; ES=0.35). Conclusions: Perceptual responses during interval running are not solely influenced by the environmental setting but predominantly by exercise performance (running speed) derived from the distinct exercise conditions. Treadmill IR offers greater affect and lower perceived exertion which may serve as an initial strategy for facilitating participation in interval running exercise particularly for those unfamiliar with this form of exercise.
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