Pacing adjustments associated with familiarization: Heat versus temperate environments

Publication Type:
Journal Article
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 2016, 11 (7), pp. 855 - 860
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© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc. Purpose: To describe the effect of the initial perceptual experience from heat familiarization on the pacing profle during a freepaced endurance time trial (TT) compared with temperate conditions. Methods: Two groups of well-trained triathletes performed two 20-km TTs in either hot (35°C and 50% relative humidity [RH], n = 12) or temperate (21°C and 50% RH, n = 22) conditions, after standardization of training for each group before both trials. To ensure no physiological acclimation differences between conditions, the TTs for both groups were separated by 11 ± 4 d. Results: Performance improvement in the heat (11 ± 24 W) from the 1st to 2nd trial appeared comparable to that in temperate conditions (8 ± 14 W, P =.67). However, the specifc alteration in pacing profle in the heat was markedly different than temperate conditions, with a change from "positive" to an "even" pacing strategy. Conclusions: Altered perceptions of heat during heat familiarization, rather than physiological acclimatization per se, may mediate initial changes in pacing and TT performance in the heat. These results highlight the need for athletes without time for suffcient heat acclimatization to familiarize themselves with hot conditions to reduce the uncertainty from behavior-based outcomes that may impede performance.
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