Competition between desired competitive result, tolerable homeostatic disturbance, and psychophysiological interpretation determines pacing strategy
Foster C, de Koning JJ, Hettinga FJ, et al. Competition Between Desired Competitive Result, Tolerable Homeostatic Disturbance, and Psychophysiological Interpretation Determines Pacing Strategy. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2023;18(4):335-346. Published 2023 Feb 27. doi:10.1123/ijspp.2022-0171
Scientific interest in pacing goes back >100 years. Contemporary interest, both as a feature of athletic competition and as a window into understanding fatigue, goes back >30 years. Pacing represents the pattern of energy use designed to produce a competitive result while managing fatigue of different origins. Pacing has been studied both against the clock and during head-to-head competition. Several models have been used to explain pacing, including the teleoanticipation model, the central governor model, the anticipatory-feedback-rating of perceived exertion model, the concept of a learned template, the affordance concept, the integrative governor theory, and as an explanation for "falling behind." Early studies, mostly using time-trial exercise, focused on the need to manage homeostatic disturbance. More recent studies, based on head-to-head competition, have focused on an improved understanding of how psychophysiology, beyond the gestalt concept of rating of perceived exertion, can be understood as a mediator of pacing and as an explanation for falling behind. More recent approaches to pacing have focused on the elements of decision making during sport and have expanded the role of psychophysiological responses including sensory-discriminatory, affective-motivational, and cognitive-evaluative dimensions. These approaches have expanded the understanding of variations in pacing, particularly during head-to-head competition.