Effect of spatial and temporal cues on athletic pacing in schoolchildren

Camilla Chinnasamy, Alan St Clair Gibson, Dominic Micklewright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To compare pacing and performance of schoolchildren between running tasks where the end point was defined in units of either distance or time. Methods: Thirty-eight schoolchildren (age = 12.6 T 0.5 yr, mass = 46.2 T 7.5 kg, stature = 150 T 7 cm) first performed a best-effort 750-m running task on a 150-m running track. The schoolchildren were split into two groups, matched for sex, age, and running performance, before completing the second running trial. One group repeated the 750-m running task (distance–distance group), whereas the other completed a running task to a time that had been matched to their previous 750-m performance (distance–time group). Pace was measured every 10% segment throughout each run. Results: No difference between trials in average running speed was found among the distance–distance group (13.64 T 1.59 vs 13.68 T 1.62 kmIhj1, P 9 0.05); however, the distance–time group were slower during the time task compared with during the distance task (13.84 T 1.61 vs 13.37 T 1.57 kmIhj1, P G 0.005). There was no difference in pacing pattern between trials among the distance– distance group (P 9 0.05), but the distance–time group exhibited a slower overall slower pace with no end spurt (P G 0.0001). During the time task, children looked at their watches more frequently the nearer they got to the end point (Q = 0.933, P G 0.0001). Conclusions: Schoolchildren find it easier to use spatial cues during a pacing task compared with temporal cues. Running pace in all trials followed a classic U-shaped pattern; however, lap-by-lap oscillations in pacing substrategies were also evident, which may be a psychological coping strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-402
JournalMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


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