Interval running with self-selected recovery: Physiology, performance, and perception
Phillips, Shaun M.
Gibson, Neil V.
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McEwan, G., Arthur, R., Phillips, S.M., Gibson, N.V. and Easton, C. (2018) 'Interval running with self-selected recovery: Physiology, performance, and perception', European Journal of Sport Science, 18(8), pp. 1058-1067.
This study (1) compared the physiological responses and performance during a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session incorporating externally regulated (ER) and self-selected (SS) recovery periods and (2) examined the psychophysiological cues underpinning SS recovery durations. Following an incremental maximal exercise test to determine maximal aerobic speed (MAS), 14 recreationally active males completed 2 HIIT sessions on a non-motorised treadmill. Participants performed 12 × 30 s running intervals at a target intensity of 105% MAS interspersed with 30 s (ER) or SS recovery periods. During SS, participants were instructed to provide themselves with sufficient recovery to complete all 12 efforts at the required intensity. A semi-structured interview was undertaken following the completion of SS. Mean recovery duration was longer during SS (51 ± 15 s) compared to ER (30 ± 0 s; p < .001; d = 1.46 ± 0.46). Between-interval heart rate recovery was higher (SS: 19 ± 9 b min−1; ER: 8 ± 5 b min−1; p < .001; d = 1.43 ± 0.43) and absolute time ≥90% maximal heart rate (HRmax) was lower (SS: 335 ± 193 s; ER: 433 ± 147 s; p = .075; d = 0.52 ± 0.39) during SS compared to ER. Relative time ≥105% MAS was greater during SS (90 ± 6%) compared to ER (74 ± 20%; p < .01; d = 0.87 ± 0.40). Different sources of afferent information underpinned decision-making during SS. The extended durations of recovery during SS resulted in a reduced time ≥90% HRmax but enhanced time ≥105% MAS, compared with ER exercise. Differences in the afferent cue utilisation of participants likely explain the large levels of inter-individual variability observed.