It is important that you score every run, because you will need a complete data set to make accurate connections between particular training inputs (mileage, rate of mileage increase, and so forth) and this affective output. In using this system, you will quickly find that your ratings reflect how your actual feelings (of effort, fitness, and the like) during a run compare to your expectations for that run. Research has shown that exercise enjoyment is broadly determined by these types of comparisons.
For example, in a study that Ross Tucker (mentioned in the previous chapter) conducted at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, runners reported their subjective rating of perceived exertion (RPE) once each minute throughout a series of moderate-intensity treadmill runs.6 In one of these runs, they were told to run for 10 minutes, but at the end of 10 minutes they were told to run for another 10 minutes.
There was a sudden spike in RPE in the 11th minute of this test. That is, when the runnersexpectations for the difficulty of the workout were thwarted, it suddenly felt more difficult. In the second run, the runners were told to run for 20 minutes at the same intensity. There was no spike in RPE at any point in this second run, although it was in fact structurally identical to the first run. The only difference was that this second conformed to their expectations. The mere fact that the first workout was harder than expected made it actually harder.
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