Garcin, M., Mille-Hamard, L., & Billat, V. (2004). Influence of aerobic fitness level on measured and estimated perceived exertion during exhausting runs. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 25, 270-277.

This study investigated the effects of fitness level on perceived exertion (RPE) and estimated time limit (ETL) scales during exhausting runs and the prediction of time to exhaustion using RPE and ETL values collected during a constant run exercise. High endurance fitness (N = 8) and moderate endurance fitness (N = 12) males performed two exhausting exercises on a 400-m track. A graded exercise was performed to determine VO2max, velocity at VO2max, velocity at lactate threshold, and velocity half way between VO2max and lactate threshold. The second test was a constant run at velocity half way between VO2max and lactate threshold to exhaustion.

Moderately fit athletes perceived exertion to be more strenuous and predicted time to exhaustion to be shorter than fit athletes. There was no effect of fitness level on perceived exertion for a given relative exercise duration. RPE corresponding to velocity at lactate threshold was similar for both groups. Aerobic fitness level seemed to influence perceived exertion in graded exercise. Perceived exertion at the beginning of a submaximal constant run exercise is not a sensitive predictor of duration to exhaustion.

Implication. RPE and ETL are not good predictors of performance to exhaustion in graded and constant running exercise.

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