Hanson, N. J., & Buckworth, J. (2014). Sex differences in time perception during self-paced running. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(5), Supplement abstract number 2267.

red line

The perception of time during exercise, which may be affected by intensity, is likely to influence long-term adherence and the overall level of enjoyment. However, little is known about how individuals perceive the passage of time during exercise, or if any sex differences exist, as have been found for other events.

This study determined if treadmill running with or without a known endpoint is able to elicit any gender-related differences in perception of time or self-selected intensity in experienced runners (M = 11; F = 11). Ss performed in two conditions: 1) a run with an unknown endpoint that was relative to the S (calculated based on their running history); and 2) a run over the same distance with the knowledge of the endpoint. In both conditions Ss were able to self-pace but received no feedback and were blind to speed, distance, and elapsed time. Sixty-second prospective time estimations were taken before and after, as well as three times during the run (at 33%, 66% and 90% of the completed distance) and divided by 60 (seconds) to obtain time-estimation ratios. Heart rates were recorded throughout testing.

Females ran at a significantly higher percentage of their maximum heart rate in both conditions. There were no gender-differences in time estimations between endpoint conditions. There was a significant main effect of gender on time-estimations. Females consistently underestimated prospective time segments compared to males.

Implication. When given the opportunity to self-pace, females choose to run at a higher intensity than males, and consistently report relatively lower prospective time estimations, perceiving time to be passing by more slowly compared to males.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.

red line