Further Evidence for an External Focus of Attention in Running: Looking at Specific Focus Instructions and Individual Differences

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Although attentional focusing in sports has been broadly investigated, the findings vary when it comes to endurance sports. This study provides a comparison between relevant foci in the literature of running economy. These include two internal foci—one addressing automated processes (running movement) and the other nonautomated processes (internal body signals and perceived exertion), an external focus (video) and a control condition. Furthermore, we investigated the influence of interoceptive sensitivity on oxygen consumption within the different attention conditions. Thirty recreational runners performed a four 6-min run at moderate intensity consisting of the four counterbalanced conditions. Running economy was assessed by spiroergometry, and interoception was measured using a heartbeat tracking task. Results revealed a significantly better running economy for the external focus of attention compared with all other conditions. No significant correlations were observed between the heartbeat perception score and oxygen consumption in any condition.

Antje Hill, Linda Schücker, and Bernd Strauß are with the Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Münster, Münster, Germany. Norbert Hagemann is with the Institute of Sports and Sports Science, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany.

Address author correspondence to Antje Hill at antje.hill@uni-muenster.de.
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