This study investigated the effect of cognitive fatigue on physical performance in a paced running task. Experienced runners (n = 20) performed two 3,000-m runs on an indoor track, once after cognitive fatigue, and once under nonfatigued conditions. Completion times were significantly slower in the cognitive fatigue condition (M = 12:11,88 min, SD = 0:54,26), compared with the control condition (M = 11:58,56 min, SD = 0:48,39), F(1, 19) = 8.58, p = .009, eta2p = .31. There were no differences in heart rate, t(17) = 0.13, p > .05, blood lactate levels, t(19) = 1.19, p > .05, or ratings of perceived exertion F(1, 19) = .001, p 3 .05. While previous research has examined the impact of cognitive tasks on physical tasks, this is the first study to examine a self-paced physical task, showing that cognitive activity indeed contributes significantly to overall performance. Specifically, cognitive fatigue increased the perception of exertion, leading to lesser performance on the running task.
Clare MacMahon is with the Department of Biomedical and Health Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Linda Schücker is 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. Bernd Strauss is with the Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Münster, Münster, Germany. Address correspondence to Clare MacMahon at firstname.lastname@example.org.