University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Athletic Races Represent Complex Systems, and Pacing Behavior Should Be Viewed as an Emergent Phenomenon

Renfree, Andrew ORCID: and Casado, A. (2018) Athletic Races Represent Complex Systems, and Pacing Behavior Should Be Viewed as an Emergent Phenomenon. Frontiers in Physiology, 9. p. 1432. ISSN Online: 1664-042X


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Pacing is the manner in which effort is distributed over the duration of an exercise bout, and is an important determinant of the extent to which individual potential is realized during athletic races. Observed pacing behaviors are thought to result from complex decision-making processes, and several models have been proposed that may explain the manner in which these decisions are made. In this article we argue that examination of individual factors implicated in the regulation of pacing is unlikely to allow full understanding of the events leading to pacing and performance. Rather than utilizing such a reductionist approach, it is suggested that athletic races be viewed as complex systems, and that pacing behavior is an emergent phenomenon that cannot be fully understood through study of components of the system in isolation. We describe and discuss known and potential interactions between determinants of pacing during races, and conclude with a call for the development of novel research methodologies that may further understanding of the manner in which observed behaviors emerge.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

The full-text of the online published article can be accessed via the official URL.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: decision-making, pacing, endurance, emergence, competitions
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
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Copyright Info: Open Access
Depositing User: Andrew Renfree
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2018 12:27
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2020 04:00

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