The Role of Self-Belief in Running Performance part 1

  • by

Tuesday 17th January 2017
This morning I made my first of four visits to the University of Kent in Chatham as I have volunteered to participate in a piece of Sports Pyschology research for a PhD student – “The Role of Self-Belief in Running Performance”. I found out about this opportunity through my coach, Mark Hookway of Tonbridge Athletic Club and having taken part in a couple of studies previously I jumped at the chance.

The Medway Building

The building was opened by local double Olympian, Dame Kelly Holmes

The first session involved performing a VO2 max test on a running machine (a VO2 max being a measure of a person’s aerobic fitness) before a short break and then running a good paced 5km on the treadmill. Before I was ‘hooked up’ to the machine for the VO2 test I had my weight measured (63.5kg) and completed a few forms/questionnaires which asked about recent performances and my opinions on certain statements. After a 5 minute warm-up I had a heart rate monitor strapped around my chest and a mask fitted to my face (to measure my oxygen), I also had a harness attached to my upper body in case I lost contact with the treadmill! The aim of the test was to run for as long as possible whilst the incline of the treadmill was increased in increments of 2% almost every minute and I managed to complete 10 out of the 12 minutes as per the below schedule.

Each line represents 1 minute:
10km/h 0% incline (‘warm up phase’)
10km/h 0% incline (‘warm up phase’)
12km/h 0%
12km/h 0%
12km/h 2%
12km/h 4%
12km/h 6%
12km/h 8%
12km/h 10%
13km/h 10% – I was finished after this one!
13km/h 11%
13km/h 12%

My result was a score of 60.1 which I was informed is very good and having looked this up online an excellent score for a male in my age group (26-35) is anything upward of 56. As a side note, a score above 60 in the age group below (18-25) would also have been considered excellent and so I was very pleased with this.

A rather strange-looking statue outside of the building

Apparantly, “a gift to Kent”… thanks!

Prior to completing the 5km time trial, I was provided with a piece of paper which had finish times of 26 minutes up to 15 minutes (ambitious) and I had to write a score on a scale from 0 to 100 as to how likely I felt I could complete each time. Of course, having only just put my body through a rather challenging test I felt my chances of running a reasonable 5km time were limited. However, despite this, I put 100 against all times from 26 to 20 minutes, a score of 80 against 19 minutes (optimistic, considering my PB is 18:53), a score of 5 against 18 minutes (in dreamland) and a big fat zero against 17, 16 & 15 minutes. I had free reign over my pace on the treadmill for the 5km but miscalculated the speed that I would need for a 20 minute 5km (I chose 12km/h, when it should in fact have been 15km/h – I realised this once I was about 1800m in and began to gradually increase the pace throughout)! In hindsight this was probably a blessing in disguise as I do not think that I could have managed a finish of 20 minutes anyway. After each km I was presented with a board which asked (i) what my perceived effort was, (ii) how I felt in myself and (iii) what pain (if any) I was experiencing, each on a scale of -6 to +6. My result was a time of 22:37, which, given that I had already been through a tough VO2 max test and am recovering from a cold I can’t be too upset about.

Next week I return to complete a 5km run on the treadmill as fast as I can following some pre-load questions and I understand that the pace for this and the final two 5km tests will be determined by the researcher. Check my blog next Tuesday for the results and until then, keep on running!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *