Effect of Goal Type (Distance vs. Duration) on Self-Selected Exercise Intensity

  • Steven Wininger WKU
  • Ariana Kuhn
Keywords: goals; distance; time; duration; self-selected intensity; attentional focus


The focus of the two studies was to examine the impact of duration versus distance goals on self-selected exercise intensity. In study one, participants (N = 64) completed two exercise bouts on a lab treadmill, a ten-minute and a one-mile. Participants chose significantly faster speeds during the distance bout compared to the duration bout (h2 = .55). In a second study conducted in a student health and activities center, participants (N = 33) completed a two-mile bout and a 20-minute bout on an indoor track exactly one week apart. Again, participants selected significantly faster speeds during the distance bout (h2 = .40). Sex differences were found across both studies. The impact of goal types was more pronounced for males. Attentional focus emerged as a potential explanatory variable for differences in goal conditions. Applied implications for practitioners and researchers, limitations, and ideas for future research are discussed.


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