A lot of information exists on the impact of training programs and nutrition in endurance performance in athletes. The impact of psychological factors on the endurance performance often remains underexposed.
Endurance performance improvement occurs when the athlete has learned how to imagine a positive course of the race, motivating and speaking to himself and to set targets. Also, the direct competition with one another athlete and encouragement of spectators have a positive effect. Mental fatigue on the other hand has a negative impact on endurance performance.
A review of 25 studies follows that training of psychological skills such as imagination of a positive race, neurolinguistic programming or setting goals, have a positive effect on endurance performance.
Another survey shows that external motivation, including direct competition with another athlete and verbal encouragement before and during the competition have a positive effect on endurance performance. In addition, it appears that mental fatigue has a negative impact on the endurance performance.
The studies revealed that there are several psychological factors that have a positive effect on endurance performance. It is unclear whether the learning of several mental skills at the same time has a better effect on endurance performance than learning just one mental skill. It has indeed also been found that mental fatigue has a negative impact on endurance performance. The
prevailing view is that both positive and negative effects are caused by psychological skills and factors that affect the perceived level of exhaustion. Mental fatigue shall in particular provide a higher perceived level of exhaustion, causing the athlete to underperform and encouragement provides a lower perceived level of exhaustion and the athlete performs better.