Date of Award


Document Type

Access Controlled Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Matthew Moran, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

James Hokanson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Joy L. Hendrick, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to explore how the menstrual cycle affects perceived exertion during treadmill running. A secondary purpose of this study was to explore how the menstrual cycle affects running economy. More specifically, the two purposes of this study were to compare male and female perceived exertion during a VO2max test and 80% sub maximal tests and to examine how the menstrual cycle affects female perceived exertion and running economy. A total of ten runners voluntarily participated in the study. All participants were tested to determine their VO2max. Individual testing protocol was designed for 80% of maximum effort in which participants ran a series of 4 sub maximal runs on a treadmill. Throughout the duration of the study, each female participant was asked to chart their menstrual cycle. Results showed that the menstrual cycle did not significantly affect rate of perceived exertion (RPE) or running economy (RE) during the menstrual cycle. However, the standard deviation revealed more variance between men and women in regards to RPE (0.982) vs. RE (0.34). Therefore, suggesting there are variables affecting how women rate their perceived exertion. The possibility of implementing an individualized training protocol based on the runner’s menstrual cycle may lead to improvements that would not have been achieved without taking this into consideration. Small sample size plays an important role in the lack of significance. As a result, continued research with larger sample sizes need to be continued to analyze these important initiatives.