A three-dimensional framework of perceived fatigability emphasises the need to differentiate between the qualitatively distinct inputs of sensory-discriminatory, affective-motivational and cognitive-evaluative processes that shape the perceptual milieu during prolonged endurance exercise. This article reviews the framework's utility to better understand how cause–effect relationships come to be and how perception–action coupling underpins pacing behaviour and performance fatigability. Preliminary evidence supports the hypotheses that perceived strain plays a primary role in trajectory regulation of pacing behaviour, core affect plays a primary and mediatory role in behavioural performance regulation, and the mindset shift associated with an action crisis plays a primary role in the intensity dependent volitional self-regulatory control of conflicting motivational drives. The constructs hypothesised to underpin perceived fatigability are systematically linked, context-dependent, constraint-based, distinguishable and show proportional continuous interdependency. They are further interrelated with dynamic changes in pacing behaviour, performance fatigability and physiological disturbance. Appropriate measurement selections for the subordinate constructs perceived physical strain, perceived mental strain, valence, arousal, action crisis and flow state are discussed. To better understand the non-proportional discontinuous effects of fatigue on discrete shifts in thought states and mindsets, non-linear dynamical systems theory is introduced as an unbiased overarching theory of governing principles in the temporal evolution of complex systems. This provides the opportunity to discuss the bio-psycho-social fatigue phenomenon from a dynamical and holistic perspective. The proposed framework offers a sophisticated alternative to the Gestalt concept of perceived exertion and comprehensively accounts for the psychophysiological processes that determine pacing behaviour and performance. It has the potential to enrich theory development and facilitate a deeper understanding of the psychophysiological regulation of goal-directed exercise behaviour.
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