The introduction of a female observer caused a significant decrease in RPE (Ratings of Perceived Exertion) , whereas the introduction of a male observer caused a significant increase in RPE compared to the control trial. -Observer effects on the rating of perceived exertion and affect during exercise in recreationally active males.
MY COMMENT: Imagine lowering perceived exertion with no additional training! The problem is, how do you take advantage of women spectators without it having the same effect on your competitiors. Somebody needs to take a look at the effect of having them cheering individual names.
I am also curious if how they dress makes a difference, if men observers would have the same effect on women runners, and if a lower perceived exertion actually translates to faster times.