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Prior to a marathon race, we conducted a cross sectional study with 122 male and 18 female recreational runners at the Expo. Demographic information, running experience, competition level, training details, goal and finishing times, and PODIUM questionnaire on psychological state variables were collected. Motivation, training volume, experience, and relative performance were comparable between male and female marathon runners. However, men were more ambitious and perceived higher self-confidence and fitness, although overestimated their goals (Mdif = -10.4, SD = 16.7] minutes, p < .001). Women perceived higher social support, reported higher anxiety levels, were more accurate in their estimates (Mdif = -0.1, SD = 17.2 minutes, p = .988). Women were also more open than men to consult with (RR = 3.39, 95% CI [1.14, 10.11]) and to remunerate (RR = 1.47, 95% CI [1.18, 1.83]) sport psychologists. Differences in competitiveness might be explained by orientation to competition, personal identity, gender roles and stereotypes, or other physiologic mechanisms. Together with the tendency in men athletes to less likely seek help, been aware of these tendencies could be of help for both sport psychologists and coaches when working with marathon runners.
A team of 22 volunteer sport psychologists performed a brief psychological intervention with recreational marathon runners at 2016 Valencia Marathon (Spain), which had a participation of more than 19,000 runners. Counseling was delivered at the marathon expo during 2 days prior to competition. The objective of this cross- sectional study was to describe familiarity and preferences regarding counseling delivery, and psychological performance in association to performance level, broken down by demographics. The number of participants was 162, aged M=39.5 years (SD=10.2), 16% females. Median experience as a runner was 6 years (IQR=3–10), although 37% did no run a marathon before. Training was described as 4 days per week (SD=1.3); 65% followed a training program, and 26% had a coach. Personal best time ranged 2h 25 minutes to 5 hours (Median=3h 40 minutes). Less than 10% of runners had previous experience with a sport psychologist. The instruments used were a demographic survey and the Podium questionnaire, in order to assess self-perceived motivation, self- confidence, fitness, social support, and anxiety; each runner had the opportunity to get a report and interview with a specialist. The intervention procedure included information brochures and posters, administration of a demographic survey and the PODIUM questionnaire, and an interview of about ten minutes, which included counseling. The results indicated that psychological variables were within expected values: very high motivation and self-confidence; high fitness and social support; moderate somatic and cognitive anxiety. This counseling model has been shown to be efficient to provide useful assistance to the runners. A half of the participants reported no previous contact with sport psychologists, and just a minority considered counseling with a specialist. Both the practical implications of our findings and the possible ways to optimize service delivery are discussed.
This paper aims to identify the most representative variables of recreational marathon runners' psychological state a few days or hours prior to a race through an analysis of content based on interviews with a sample of expert runners. The sample used and qualitative and deductive analysis procedure are described. The results identified variables such as cognitive anxiety and arousal and self confidence levels in relation to others, such as motivation and perception of physical state, which are included in a theoretical model. Two different models were identified when self-confidence is high or low. A list of possible items for constructing a questionnaire on psychological states before a marathon is suggested.
The marathon psyching teams commonly offer strategies, after a psychological assessment, on how to be mentally prepared for the race. During the intervention, psychologists frequently find runners coming back from injuries or insecure about how much their body can handle. The aim of this study is to examine how injuries and preparation plans could influence how marathon runners set goals. During the two days prior to the race, 111 recreational runners (102 males, 9 females) aged M=39.2 years (SD=9.6) voluntarily accepted to participate in this study before being counseled by sport psychologists at the expo. A survey was electronically administered prior to the interview and consisted of 18 questions including the experience as a marathon runner, the training plan they followed, the appearance of injuries, and the goals for that particular race. The discrepancy between time goals and real performance was calculated. T-tests and correlations were used to assess the relations between variables. No significant difference was found in time goals for completing the race between runners who suffered a recent injury (RI) (M=217.9, SD=31.9 minutes) and who did not suffer recent injuries (NRI) (214.7, SD=29 minutes). The real performance was closer to the goal in the NRI group compared with the RI group (p=0.032, d=0.5). Instead of adjusting the time goal, the RI athletes had significantly lower subjective probability of achieving the time goal than NRI runners (p=0.001, d=0.7). The motivation and commitment for running might have a role in this wrong decision-making. These results reinforce the need of helping athletes better understand the goal setting process through professional counseling.
The purpose of this research was to develop a comprehensive and psychometrically adequate measure of recreational marathon runner’s psychological state during the few days and hours prior to the race. The questionnaire was developed in Spanish. In Study 1, Participants were 1060 recreational runners aged 18-67 years. Exploratory factor analysis revealed five dimensions reflective of motivation, self-confidence, anxiety, perceived physical fitness, and perceived social support. In two subsequent studies, the psychometric properties of a refined version of this measure were examined. In study 2, an independent sample of 801 recreational runners (aged 17-63 years) completed the questionnaire. Confirmatory factor analysis and alternative model testing supported a six-factor model. Internal consistency was .72 to .90. In support of construct validity, the self-confidence scale correlated positively with perceived physical fitness, motivation scale correlated positively with social support and self-confidence, and anxiety correlated negatively with motivation and self-confidence factors. In study 3, an independent sample of 22 recreational marathon runners (aged 28-47 years) responded to the PODIUM and MOMS. Additionally, another independent sample of 36 recreational runners (23-57 years) responded the to PODIUM and CSAI-2 scales. In support of concurrent validity of PODIUM, the motivation scale correlated with MOMS, and the anxiety and the self-confidence scales correlated with CSAI-2.
Recreational endurance sports, and specially the marathon, have risen in number of participants, and therefore more psychological services are demanded from these athletes. Variables such as motivation, self-confidence, and anxiety have been widely studied with these athlete populations. However, since studies of psychological state have been frequently conducted close to the race day, less is known about its dynamics over long preparation periods. Participants Sixteen recreational runners (8 males an 8 females), aged M=37.6 (SD=3.9) trained specifically for a marathon race. After 3 months of regular training over shorter competition distances, a 16-weeks macrocycle was conducted under supervision of a coach. Methods The participants were asked to answer the Podium questionnaire five times along the macrocycle. Motivation, self-confidence, perceived fitness, perceived social support, and somatic and cognitive anxiety subscales were assessed in VAS format of response. One-way repeated measures ANOVAs were used to analyze the changes across time points. Results The athletes showed high and stable motivation and perceived social support levels along the preparation period. Significantly higher levels of perceived fitness were found as the macrocycle progressed (F4,61=15.76, p<0.001,eta2=0.25). Self-confidence increased during the first month of training (t(4)=2.04,p=0.046) and then remained relatively high. Although somatic and cognitive anxiety were initially low, significant increase in somatic anxiety was found as the race was more imminent (F4,61=4.74,p=0.002,eta2=0.10). These results have practical implications for psychologists that might work with marathon athletes along their preparation cycles.