Strategies for Working with First Time Marathon Runners

Authors: Leeja Carter(1), John Coumbe-Lilley, Ph.D.*(2) Ph.D., Brenton Anderson(3)

(1) Leeja Carter, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Athletic Training, Health, and Exercise Science (ATHES) as well as the Director of the Performance Excellence in Applied Kinesiology Lab (PEAK) at Long Island University-Brooklyn. Dr. Carter also serves as the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) Diversity Committee Chair, AASP Women in Sports Special Interest Group coordinator, and sits on the AASP Foundation Committee. Such professional experiences allow Dr. Carter to promote issues of diversity in exercise and sport psychology.

(2) John Coumbe-Lilley, Ph.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Dr Coumbe-Lilley, is a Certified Consultant with the Association of Applied Sport Psychology and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He is a member of the USOC sport psychology registry and a seasoned sport psychology consultant.

(3) Brenton Anderson, is a graduate student at Adler University.

*Corresponding Author:
John Coumbe-Lilley, PhD, CC-AASP, CSCS
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition
901 W. Roosevelt Road
MC 194
Chicago IL , 60608
Jcoumb1@uic.edu
312-320-3501

ABSTRACT
Marathon running has increased in popularity and first time participants. Novice marathon runners are often highly motivated with positive attitudes at the start of their training. However, they are often unprepared for the mental and emotional demands of training and the race itself. This paper discusses the common psychological experience of “hitting the wall” and a range of challenges a novice might face on their way to race completion. A case example shows how a marathon runner might prepare to complete a marathon race and a multi-modal mental skills training approach is recommended as a complementary race preparation strategy to physical and technical preparation.

KEYWORDS: marathon, mental skills training, novice
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