What they talk about when they talk about running- implications for behaviour change of beginner runners’ un/helpful beliefs about running
ISPAH ePoster Library. Kennedy K. Oct 15, 2018; 225108
Katy Kennedy
Katy Kennedy
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Abstract Introduction:<\b>
Beginner running groups are a popular way to start to run, providing an opportunity for examining trajectories of behaviour change and factors associated with success. The purpose of the Running Commentary study was to investigate participants’ experiences in beginner running groups, following up to examine physical activity behaviour change. Methods:<\b>
This was a longitudinal, mixed methods field study, using mobile audio recordings and follow-up online questionnaires with 70 participants from 13 UK beginner running groups. Audio recordings were transcribed and analysed thematically using an inductive interpretative approach, combined with questionnaire data on running success at six months. A major theme identified and linked to dis/continuing running was how participants talked about ‘what running is’.Findings:Participants’ use of concepts such as ‘running should be hard’, ‘running is natural’ and ‘running is social’ were key to negotiating running success or justifying drop-out. For example, believing ’running should be hard’ meant participants ran unsustainably fast, with beginners thinking they were ‘doing it wrong’ if they weren’t in discomfort or pain. However, successful participants used contrasting concepts, e.g. ‘running is a challenge’ or ‘running should be enjoyable’ to complement or challenge such beliefs. Implications for policy and practice are identifiable, such as social marketing and training for running group leaders, particularly emphasising older or less physically active demographics.Conclusions:Participants’ beliefs expressed about running were associated with long-term success rates. Transforming such taken for granted beliefs about running could improve beginner running experiences, with potential for contributing to physical activity behaviour change.
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