The Experience of Self-Discovery and Mental Change in Female Novice Athletes in Connection to Marathon Running


Abstract
This article evaluates the experience of an extraordinary mental change of novice female runners that is connected to long-distance running. Two female participants were interviewed regarding their life-changing experience associated with endurance exercise. Descriptions of the lived experience from women who train for marathons were gathered and a phenomenological analysis of the data was conducted which suggests that the women underwent a mental change that improved their self-confidence and enhanced relationships with their selves and others. The six constituents that emerged were: Participants Perception of an Enhancing Outdoor Environment, Life-Style Changes Resulting in More Openness to Others and Self, Discoveries Concerning Self-Improvements, Sustaining a Desired Mental Disposition, Empowerment in Considering New Possibilities, and Support for Encountering Future Challenges. This article demonstrates how a mental change associated with long-distance running positively impacts participants’ personal and professional lives.
Keywords marathon   road runners   women   personal change   self-discovery   long-distance running   Endurance athletes   ultra trail runners
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DOI 10.1163/156916210X532144
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