Running Psychology: Improve Your Performance

How do you manage your emotions while running? Take out the guesswork by participating in this new research project


Posted: 2 November 2009

We've been asked to help find hundreds of runners for a new research project into psychological states while running. Read on to discover how you could learn about some innovative techniques to improve your running experience and get personalised feedback from one of the UK's top running research experts, Professor Andy Lane.

What is EROS?

EROS is a research project that is studying aspects of emotion regulation of others and self (EROS). The project is a collaboration between researchers from a number of psychological disciplines based at five UK universities. It is funded by a grant from the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), worth £2.1m over four years (Nov 2008 to Oct 2012).

Who is Andy Lane?

Andy Lane is a professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Wolverhampton and is responsible for the sports component of the EROS research project. He has authored two books, more than 100 journal articles and given more than 150 conference presentations. He has worked with athletes at Olympic and World Championship level and is an active runner himself, having recently completed the Amsterdam and Lisbon Marathons.

What are the objectives of this study?

There are two key objectives. The first is to establish how various mental strategies (interventions) can help sports performance. The second is to establish how effective each strategy is and which are the most effective.

I'm interested in taking part - what exactly is involved?

First, you will need to fill out a questionnaire asking for basic information about your age, gender and running behaviour. For example, information about how often you run and whether you compete in events. There will also be some questions relating to how you feel when you run - these will allow Andy to evaluate your emotional profile when you go running. Completing the first questionnaire will take about 15 minutes.

Next you will be asked to pick a run where you intend to perform at your best. It should be a run that you have done before and know well, either outside or on a treadmill. You will need to run this exact session twice - once at the start of the study and once at the end (two weeks later). Both times you run, set a goal that you wish to achieve.

After completing the registration questionnaire and completing your first run, you will be given a set of instructions on how to use a particular mental strategy (intervention) while running. Possible strategies include: thinking about how you plan to deal with certain situations; setting goals; or trying out different types of music (your own playlist or a pre-selected soundtrack). You will then be asked to practise this strategy each time you go running for the next two weeks.

At the end of the fortnight, you will be asked to repeat the same run as you did at the start of the study and complete a second questionnaire via an Internet survey website.

What will I find out?

After the study has been completed, you will receive an email containing personalised feedback. You will learn more about the emotions you experienced during your runs and the effectiveness of the intervention you tested in relation to how you felt and performed.

How will the findings be used?

The findings from this study will be made available via scientific journals, books and conferences as well as the EROS website. The results will also be followed up by Runner's World.

When will the study take place?

To participate in the study, you need to register before Friday, November 6. Your instructions will then be sent through to you on Monday, November 9. Follow these instructions and submit your feedback throughout the period of the two-week study which runs from Monday, November 23 to Sunday, December 6. You will receive your personal feedback by the end of December.

Click here to participate in the study

Please note: Once you have completed the initial questionnaire, all further communication relating to this study will come directly from the EROS project, not Runner's World. Any queries relating to this study should be directed to Andy Lane.


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