To better understand how other people influence us as runners, Andi and Zach unpack research on social influences and their effects on exercise and running.
Stick around after that for the latest from the world of running, including more fast indoor track action and a reflection on what people shout at runners during races.
MAIN TOPIC: How Social Influences Affect Runners
Specifically focusing on how other people help us thrive as runners…
General assumption: people aren’t sacks of meat.
- Firing synapses do not a person make.
- Personality, spirituality, purpose/meaning, etc. all influence how these kinds of things actually affect an individual.
- Therefore, what we are sharing here is simply representations of possible trends and considerations to help all of us maximize our experiences.
Our Main Points
- The people who are most important to us have the greatest effects on our attitudes
- Social experiences cultivate benefits, perceived and real
Who affects us most?
- Social Influence and Exercise: A Meta-Analysis (Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 1996)
- Primary findings: “The results showed that social influence generally has a small to moderate positive effect. However, four moderate to large effect sizes were found: family support and attitudes about exercise, task cohesion and adherence behavior, important others and attitudes about exercise, and family support and compliance behavior.”
- Assertion: the people closest to us have the greatest effect on (1) our attitudes and (2) our willingness to engage.
- Exercise contagion in a global social network (Nature Communications, 2017)
- “Less active runners influence more active runners, but not the reverse. Both men and women influence men, while only women influence other women. While the Embeddedness and Structural Diversity theories of social contagion explain the influence effects we observe, the Complex Contagion theory does not. These results suggest interventions that account for social contagion will spread behavior change more effectively.”
How do they affect us?
- Social reward and support effects on exercise experiences and performance: Evidence from parkrun (Public Library of Science, 2021)
- Primary findings: “Social factors were associated with greater subjective enjoyment and energy. Higher subjective energy, in turn, was associated with faster run times, without any corresponding increase in perceived effort.”
- Note: “No significant main effects of social factors on fatigue, performance or effort were detected.”
- How ‘social’ is recreational running? Findings from a qualitative study in London and implications for public health promotion (Health Place, 2017)
- “Study surveyed recreational runners who do not belong to running clubs in London”
- “These respondents were relatively uninterested in the idea of proper running technique, ambivalent about the presence of others when running, and reticent about being pulled into a more committed collective practice.”
- Social isolation delays the positive effects of running on adult neurogenesis (Nature Neuroscience, 2006)
- Primary findings: “These results suggest that, in the absence of social interaction, a normally beneficial experience can exert a potentially deleterious influence on the brain.”
- Social isolation is a bigger problem than running and runners.
- How the people in our lives affect our running might tell us about what those people mean to us.
- Make connections and find community, today was evidence that it will help you THRIVE.
WORLD OF RUNNING
Congrats to AtoZrunners who ran
Lewis, Karl, Andrew, Mark, Brandon
#1. 2022 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
- Men’s 3000m
- Adel Mechaal
- Mechaal blasting a Spanish and European indoor record of 7:30.82
- Adel Mechaal
- Men’s 800m
- Mariano Garcia upset American Bryce Hoppel to win the 800m in another Spanish indoor record of 1:45.12.
- Garcia made a move off the first turn of the final lap, and Hoppel couldn’t stay with him.
- In 6th place was 18-year-old Will Sumner who set US HS indoor records at 500 (1:01.25) and 600 (1:15.58) and run 21.66 for 200 and 47.69 for 400
- Sumner took a crack at Josh Hoey’s 1:47.67 indoor HS record. Sumner ended up becoming just the second HSer to break 1:49 indoors as he ran 1:48.14
- Women’s 3000m
- Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford set a national record, using a killer 29.04 final lap to win the women’s 3000m in 8:33.92
- Josette Norris of the USA was in 3rd running a personal best in the event of 8:37.91.
- Women’s 800m
- Jamaica’s Natoya Goule became the first women’s 800 runner to dip under 2:00 in 2022, winning in 1:59.62.
- Goule led wire to wire.
Transition: Speaking of the New Balance Grand Prix, 7th place was rising star, Annie Rodenfels. She ran a personal best of 8:46.07
- Side note: within the second was Katie Izzo, who we have connected with and now runs for Adidas.
#2. Another Runner to Watch: Annie Rodenfels
- Runs for Team BAA and Adidas
- D3 for Centre
- Rodenfels also coaches cross country and track at Wellesley College
- Annie was scheduled to pace the Danville Season Opener in the 5000m. She ended up finishing the race running a massive PR and World Leading time of 15:08.80.
#3. What to shout to runners
- Researchers at Plymouth Marjan University revealed that the right positive encouragement from crowds can boost runners’ performance.
- The research led to a handy acronym for next time you’re cheering at a race ‘IMPACT’ – Instructional and practical advice and encouragement (eg ‘Keep your pace’), Motivational (‘Great effort’), Personalized (with their name, running club or charity; making eye contact), Authentic and non-judgemental (‘That’s a great charity you’re running for’), Confidence-building (‘You can do this!’), and Tailored to the distance (‘You’ve only got half a kilometer to go’).
- False information was proven to be unhelpful, as we would expect.
Interested in a training plan and/or coaching? We offer personalized support to help you achieve your goals!