Little attention has been given to how endurance sport athletes cope with periods of extreme physical duress. This study explored behavioral and psychological characteristics and coping responses associated with "hitting the Wall" (HTW) using inductive grounded theory analytic procedures (Charmaz, 2000). Marathon runners (N = 57; M age = 41.79 yrs) were recruited from two online marathon listserves with members who are experienced, recreational marathon runners. Characteristics and coping responses of HTW included many physiological and psychological descriptors that led to race-related physical coping efforts (e.g., supplementation/hydration), emotion-focused coping (e.g., social support), and cognitive strategies (e.g., willpower, mental reframing). Extreme physical duress during endurance sport performance may provide an ideal context in which to study coping responses to physiological stress. Findings point toward the need to develop effective interventions that rely on multiple coping strategies in response to extreme physical challenges.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology