Experiences and coping responses of "hitting the Wall" for recreational marathon runners

Matthew P. Buman, Jens W. Omli, Peter R. Giacobbi, Britton W. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-300
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Sport Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Experiences and coping responses of "hitting the Wall" for recreational marathon runners'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this