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

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image of Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

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.


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