Think aloud: An examination of distance runners’ thought processes

Ashley Samson, Duncan Simpson, Cindra Kamphoff, Adrienne Langlier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Distance running is popular throughout the USA, and to date it has received much attention in the sport psychology literature. One limitation, however, is the retrospective nature of most current research. Subsequently, the present study examined real-time thought processes of runners recorded during a long-distance run. The think-aloud protocol was used with 10 participants ranging in age from 29 to 52 years old (M = 41.3 years, SD = 7.3). Qualitative analysis of the data identified meaning units, which were grouped into major themes. A final thematic structure revealed three major themes that characterised the participant's thought processes: Pace and Distance, Pain and Discomfort, and Environment. Taken together, the present results extend previous research on running and provide a number of suggestions for sport psychology consultants working with runners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-189
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 15 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 International Society of Sport Psychology.


  • concurrent verbalisations
  • distance running
  • think-aloud protocol
  • thought processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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