Articles

Exploring the potential of the human mind and body

Self Determination Theory and meeting our physiological needs

Ryan & Deci(2017) suggest an internal locus of control leads to the belief that one can achieve a desired outcome through appropriate behaviour and being higher in internal locus of control is linked to increased motivation. The Self-determination Theory (SDT) is based on an inherent tendency towards growth, and the degree to which behaviour is self-motivated.…
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Can mental toughness change?

Crust (2008) observed that mental toughness in endurance walkers increased adaptability and flexibility in coping skills, including, maintaining objectivity, and providing perspective. Mental toughness can be developed, both as a result of training and competition, environmental influences, and through social and personal support.  It has been recognised that challenging experiences may provide development opportunities for psychological…
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Physiological changes in response to training

According to published research, an increase in training, where the heart pumps against a greater resistance, leads to increased cardiac demand, and a rise in blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscle, and oxygen consumption, to meet the increased metabolic demands of exercise. Over time, aerobic training has been shown to improve the lactate…
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Motivated to run

Motivation refers to an individual’s ability to focus, and energise behaviour over time (Ryan & Deci, 2017; Tsigilis, 2005), and is widely accepted as crucial to successful performance within sport, where success can be the result of an individual’s willingness to achieve excellence through both mental and physical effort. The ability of the ultra-marathoner to…
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Stress – an adaptive response?

Stress is an adaptive response to an external action or event, mediated by characteristics including personality, age, fitness and mental toughness. Researchers to date have suggested that adaptations are largely specific to the stressor, and they assist a timely return to homeostasis.  A protracted programme of endurance exercise training stresses the human body, often resulting in…
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Why does psychology matter?

Physical endurance training and ultra-marathon competition require considerable commitment and provide a challenge to both human mental and physical capacities.  Ultra-marathons are recognised as extremely difficult events to complete, and successful endurance runners typically undergo several years of dedicated training, and personal sacrifice, to enhance the physiological characteristics necessary to success in distance running events. Key psychological…
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3.67 million-year-old – first to walk?

It’s taken twenty years to fully uncover ‘little foot’, and an impossibly rare, almost complete, australopithicus skeleton. The work was performed, painstakingly, by Ronald Clarke and team, who are well aware of the huge importance of this small hominin believed to walk bipedally (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/11/29/481556). Hard data is likely to follow, and potentially shed light on a hominin…
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Challenges for Evolutionary Psychology

Evolutionary psychology is nothing more than psychology viewed through the lens provided by evolutionary biology, based on the fact that psychological systems are part of the brain and therefore both physical and biological. According to Johnson (2017) adopting an evolutionary approach to understanding human psychology has been extremely fruitful in answering the ‘why’ questions, and…
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What is Flow?

The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as the ‘state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter – the experience is so enjoyable that people will do it at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it’. If the ultra-marathoner didn’t love the immersion of running in the…
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High Intensity, and Supramaximal Intensity, Interval Training

Sometimes its tempting to just keep banging out the extra miles. But what you’ve always done to prepare for an event, may not be the right thing, or even the best way to make use of limited training time. A number of recent physiological studies have found that greater endurance returns can be made from…
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