Marathon training improves perceived stress, self-efficacy, and aerobic fitness in adolescents
Lack of physical activity among adolescents in the United States is leading to a concerning pattern of mental and physical health outcomes. Physical activity interventions, especially those that take place during school hours, have attempted to combat this trend but results have been inconsistent. The current study is a program evaluation of an existing physical activity intervention designed to train adolescents to complete a half or full marathon within five months. No previous studies have examined this mode of physical activity in the adolescent population, but anecdotal responses to this program justify a quantitative analysis. Results showed that participants who completed the program significantly increased their aerobic fitness. Participants also significantly reduced their perceived stress, and significantly increased their enjoyment and self-efficacy for exercise. The results are discussed in the broader context of adolescent physical and psychological health, and recommendations are made for future research.