The Effect of Peer Influence on Exercise Intensity and Enjoyment During Outdoor Running in Collegiate Distance Runners

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Sport Behavior

Publication Date



Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences


Department of Exercise Science


Although it is a common practice for competitive athletes to train together with fellow athletes and/or teammates, experimental research on the effect that training partners may have on athletes 'submaximal exercise behavior is limited. The purpose of this study was to determine if, relative to an alone condition, exercising with a familiar peer or in a group of familiar peers affects average running speed and/or liking of the exercise during a self-paced outdoor run in a sample of competitive collegiate distance runners. Collegiate male distance runners (N=12, 20.5 ± 1.98years old) completed running trials on separate days under three different, randomized order social conditions: running alone, with a single peer, and in a group with two additional runners (three total). Trials consisted of a self-paced 6.4-km run on a measured outdoor trail. The primary dependent variables were average speed and liking (assessed via visual analog scale) of the run. Mixed model regression analysis revealed a significant (P < 0.016) main effect of condition for average speed and liking. Participants ran faster in the alone condition than in the peer or group conditions and enjoyed running in a group more than running alone. The presence of peers, relative to the alone condition, increased the liking of a bout of exercise in collegiate male distance runners. However, both peer conditions reduced average running speed in this group of athletes. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR