Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


STEM and Professional Studies

Committee Director

Karina Arcaute


The problem of this study was to understand the motivational factors behind middle-aged adults who take up running, and whether or not formal training is used by this population to aid in meeting their training goals. To determine this, two surveys were distributed to running groups hosted on social media. The first survey was geared toward middle-aged runners, and the second survey was geared toward trainers and running coaches who train middle-aged runners. The results of the survey were 183 runner participants and one trainer participant. Due to the lack of sufficient data, the trainer survey was not used in this study. Participants responded to both multiple choice and short answer questions designed to determine what motivated them to run and whether or not they used formal training to meet their running goals. The findings of this study can be used to better understand the motivation of this particular age group when it comes to identifying fitness goals, as well as a tool to help race organizers and running coaches better advertise to the middle-aged population.

The results of the study showed that middle-aged adults chose running for the variety of health and social benefits associated with the sport. Participants noted examples such as maintaining health and weight, as well as the mental health benefits it provides. The study also concluded that formal training was not particularly important to this age group unless the participant had been in the sport for longer than 4 years. Of the participants that did use formal training, a majority of participants sited learning better running technique rather than meeting running goals.


A Research Study Presented to the Faculty of the Department of STEM Education and Professional Studies at Old Dominion University In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Masters of Science