Carnes, A., Barkley, J. E., Burns, K., & Pollock, B. (2013). The effect of peer influence on exercise intensity and enjoyment during outdoor running in collegiate distance runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 563.

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This study determined 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 male collegiate distance runners (N = 12). Ss completed running trials on separate days under three different social conditions; i) running alone, ii) training with a single peer runner, and iii) practicing in a group with two additional runners (three runners total). The order of the social conditions was randomized. Running trials consisted of a self-paced 6.4-km run on a measured outdoor trail. The primary dependent variables were elapsed time of the 6.4-km run and liking of the run. Liking was assessed via a visual analog scale.

There was a significant main effect of social condition for elapsed time and liking. Ss ran faster in the alone condition than in the peer or group conditions and enjoyed running in a group more than running alone.

Implication. 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 increased average running speed.

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