"Running alone can be a race": An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experiences of amateur runners who use wrist-based technology
Objectives: The study explored the experiences of runners who use wrist-based technology, their motives for maintaining running and any role of the technology in that maintenance. Design: The study utilised a qualitative, phenomenological approach in the form of semi-structured interviews, facilitating in-depth discussion and flexibility. Participants were additionally invited to supplement their verbal data with self-captured visual images. Methods: Participants were a purposive sample of ten participants, who were regular runners and users of wrist-based technology. Verbal data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), with visual images used to highlight key experiences. Results: Emergent themes are presented as elements of a three-element, dynamic model in which each element captures beneficial and potentially negative effects of technology on the experience and maintenance of running. Element 1 outlines the role of technology of ‘Reifying running through data capture.’ Element 2 ‘Setting targets and achieving goals’ reflects the importance of motivation and goals setting in the maintenance of running and the subsequent confirmation of success afforded by technology. Element 3 ‘Enablement of competition’ focuses on the function of technology in facilitating self-comparison and comparison to others. Each element of the model contributes to the maintenance of running by providing focus and purpose. However, potentially negative effects of technology use on well-being were also identified within and across elements, including obsessive behaviour and over-exertion. Conclusions: The findings provide insight into the previously unexplored experiences of runners who use wrist-based technology. However, they also have implications for both users and technology developers, in discouraging negative effects on well-being.
Citation:Richmond, S., and Wildbur, Diane J. (2017, May). "Running alone can be a race;" An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experiences of amateur runners who use wrist-based technology. Paper presented at the BPS Annual Conference, Brighton, UK.
Research Group:Health Psychology