Bangor's School of Psychology has found a new way of teaching students the principles of positive psychology – by getting them to run a marathon.
Twenty two of Bangor's psychology undergraduate students signed up to Bangor University’s Born to Run: Achieve Your Goals module, which mixed lectures and workshops on topics such as motivation and resilience with training runs. To enrol, students had to be able to run 5km ‘reasonably comfortably’ and had to pledge to run three times a week - however, none of them had ever run a marathon before.
After the completion of classes, 13 of the students ran the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, alongside Dr Frances Garrad-Cole, a senior lecturer in Psychology at Bangor and three more completed a half-marathon, and two others plan to run marathons in their home countries of Germany and Canada.
Dr Garrad-Cole described how, on the first Monday of the course, “we gave them a two hour lecture about various theories of motivation, goal-directed behaviour, drive, resilience and so on. On the Tuesday, we all turned up in our running gear...We discussed the theories and how they applied to our running, we talked about issues such as blisters, hydration, hills and training schemes - and then we all went for a run.”
Dr Garrad-Cole estimated that individual performance was higher in this module than others for probably three-quarters of the class.