PACER: A Psychological Well-being Framework and Design Process for Running Programs and Race Organizers

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Physical activities such as running have a positive impact on participant physical and psychological health. While all runners may experience benefits such as decreased risk of all-cause mortality (Lee et al., 2014), Type 2 diabetes (Lavie et al., 2014), improved cognitive function (Young, 1979; Stroth, Hille, Spitzer, & Reinhardt, 2009), and reduced stress and depression (Blumenthal et al., 1999), positive psychology posits there is more to life than eliminating physical ailments and stress. This paper proposes a well-being framework, backed by positive psychology research and a design process, that can help running organizations intentionally structure programs to optimize well-being, above and beyond the default benefits of running. This paper identifies five different aspects of psychological well-being that are particularly salient to running: positive emotions, accomplishment, community and connection, efficacy, and resilience (PACER). Together, the framework and literature that supports it, and the design process, serve as a “toolkit” to help running program designers to amplify psychological well-being through running programs.


positive emotions, accomplishment, connection, self-efficacy, running


Health/Wellness, Well-being/Flourishing


Literature review

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Date Posted: 22 September 2020