Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

David Day

Rights Information

@ 2021 Drew A Watson


The field of motivation psychology has taken an interest in long distance runners. The intense strain of training for a long distance event, the physical difficulty of the race itself, and the extensive time commitment of balancing life alongside training make high levels of motivation crucial for long distance runners. Existing research in the field of sports psychology suggests that Organismic Integration Theory, a sub-theory of Self-Determination Theory, may provide insight into the roles of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in runners. While intrinsic motivation is undoubtedly the backbone of overall running motivation, the role of extrinsic motivation requires context. As outlined by OIT, external regulation motivation stems from a rewards and punishments system for various behaviors. This type of motivation can lessen rather than bolster motivation. However, introjected, identified, and integrated regulation are sources of extrinsic motivation that drive an individual to build a strong identity and become empowered with the autonomy to pursue life goals that are inextricably linked to one’s sense of self. These select types of extrinsic motivation along with the intrinsic joy of running seem to be the best sources of motivation for long distance runners.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.