Honors Program


Date of this Version


Document Type



Kraus, M. 2024. KRAUS: Embracing change and adapting to the female body. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Marissa Kraus 2024


Female athletes' bodies naturally change during puberty between adolescence and adulthood, a process not often talked about. Both mental and physical challenges come with these changes, making it vital for coaches and athletes to be better educated on how to embrace their changing bodies while staying healthy. For my honors thesis, I decided to write an editorial long-form article because I am pursuing a career in sports media and wanted to challenge my reporting skills. Inspired by personal experience, my thesis project explores how changes to the body from puberty, like weight gain, affect female distance runners. I also wanted to learn more about health-related issues that I have encountered with running, such as iron deficiency. My goal with this was to localize the topic by featuring the experiences of Lincoln-area high school runners and coaches. The article covers a range of subtopics including the physiological background on puberty, personal anecdotes, and professional points of view of what coaches can do to set female runners up for success to have a long career in the sport.