Campus News

Kinesiology professor talks running pains during marathons

Patrick O’Connor 2014-v

Patrick O’Connor

Patrick O’Connor, a professor in the kinesiology department of the Mary Frances Early College of Education, was recently quoted in a Runner’s World article about how common pain is among runners who do marathons.

O’Connor is author of a study that found about 99% of participants reported pain during their last marathon. The research looked at about 1,251 runners.

“Essentially, everyone experiences some pain while running a marathon,” he said. “The pain tends to be worse among those who have run fewer than two marathons or whose effort during the marathon is rated as ‘hard’ or ‘greater.’”

O’Connor said the biggest surprise in the findings was how many runners said they had high-intensity pain during a marathon—about 80%. He thinks that hilly training routes, high-intensity efforts during training or injuries could’ve persisted to race day.

“Alternatively, non-running related variables could be important moderators, including genetics, family history of hypertension, typical sleep duration, and health status,” he said.

The article continued to detail strategies for pain mitigation rather than elimination, as well as proper recovery, such as stretching, lots of sleep, Epsom salt baths and good nutrition.