PLoS One. 2022 Aug 25;17(8):e0273401. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273401. eCollection 2022.
OBJECTIVE: Recreational running is one of the most common physical leisure activities worldwide and is associated with high rates of running related injury (RRI). Little is known of the perceptions of male recreational runners regarding the aetiology and management of RRI.
DESIGN: Utilising an interpretive phenomenological analysis framework, qualitative data was gathered from participants via interview, and reflexive thematic analysis was used to develop insights into the experiences and perceptions of the participants in relation to RRI.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two focus groups with a total of six (mean age 37.8 ± 9.5 years, 16.5 ± 13.1 years running experience) male recreational runners were used to obtain data regarding their understanding of RRI causation, prevention and management. Interviews were evaluated using a six-phase reflexive thematic analysis approach to generate and interpret themes within the data.
RESULTS: Three themes (Mind, Body and Education) were identified by the analysis as critical to RRI avoidance. Mind refers to the self-understanding and self-management of personal limits required for RRI prevention. Body reflects a degree of physical conditioning necessary for injury free running, while Education indicates an understanding of how to correctly structure a running program. When viewed together these themes can be seen to form an ‘internal locus of injury’ model which highlights the runners’ beliefs that RRI are related to their decisions regarding training and running, and that avoidance of injury lies within their personal control.
CONCLUSION: Recreational runners rely on self-management, in preference to professional advice, to manage training loads, fitness and RRI. Health care professionals involved with this population may consider the use of online resources, a preferred option of runners, to assist runners to build their knowledge base and support their development to experienced runners.