Injury description and prediction in marathon runners

Dallin Christensen and Benjamin Ogles

Brigham Young University, Provo, USA

The biopsychosocial model of sports injury is applied to the prediction of injury in marathon runners. Psychosocial correlates of injuries, including attentional focus, motivational factors, and training variables are examined. Prospective data were collected from recreational marathon runners (N = 162) in three surveys over a 9 month period. Forty one percent of runners experienced an injury primarily to the feet or legs – 23% due to overuse. Injuries resulted in reduction of running, seeking medical care, and in some cases missing work/school. Men and women did not differ in rates of injury. Evidence supported the biopsychosocial model for predicting injury. Runners with greater preference for association, more miles training per week, competitiveness, goal orientation, and sense of obligation to run were more likely to be injured due to overuse. When examined using path analysis, a latent motivational variable, purposive running, had a pervasive effect on training, attentional focus and injury.

Keywords: Attentional focus, Injury, Motivation, Marathon