Use of monitoring technology and injury incidence among recreational runners: a cross-sectional study

Richard S. Mayne, Chris M. Bleakley, Mark Matthews

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Background: Monitoring technology is increasingly accessible to recreational runners. Our aim was to examine patterns of technology use in recreational runners, and its potential association with injury. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional questionnaire study in a sample of adult runners. Recruitment took place at three different 5 km parkrun event across Northern Ireland. Demographics, technology use, running behaviour and running-related injury (RRI) history were examined. Regression analyses were performed to determine relationships between variables. Results: Responses were obtained from 192 of 483 eligible finishers (39.8% response rate). Average age was 45.9 years (SD 10.3), with males (47.1 years SD 9.7) slightly older than females (44.8 years SD 10.8). On average, participants ran 3.0 days per week (SD 1.3), with an average weekly distance of 22.6 km (SD 19.7). Males typically ran further (MD 6.2 km/week; 95% CI 0.4 to 12.0) than females. Monitoring technology was used by 87.4% (153/175); with GPS watches the most common device (87.6% (134/153)). Runners using monitoring technology ran further (MD 14.4 km/week; 95% CI 10.3 to 18.5) and more frequently (MD 1.3 days/week; 95% CI 0.7 to 1.9) than those who did not use monitoring technology. There was no significant difference in average age between runners who used monitoring technology and those who did not (MD 4.0 years; 95% CI −0.7 to 8.7). RRI was reported by 40.6% (71/175) of participants in the previous 12 months. In a univariate analysis, none of the selected predictors (age, number of days run per week, distance run per week, or usage of technology to modify training pattern) (p > 0.1) were associated with RRI. Conclusions: This study found a high prevalence of monitoring technology usage among recreational runners. While the incidence of RRI remains high, it is not associated with the usage of monitoring technology. Further prospective research should examine if monitoring technology can reduce RRI incidence among recreational runners in future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116
JournalBMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Early online date28 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the participants for their involvement in this research. We also thank Charlotte Mayne for help with recruitment and data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Research
  • Running
  • Sports training
  • Monitoring technology
  • Running-related injury


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