The Use of Recovery Strategies Among Participants of the BUPA Great North Run: A Cross-Sectional Survey

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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To investigate half-marathon runners’ frequency of use of recovery strategies, perceptions regarding the most beneficial recovery strategy, and reasons for using recovery strategies.


Cross-sectional survey.


186 participants of the 13.1 mile BUPA Great North Run 2013.


A questionnaire was developed which required participants to indicate how frequently they used 12 different recovery strategies, identify which recovery strategy they believed to be most beneficial, and rank 6 reasons for using recovery strategies in order of importance. Data were analyzed using a Friedman nonparametric ANOVA and additional nonparametric tests.


All participants used recovery strategies. Stretching was the most commonly used recovery strategy (P < .001), whereas the use of nutritional supplements was the most commonly selected most beneficial recovery strategy. More than 50% of respondents indicated that they never used strategies such as kinesio tape (80%), hydrotherapy (78%), or ice baths (71%). A significant difference was observed between reasons for using recovery strategy (χ2 (5) = 292.29, P < .001). Reducing muscle tightness (rank 4.87) and reducing injury (rank 4.35) were the most frequently chosen most important reasons for using recovery strategies. Minor sex and age differences in the responses were identified.


Recovery strategy usage appears to be widespread among half-marathon runners; however, disparities exist between the frequency of use and perceived effectiveness of different recovery strategies. Further research in this area is needed to facilitate the development of recovery strategy guidelines which are both evidence-based and practically relevant.

S Shaw and T Shaw are with the School of Sport and Exercise, The University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, United Kingdom. T Smith and Nevill are with the Institute of Sport, Faculty of Education, Health, & Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. Alexanders is with the School of Health and Social Care, Teesside University, United Kingdom. L Smith is with the Dept of Sport, Health, and Sciences, The University of Hull, United Kingdom. Anderson is with the Physiotherapy Dept, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, United Kingdom.

S Shaw ( is corresponding author.