Forgetting how painful your marathon is

Posted on April 18, 2015

Photo: flickr

It seems like a total accomplishment when you tell others that you have ran a marathon. But is running a marathon that easy? It could be painful. What makes a runner run again? Perhaps they have forgotten their experience during the last run.

A group of researchers studied marathon runners. The questioned their intensity of pain, unpleasantness, positive and negative emotions that they were feeling right after their run. However, they were contacted three to six months later, to recall how much pain they had been in previously. Most of them underestimated the pain they had experienced, both in terms of intensity and unpleasantness. Yet, those who suffered more, tends to remember the run as more painful.

Negative emotions could also affect the results. Those who reported feeling more emotions like distress and fear at the end of the marathon, tend to remember greater pain and unpleasantness.

The way we remember pain is understudied even though it has important real-life applications ie. Knowing the effectiveness of pain relief treatments.

Source material from British Psychological Society