Research Topic

Who Runs? Psychological, Physiological and Pathophysiological Aspects of Recreational Endurance Athletes

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About this Research Topic

Exercise, especially aerobic, has proven benefits for health. Thus, it is not surprising that the number of those who train aerobically routinely is continually increasing as it has been shown by the participation trends in endurance running events such as 10km, half-marathons, and marathons. Now, we have ...

Exercise, especially aerobic, has proven benefits for health. Thus, it is not surprising that the number of those who train aerobically routinely is continually increasing as it has been shown by the participation trends in endurance running events such as 10km, half-marathons, and marathons. Now, we have adequate knowledge about the physiological correlates of performance in endurance running for elite athletes. On the other hand, little information exists with regards to psychological, physiological and pathophysiological aspects of recreational endurance runners.

The main question with regards to the increasing participation in aerobic exercise and running events is the motivation of participants. There are a few studies that have shown different motives for marathon running depending on sex and performance level; however, due to their small numbers, these findings should be regarded with caution and should be re-examined in further research. Moreover, to better understand the participation in endurance exercise and running events, it is essential to further investigate participants' personality traits and how these characteristics vary depending on sex, age, performance level, and race distance. Another important question is the beneficial role of aerobic exercise for runners. It is well-known how long-term aerobic exercise improves health (e.g. by reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease), however, less information is available regarding the effect of aerobic exercise on psychological aspects, such as stress and depression.

The beneficial role of exercise on health, especially on the cardiovascular system, is well documented; however, exercise is not without risks for health. Considering the increasing number of recreational endurance athletes - with short sports experience - engaging in the exercise of far higher intensity than what is recommended by the International Health Organizations, the study on the relationship between endurance exercise and health outcomes is of great practical importance. The main challenge in this field is to provide evidence-based recommendations for optimal exercise levels to maximize the benefits for psychological well-being and physiology and minimize health risks.

The aim of the present Research Topic is to collect manuscripts addressing the relationship between cardiovascular disease and exercise across all life-span.

We encourage submissions of cross-sectional studies on large data sets of endurance runners focusing on the relationship between performance and health outcomes. In addition, we especially welcome experimental studies examining the effect of different training programs (varying in volume, intensity, frequency, mode, and recovery) on Psychology, Physiology, and Pathophysiology. Review articles describing the current state of the art in relevant topics are also welcome.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

● Relationship of performance with Psychology and Physiology in endurance runners
● The effect of different training programs (varying in volume, intensity, frequency, mode, and recovery) on Psychology, Physiology, and Pathophysiology
● Acute responses and chronic adaptations to endurance running
● Current guidelines of International Organizations for endurance exercise
● Psychology, Physiology, and Pathophysiology by sex, age and performance level
● Disease and injuries incidence in different endurance running events
● Disease prevention in endurance running
● Nutritional strategies during training and race
● The construct of “culture”


In this context, we call for either original studies or reviews, addressing the abovementioned topics. Submissions examining the relationship of aerobic exercise with psychological, physiological and pathophysiological aspects and how this relationship varies depending on runners' sex, age, performance level, and race distance are more than welcome.

Image credit: Dr. Celine Dewas


Keywords: Endurance Athletes, Psychological weel-being, Performance, Physiology, Health benefits


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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