Running and Pain

After more than 16 years of inactivity I’ve finally decided to do something about my health!

I’ve started running (or jogging – read more about the putative differences between running and jogging). I’m following a strict schedule with the intention to -eventually- train for triathlon :-O … you know what they say:

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.

I know… it’s really, really cheesy.

Mapping the pain on my body

I always find a good excuse for practicing my data visualization skills. So, here is a body map (the body shape was obtained from pinpointing , day by day, all the pain I’ve “suffered” during the initial days of training.

body map of the pain induced by running after prolonged period of inactivity

The number of points roughly corresponds to pain intensity and extension (i.e. more points = more pain over larger area).

During the first three days, I felt increasingly sore, but  in the morning of day 4 I felt something was changing in my body  – not only I started to feel less pain but also I felt the oxygen filling my lungs, I needed to ramp up the training!

At this point (i.e. at the very beginning of my training) I feel like there is more room for improvement and most of the pain is gone (see day 7 and 8). I definitely feel positive!

You may have noticed that there are no Y axes. This wasn’t a mistake: I’m simply too embarrassed to show my training schedule at this point 🙂

Day-by-day, all my pain



Body map: how-to

Two main softwares have been used for producing this visualization: FIJI (ImageJ) and R.

FIJI was used for pinpointing the pain on my body parts:

[1] Open the image of the body and


FIJI’s multi-point tool

[2] select the multipoint tool (add to the ROI manager) and click on the image. In the ROI list you’ll get the coordinates of the points.


R was then used to open the PNG file of the body shape and map the points using the coordinates obtained with FIJI.



Leonardo Restivo

Behavioral Neuroscientist, M.Sc., Ph.D. - Passionate about Behavior, Data Visualization & Psychology. Read my CV+résumé. Follow me on twitter @scipleneuro