Background: Distance running is a popular recreational exercise. It is a beneficial activity for health and well being. However, running may also cause injuries, especially of the lower extremities. In literature there is no agreement what intrinsic and extrinsic factors cause running related injuries (RRIs). In theory, most RRIs are elicited by training errors, this too much, too soon. In a preconditioning program runners can adapt more gradually to the high mechanical loads of running and will be less susceptible to RRIs. In this study the effectiveness of a 4-week preconditioning program on the incidence of RRIs in novice runners prior to a training program will be studied.
Methods/design: The GRONORUN 2 (Groningen Novice Running) study is a two arm randomized controlled trial studying the effect of a 4-week preconditioning (PRECON) program in a group of novice runners. All participants wanted to train for the recreational Groningen 4-Mile running event. The PRECON group started a 4-week preconditioning program with walking and hopping exercises 4 weeks before the start of the training program. The control (CON) and PRECON group started a frequently used 9-week training program in preparation for the Groningen 4-Mile running event.During the follow up period participants registered their running exposure, other sporting activities and running related injuries in an Internet based running log. The primary outcome measure was the number of RRIs. RRI was defined as a musculoskeletal ailment or complaint of the lower extremities or back causing a restriction on running for at least three training sessions.
Discussion: The GRONORUN 2 study will add important information to the existing running science. The concept of preconditioning is easy to implement in existing training programs and will hopefully prevent RRIs especially in novice runners.
Trial registration: The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR1906. The NTR is part of the WHO Primary Registries.