The NLstart2run study: Incidence and risk factors of running-related injuries in novice runners

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2015 Oct;25(5):e515-23. doi: 10.1111/sms.12346. Epub 2014 Dec 1.


Running is a popular form of physical activity, despite of the high incidence of running-related injuries (RRIs). Because of methodological issues, the etiology of RRIs remains unclear. Therefore, the purposes of the study were to assess the incidence of RRIs and to identify risk factors for RRIs in a large group of novice runners. In total, 1696 runners of a 6-week supervised "Start to Run" program were included in the NLstart2run study. All participants were aged between 18 and 65, completed a baseline questionnaire that covered potential risk factors, and completed at least one running diary. RRIs were registered during the program with a weekly running log. An RRI was defined as a musculo-skeletal complaint of the lower extremity or back attributed to running and hampering running ability for three consecutive training sessions. During the running program, 10.9% of the runners sustained an RRI. The multivariable Cox regression analysis showed that a higher age, higher BMI, previous musculo-skeletal complaints not attributed to sports and no previous running experience were related to RRI. These findings indicate that many novice runners participating in a short-term running program suffer from RRIs. Therefore, the identified risk factors should be considered for screening and prevention purposes.

Keywords: Running; etiology; incidence; injury; novice runners; prospective cohort study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lower Extremity / injuries
  • Lumbosacral Region / injuries
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Running / statistics & numerical data