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J Sci Med Sport. 2019 Jan;22(1):106-111. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2018.06.003. Epub 2018 Jun 18.

Reasons and predictors of discontinuation of running after a running program for novice runners.

Author information

Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Departments of Epidemiology and Surgery, Research School CAPHRI, Maastricht University Medical Center+, Sports Medicine Center Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Center for Sports Medicine, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands.
Amsterdam Collaboration on Health & Safety in Sports, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Rehabilitation, Physical Therapy Science & Sports, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neurosciences, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Orthopedics, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



To determine the proportion of participants of a running program for novice runners that discontinued running and investigate the main reasons to discontinue and characteristics associated with discontinuation.


Prospective cohort study.


The study included 774 participants of Start to Run, a 6-week running program for novice runners. Before the start of the program, participants filled-in a baseline questionnaire to collect information on demographics, physical activity and perceived health. The 26-weeks follow-up questionnaire was used to obtain information on the continuation of running (yes/no) and main reasons for discontinuation. To determine predictors for discontinuation of running, multivariable logistic regression was performed.


Within 26 weeks after the start of the 6-week running program, 29.5% of the novice runners (n=225) had stopped running. The main reason for discontinuation was a running-related injury (n=108, 48%). Being female (OR 1.74; 95% CI 1.13-2.68), being unsure about the continuation of running after the program (OR 2.06; 95% CI 1.31-3.24) and (almost) no alcohol use (OR 1.62; 95%CI 1.11-2.37) were associated with a higher chance of discontinuation of running. Previous running experience less than one year previously (OR 0.46; 95% CI 0.26-0.83) and a higher score on the RAND-36 subscale physical functioning (OR 0.98; 95% CI 0.96-0.99) were associated with a lower chance of discontinuation.


In this group of novice runners, almost one-third stopped running within six months. A running-related injury was the main reason to stop running. Women with a low perceived physical functioning and without running experience were prone to discontinue running.


Drop-out; Exercise; Healthy lifestyle; Physical fitness; Sedentary lifestyle; Start to Run

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