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

Tryntsje Fokkema, Fred Hartgens, Bas Kluitenberg, Evert Verhagen, Frank J G Backx, Henk van der Worp, Sita M A Bierma-Zeinstra, Bart W Koes, Marienke van Middelkoop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: 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.

DESIGN: Prospective cohort study.

METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

CONCLUSIONS: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-111
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Cite this

Fokkema, T., Hartgens, F., Kluitenberg, B., Verhagen, E., Backx, F. J. G., van der Worp, H., ... van Middelkoop, M. (2019). Reasons and predictors of discontinuation of running after a running program for novice runners. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22(1), 106-111.