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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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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. (C) 2018 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of Sports Medicine Australia.

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


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

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