Original research| Volume 22, ISSUE 1, P106-111, January 2019

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



      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.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Ng M.
        • Fleming T.
        • Robinson M.
        • et al.
        Global, regional, and national prevalence of overweight and obesity in children and adults during 1980-2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013.
        Lancet. 2014; 384: 766-781
        • Lau D.C.
        • Douketis J.D.
        • Morrison K.M.
        • et al.
        2006 Canadian clinical practice guidelines on the management and prevention of obesity in adults and children [summary].
        CMAJ. 2007; 176: S1-S13
        • Church T.S.
        • Thomas D.M.
        • Tudor-Locke C.
        • et al.
        Trends over 5 decades in U.S. occupation-related physical activity and their associations with obesity.
        PLoS One. 2011; 6e19657
        • Downward P.
        • Lera-Lopez F.
        • Rasciute S.
        The correlates of sports participation in Europe.
        Eur J Sport Sci. 2014; 14: 592-602
        • Christiansen N.V.
        • Kahlmeier S.
        • Racioppi F.
        Sport promotion policies in the European Union: results of a contents analysis.
        Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014; 24: 428-438
        • Muller-Riemenschneider F.
        • Reinhold T.
        • Nocon M.
        • et al.
        Long-term effectiveness of interventions promoting physical activity: a systematic review.
        Prev Med. 2008; 47: 354-368
        • Robison J.I.
        • Rogers M.A.
        Adherence to exercise programmes. Recommendations.
        Sports Med. 1994; 17: 39-52
        • Buist I.
        • Bredeweg S.W.
        • Lemmink K.A.
        • et al.
        Predictors of running-related injuries in novice runners enrolled in a systematic training program: a prospective cohort study.
        Am J Sports Med. 2010; 38: 273-280
        • Taunton J.E.
        • Ryan M.B.
        • Clement D.B.
        • et al.
        A retrospective case-control analysis of 2002 running injuries.
        Br J Sports Med. 2002; 36: 95-101
        • Buist I.
        • Bredeweg S.W.
        • Bessem B.
        • et al.
        Incidence and risk factors of running-related injuries during preparation for a 4-mile recreational running event.
        Br J Sports Med. 2010; 44: 598-604
        • Koplan J.P.
        • Rothenberg R.B.
        • Jones E.L.
        The natural history of exercise: a 10-yr follow-up of a cohort of runners.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995; 27: 1180-1184
        • Bertelsen M.L.
        • Rasmussen S.
        • Nielsen R.O.
        The impact of running injuries in relation to other reasons for discontinued running in novice runners.
        Br J Sports Med. 2017; 51: 296
        • Ooms L.
        • Veenhof C.
        • de Bakker D.H.
        Effectiveness of Start to Run, a 6-week training program for novice runners, on increasing health-enhancing physical activity: a controlled study.
        BMC Public Health. 2013; 13: 697
        • Kluitenberg B.
        • van Middelkoop M.
        • Diercks R.L.
        • et al.
        The NLstart2run study: health effects of a running promotion program in novice runners, design of a prospective cohort study.
        BMC Public Health. 2013; 13: 685
        • Wendel-Vos G.C.
        • Schuit A.J.
        • Saris W.H.
        • et al.
        Reproducibility and relative validity of the short questionnaire to assess health-enhancing physical activity.
        J Clin Epidemiol. 2003; 56: 1163-1169
        • Markland D.
        • Tobin V.
        A modification to the behavioral regulation in exercise questionnaire to include an assessment of a motivation.
        J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2004; 26: 191-196
        • Hays R.D.
        • Sherbourne C.D.
        • Mazel R.M.
        The RAND 36-Item Health Survey 1.0.
        Health Econ. 1993; 2: 217-227
        • Kluitenberg B.
        • van Middelkoop M.
        • Diercks R.
        • et al.
        What are the differences in injury proportions between different populations of runners? A systematic review and meta-analysis.
        Sports Med. 2015; 45: 1143-1161
        • Van Ginckel A.
        • Thijs Y.
        • Hesar N.G.
        • et al.
        Intrinsic gait-related risk factors for Achilles tendinopathy in novice runners: a prospective study.
        Gait Posture. 2009; 29: 387-391
        • van der Worp M.P.
        • ten Haaf D.S.
        • van Cingel R.
        • et al.
        Injuries in runners; a systematic review on risk factors and sex differences.
        PLoS One. 2015; 10: e0114937
        • van Gent R.N.
        • Siem D.
        • van Middelkoop M.
        • et al.
        Incidence and determinants of lower extremity running injuries in long distance runners: a systematic review.
        Br J Sports Med. 2007; 41 (discussion 80): 469-480
        • Bredeweg S.W.
        • Zijlstra S.
        • Bessem B.
        • et al.
        The effectiveness of a preconditioning programme on preventing running-related injuries in novice runners: a randomised controlled trial.
        Br J Sports Med. 2012; 46: 865-870
        • Buist I.
        • Bredeweg S.W.
        • van Mechelen W.
        • et al.
        No effect of a graded training program on the number of running-related injuries in novice runners.
        Am J Sport Med. 2008; 36: 35-41
        • Jiandani D.
        • Wharton S.
        • Rotondi M.A.
        • et al.
        Predictors of early attrition and successful weight loss in patients attending an obesity management program.
        BMC Obes. 2016; 3: 14
        • Batterham M.
        • Tapsell L.C.
        • Charlton K.E.
        Predicting dropout in dietary weight loss trials using demographic and early weight change characteristics: implications for trial design.
        Obes Res Clin Pract. 2016; 10: 189-196
        • Hadziabdic M.O.
        • Mucalo I.
        • Hrabac P.
        • et al.
        Factors predictive of drop-out and weight loss success in weight management of obese patients.
        J Hum Nutr Diet. 2015; 28: 24-32
        • Colombo O.
        • Ferretti V.V.
        • Ferraris C.
        • et al.
        Is drop-out from obesity treatment a predictable and preventable event?.
        Nutr J. 2014; 13: 13
        • Moroshko I.
        • Brennan L.
        • O’Brien P.
        Predictors of dropout in weight loss interventions: a systematic review of the literature.
        Obes Rev. 2011; 12: 912-934
        • Schwingshackl L.
        • Dias S.
        • Hoffmann G.
        Impact of long-term lifestyle programmes on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors in overweight/obese participants: a systematic review and network meta-analysis.
        Syst Rev. 2014; 3: 130
        • Nielsen R.O.
        • Malisoux L.
        • Moller M.
        • et al.
        Shedding light on the etiology of sports injuries: a look behind the scenes of time-to-event analyses.
        J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016; 46: 300-311