This spring will see the start of a large-scale scientific study of novice runners. The aim of this NL Start to Run Study is to learn more about the health benefits of a running programme and find out why some novice runners develop injuries. The study is being coordinated by movement scientists from the UMCG and carried out by 5 university medical centres (UMCs) in association with the Atletiekunie (Dutch Athletics Association). The study will use data collected from people taking part in the Atletiekunie’s annual Start to Run training programme. Prospective runners can still sign up for Start to Run; the first training session is on 9 March.
Despite taking all the necessary precautions, some 20% of all novice runners will develop an injury. There has already been a lot of research into the causes of these injuries, and yet still very little is known about why they occur and how to prevent them. One of the main reasons for this is that previous studies have only examined relatively small groups of runners. This makes it impossible to draw reliable scientific conclusions or examine specific injuries in any details. The Atletiekunie’s involvement will now enable researchers to carry out scientific research among a large group of novice runners. Approximately 9,000 novices embark on the Start to Run programme every year.
On registering for Start to Run, participants will be asked to take part in the NL Start to Run Study. Those who agree will be monitored for a year. They will be required to complete four questionnaires at intervals and fill in a logbook (once a week during the first six weeks and then once a fortnight) in which they can record information about training and injuries. The questionnaires and logbooks can all be filled in online. The results of the NL Start to Run Study are expected to generate important information about the development and prevention of injuries in novice runners, and highlight the benefits of taking part in Start to Run for participants.
The NL Start to Run Study is being carried out by several scientific organizations working together in the National Platform for Sports and Exercise Medicine Research (LOSO). The LOSO is an alliance between the UMCG, the VUMC, the UMC Utrecht, the Erasmus MC and the Maastricht UMC+. The Atletiekunie is cooperating with the research, and the UMCG is coordinating this particular study.
More information about the Atletiekunie’s Start to Run programme is available on: https://www.atletiekunie.nl/start-run
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