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The effectiveness of a preconditioning programme on preventing running-related injuries in novice runners: a randomised controlled trial
  1. Steef W Bredeweg,
  2. Sjouke Zijlstra,
  3. Bram Bessem,
  4. Ida Buist
  1. Center for Sports Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Steef W Bredeweg, Center for Sports Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands; s.bredeweg{at}


Objectives There is no consensus on the aetiology and prevention of running-related injuries in runners. Preconditioning studies among different athlete populations show positive effects on the incidence of sports injuries.

Hypothesis A 4-week preconditioning programme in novice runners will reduce the incidence of running-related injuries.

Study design Randomised controlled clinical trial; level of evidence, 1.

Methods Novice runners (N=432) prepared for a four-mile recreational running event. Participants were allocated to the 4-week preconditioning (PRECON) group (N=211) or the control group (N=221). The PRECON group started a 4-week training programme, prior to the running programme, with walking and hopping exercises. After the 4-week period both groups started a 9-week running programme. In both groups information was registered on running exposure and running-related injuries (RRIs) using an internet-based running log. Primary outcome measure was RRIs per 100 runners. An RRI was defined as any musculoskeletal complaint of the lower extremity or lower back causing restriction of running for at least a week.

Results The incidence of RRIs was 15.2% in the PRECON group and 16.8% in the control group. The difference in RRIs between the groups was not significant (χ2=0.161, df=1, p=0.69).

Conclusion This prospective study demonstrated that a 4-week PRECON programme with walking and hopping exercises had no influence on the incidence of RRIs in novice runners.

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