Original Research

Running more than three kilometers during the first week of a running regimen may be associated with increased risk of injury in obese novice runners.

Authors: Nielsen RO, Bertelsen ML, Parner ET, Sørensen H, Lind M, Rasmussen S

Training guidelines for novice runners are needed to reduce the risk of injury. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the risk of injury varied in obese and non-obese individuals initiating a running program at different weekly distances. A volunteer sample of 749 of 1532 eligible healthy novice runners was included in a three-week observational explorative prospective cohort study. Runners were categorized into one of six strata based on their body mass index (BMI) (≤30=low; >30=high) and running distance after one week (<3 km = low; 3 to 6 km = medium; >6 km = high). Data was collected for three weeks for the six strata. The main outcome measure was running-related injury. Following data analysis, the authors concluded that obese individuals were at greater risk of injury if they exceeded three km during the first week of their running program. Because of a considerable injury risk compared with their non-obese peers, individuals with a BMI>30 may be well advised to begin running training with an initial running distance of less than 3 km (1.9 miles) the first week of their running regimen. Large-scale trials are needed to further describe and document this relationship.

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