Have you ever thought about why some people stick with their new running program, while others abandon it? Think about how often you have heard people say that they are starting a running program, only to find out that quit it shortly after. New research sheds light on why this may happen with some people.
In a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, researchers set out to find out why new runners quit their running programs. There were 774 people who participated in the 6-week running program. They were all new runners when they began the program. They followed up with each of them at the 6-month mark to see if they had stuck with the running program, and if they hadn't why they had stopped it. They had each of the participants complete a questionnaire regarding their running program. They found that a third of them had already quit the running the program, and the main reason cited was because of a running-related injury. There were three other factors that they found that contributed to whether or not someone quit the running program. Women, non-alcohol drinkers, and being unsure about continuing the program, were all factors that made people more likely to quit their running program within six months.
What can we learn from this? Since most new runners reported that they stopped their running program due to a running-related injury, it's wise to take new running programs with ease. Those new to running should start slowly and build on their experience, don't push it before they are ready to take on more, properly warm up before running and stretch after each run, and not run too much before they are used to running. Most running-related injuries are from overuse, which means scaling back can help you avoid injuries.
Most people who start a running program want to make it last. They don't go into it thinking they will stop the program within six months. Learning more about running and how to avoid injuries can help you be more successful in maintaining a running program long term.