Background: Participation in half-marathon has been steeply increasing during the past decade. In line, a vast number of half-marathon running schedules has surfaced. Unfortunately, the injury incidence proportion for half-marathoners has been found to exceed 30% during 1-year follow-up. The majority of running-related injuries are suggested to develop as overuse injuries, which leads to injury if the cumulative training load over one or more training sessions exceeds the runners’ load capacity for adaptive tissue repair. Owing to an increase of load capacity along with adaptive running training, the runners’ running experience and pace abilities can be used as estimates for load capacity. Since no evidence-based knowledge exist of how to plan appropriate half-marathon running schedules considering the level of running experience and running pace, the aim of ProjectRun21 is to investigate the association between running experience or running pace and the risk of running-related injury. Methods: Healthy runners using Global Positioning System (GPS) watch between 18 and 65 years will be invited to participate in this 14-week prospective cohort study. Runners will be allowed to self-select one of three half-marathon running schedules developed for the study. Running data will be collected objectively by GPS. Injury will be based on the consensus-based time loss definition by Yamato et al.: “Running-related (training or competition) musculoskeletal pain in the lower limbs that causes a restriction on or stoppage of running (distance, speed, duration, or training) for at least 7 days or 3 consecutive scheduled training sessions, or that requires the runner to consult a physician or other health professional”. Running experience and running pace will be included as primary exposures, while the exposure to running is pre-fixed in the running schedules and thereby conditioned by design. Time-to-event models will be used for analytical purposes. Discussion: ProjectRun21 will examine if particular subgroups of runners with certain running experiences and running paces seem to sustain more running-related injuries compared with other subgroups of runners. This will enable sport coaches, physiotherapists as well as the runners to evaluate their injury risk of taking up a 14-week running schedule for half-marathon.
Damsted, C., Parner, E. T., Sørensen, H., Malisoux, L., & Nielsen, R. O. (2017). Design of ProjectRun21: a 14-week prospective cohort study of the influence of running experience and running pace on running-related injury in half-marathoners. Injury Epidemiology, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40621-017-0124-9