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Neuromuscular training in novice recreational runners: a randomized controlled trial (Run RCT)


There is currently a paucity of literature evaluating injury prevention in recreational runners and this proposed study will fill this gap in the existing research literature. LE injuries are the most common running-related injuries and may result in long-term consequences (e.g., obesity, PTOA, poor quality of life). In recent years, high quality RCTs have shown that prevention of acute and overuse LE injuries can be possible by regular NMT. However, effectiveness of NMT programs in prevention of injuries in runners has not yet been studied. We expect that injury prevention by NMT is possible in novice recreational runners, as it is possible in many running team sports. This study will represent a significant contribution to injury prevention in recreational runners and will promote the planning and implementation of sport injury prevention strategies on scientific field in different S&R populations. Ultimately, this research will enable us to optimize current running injury prevention programs, reduce the number of injuries, promote lifelong sport participation, and lower the public health costs related to injury in novice runners as well as in other sports that include running.


Running is an increasingly popular form of recreational physical activity in Finland. Regular running can result in significant health and fitness benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, body composition, and maximal oxygen uptake. Furthermore, running is a feasible sport for large populations, because it requires only little equipment, it is cheap and can be done almost everywhere. Unfortunately, rate of musculoskeletal injuries is high in runners. Injury rates in running ranges from 2.5 to 33.0 injuries per 1000 hours of running exposure, and novice runners have been shown to have a higher incidence rate of injuries than experienced runners.


The main aim of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of two different NMT warm-up programs on 1) reducing the risk of LE injury and severity of LE injury in novice female and male runners, and 2) improving performance characteristics (e.g., running biomechanics, strength) in novice female and male runners. We furthermore will assess knowledge, attitude, and beliefs of novice female and male runners related to sport injury prevention strategies, explore adoption and maintenance of the NMT warm-up program after the intervention season (the following year) in novice female and male runners, monitor overall physical activity using wearable technology in novice female and male runners, and investigate the recovery of heart rate variability (HRV) and its relationship with endurance performance in novice female and male runners.

Study Setting

This study is a cluster randomized controlled trial. The data collection was conducted during 2021 and was repeated in 2022.

Principal Investigators

Jari Parkkari, Kati Pasanen

Research Group

Jari Parkkari (University of Jyväskylä), Kati Pasanen (Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Tampere Reserch Center of Sports Medicine), Leppänen Mari (Tampere Reserch Center of Sports Medicine), Piia Kaikkonen (Tampere Reserch Center of Sports Medicine), Heidi Jarske (Tampere Reserch Center of Sports Medicine), Tommi Vasankari (The UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research), Tron Krosshaug (Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences), Penny Werthner (Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary), Benno M. Nigg (Human Performance Laboratory, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary)

Project Partners

The project is carried out at the Tampere Research Center of Sports Medicine, UKK Institute, Tampere, Finland. The other project partners are the University of Calgary, University of Jyväskylä, and the Norwegian School of Sport Science.


The Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland; Competitive State Research Financing of the Expert Area of Tampere University Hospital, Finland

Starting year


Ethical Approval

Ethics Committee of Pirkanmaa Hospital District 21.8.2020 (ETL-code R20042)

Last updated: 16.5.2024

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