Summary of an article testing the effect of strength exercises on the rate of overuse injuries in the first-time runners.
720 first-time New York City Marathon runners aged above 18 years (USA).
Randomized controlled trial of an e-intervention.
Strength training group
- 10 minutes video + handout with exercises focusing on strength of core, hip abductor, and quadriceps in beginners and advanced versions
- 3 times per week for 12 weeks
- trained by themselves
- no restriction of strength training
- repeated surveys (every two weeks) of injuries (minor, major), overuse injuries
- marathon finishing time
- Runners performed the strength training on average 2 (±1.2) times per week.
- The average finishing time was 5h 1.1minutes (60.4 minutes) in the strength training group and 4h 57.5 minutes (54.4 minutes) in the control group (no difference).
- There was no difference in major injuries between the groups.
- Most overuse injuries happen in the training 6 to 2 weeks before the race. These injuries were: bone stress injuries (20), tendon/fascia injuries (11), joint injuries (9), muscle injuries (9) and 3 unspecified.
- No difference in minor injuries during training period between groups. 46.3% of runners in the strength training group and 50.5% in control group got at least one injury during the study.
- No difference in minor injuries during the race: 14.7% in strength training group and 16.1% in the control group.
- When compliant (strength training 2 times per week) and non-compliant runners from the strength training group were compared, the compliant runners had a lower incidence of minor injuries (41.5% vs 56.2%). Compliant runners ran slower (5h 2.7 minutes vs 4h 58.2 minutes) and had higher incidence of major injuries (9.1% vs 8.0%).
Take home message
Toresdahl BG, McElheny K, Metzl J, Ammerman B, Chang B, Kinderknecht J. A randomized study of a strength training program to prevent injuries in runners of the New York City Marathon. Sports health. 2020 Jan;12(1):74-9.