More than 7,400 participants started to fill in the online-survey. However, 48% dropped out, with a total of 3,835 runners who completed the survey. Incomplete, inconsistent and conflicting data sets were excluded from data analysis (n = 834). In order to control for measures of (1) running activity and (2) diet, two groups of control questions were included, each within different sections of the survey. A total of 156 participants with no statement about running training (e.g., training time) were excluded from data analysis. Moreover, in order to control for a minimal status of health linked to a minimum fitness level, and to further enhance the reliability of data sets, the BMI approach followed the (World Health Organization [WHO], 2018a,b). However, with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2, additional health protective and/or weight loss strategies other than running are necessary to safely reduce body weight first, to reduce body weight with no risk. Therefore, 42 participants with a BMI ≥30 kg/m2 were excluded from data analysis.

After data clearance, a total of 2,864 recreational runners (1,628 women, 1,236 men) with complete data sets were included for descriptive statistical analysis. Those active in running events were included in further statistical analyses. In order to control for the latter, the individual best runtimes were verified by randomly selected cases. Figure 1 shows the flow of participants’ enrollment for the NURMI Study Step 1.

Flow of participants’ enrollment NURMI Study Step 1.

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