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Running, as a sport, can involve a number of
different forms, including the following:
Cross-country. A sport in which
teams of runners compete on long-distance road running courses.
Track and field. A sport that
includes track events, like sprints, distance running, hurdles, and
relays, and field events that involve throwing and jumping.
Marathon. A long-distance
(about 26 miles) road running event.
Triathlon. A 3-part event that
includes swimming, cycling, and running. Distances vary depending on the
age of the athletes.
Running injuries are common and there can be a
variety of causes. Running injuries can be caused by improper training (for
example, doing too much too fast), mechanical problems (for example, high arch
or flat foot), or previous injuries. Other causes may be the environment (for
example, uneven or hilly terrain; hot or cold weather conditions) or previous
injuries. While not all injures can be prevented, the risk of injuries can be
The following is information from the American
Academy of Pediatrics about how to prevent running injuries. Also included is a
list of common running injuries.
Sports physical exam.
Athletes should have a preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE) to
make sure they are ready to safely begin the sport. The best time for a
PPE is about 4 to 6 weeks before the beginning of the season. Athletes
also should see their doctors for routine well-child checkups.
Fitness. Athletes should
maintain a good fitness level during the season and off-season.
Preseason training should allow time for general conditioning and sport-
specific conditioning. Also important are proper warm- up and cool-down
Technique. Athletes should
learn and practice safe techniques for performing the skills that are
integral to their sport. Athletes should work with coaches and athletic
trainers on achieving proper technique.
Nutrition. Eating healthy
and the right amount of calories is important. A good rule to follow is
to eat an extra 100 calories for every mile run.
Running shoes should
fit properly. (See “Foot type.”)
Running shoes should
be changed every 6 months or 300 to 500 miles.
Shin splints (lower
Stress fractures of
the lower leg or foot
Tendonitis of the
knee and ankle
disease (an inflammation of the growth plate that
causes pain in the heel)
Plantar fasciitis (a
common cause of heel pain under the arch of the
begin a strengthening program that works on the
hips, buttocks, abdominal, knee, and ankle
other activities such as water jogging and
begin a stretching program that works on the hips,
thighs, calves, and back of the legs.
should be incorporated.
Athletes should run
on soft, even surfaces whenever possible (flat dirt
or grass surfaces are best).
increase their weekly mileage by no more than 10%
(for example, if you currently run 20 miles, only
increase to 22 miles the next week).
Limit speed work to
1 to 2 days per week.
Limit how much fiber
is eaten 24 hours before an event.
participation by children and teens should be
limited to shorter, age-appropriate distances.
Children and teens
should not be encouraged to participate in
marathons, and youth records should not be kept to
with cool water and sports drinks is important.
Athletes should determine their individual sweat
rate, then replace every pound lost with 16 to 20
ounces of fluid.
Sweat rate=Pre-workout weight - Post 1-hour
Athletes should not
run, bike, or swim in extreme hot or cold
intake is important. In addition, runners should get
1,300 mg of calcium per day (1,500 mg for females
with no menstrual period).
should keep track of their menstrual periods. They
should see a doctor if they start to miss menstrual
To determine your foot type, wet the bottom of
your foot and step on a piece of cardboard. Match the imprint with the choices
in the table below.