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Running Safety


Running is a great and simple way to exercise that may be enjoyed by people of all ages.   While some fear that running long distances may not be healthy for children, so far there is no scientific evidence that supports or refutes the safety of children who run marathons.  Here are some tips to help limit the risk of injury to runners of all ages.       

Running Tips

  • Be careful of the sun. Ideally, plan your run in shady areas rather than direct sun. Always wear sunscreen of at least SPF 15, sunglasses, and a hat or visor to shade your face.
  • If possible, run during the portions of the day when the weather is best; avoid midday when it’s very hot out.
  • In winter, plan your run so that you run with the wind on the return portion of your run.
  • Check air pollution levels and consider running inside if they are high.
  • Running in high altitudes is more demanding. When adapting to higher altitude, start slowly, and slowly increase your pace and distance.
  • Use caution when running on uneven surfaces, as they are more likely to lead to injury.
  • If running frequently on a banked track or path, change which foot is on the higher side from time to time,
  • Use caution when running in limited light. Reflective clothing can help you to be visible to cars.
  • Use caution with headphones—make sure you can still hear your surroundings and traffic noises.
  • If possible, run with a buddy.
  • If running alone, make sure that you have emergency info written on your shoes or clothes; some companies make tags for this.
  • Make sure someone knows your planned route and approximate time you will return.
  • Carry a phone for emergencies.
  • Dress appropriately for cold weather: this means layers.  Overdressing can actually cause you to get too sweaty and then lose body heat. Ideally, wear an inner layer to pull sweat from your skin (wick), a warm middle layer for your upper body, and an outer layer that keeps out wind and moisture.
  • If running in very cold weather, make sure all your skin is covered. Petroleum jelly can be used for your nose and cheeks.
  • Controversy exists over the best type of running shoes. Make sure to find one that fits and is comfortable.
  • Replace worn-out shoes.  Shoes should be changed about every 250 miles. Keeping two pairs of shoes to alternate may also help, especially if often running in the rain.
  • Warm up gently and stretch before your run.
  • Increase your mileage slowly—dramatic mileage increases can lead to injury.
  • Stay hydrated.  Consider drinking 10 to 15 ounces of fluid about 15 minutes prior to your run, and if running a long distance (>30 minutes) make sure to have water with you or accessible on your route.

More Information

Q:  Is it safe for children to run long distance?

Yes.  Children are now participating in marathon running.  To date, there is no scientific evidence that supports or refutes the safety of children who run these distances.

Q: How can I keep up with fluid loss during a run?

Drink 10 to 15 ounces of fluid 10 to 15 minutes prior to running and every 20 to 30 minutes along the route.

Q: How often should I replace my running shoe?

About every 250 miles.

Q: When is the best time to run?

During hot months, avoid running during the middle of the day. 

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • Is it safe for my child to run long distance?
  • What are the risks of running?
  • What are the benefits of running?