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 reduced.

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.

General injury prevention and safety tips

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 exercises.

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.