There are many myths surrounding whether or not children should run long distances. The main cause for concern is that they will do long-term damage to their joints, including introducing the possibility of arthritis at an early age. There is no basis for these claims, and we agree with the many other experts who have said children can run as long as they are physically able (while staying healthy).
The two main factors to consider are heat and aerobic capacity. As long as kids drink plenty of fluids while participating in a running program and can avoid injury by not overtraining, they will be fine. We also recommend that they follow all the guidelines that other runners do, i.e. stretching before and after a run and wearing properly-fitted shoes.
For more answers to your questions surrounding your children and running please call Dr. Mitchell Wachtel at (978) 794-8406 to make an appointment with one of our three Massachusetts offices.