Table 5

Appropriateness of running as a sport for preadolescent children

TopicStatementSORT rating
SpecialisationThere is limited evidence to support sport specialisation as a risk factor for overuse lower extremity injury in high school cross country and distance track athletesB
SpecialisationNo evidence is available to define an appropriate age to start specialisation in running or to suggest that specialisation in running improves athletic performanceB
Free PlayFree play outside of the sport of running should be encouraged for the overall growth and development of youth runnersC
Age-Appropriate DistancesEarly evidence suggests that youth runners physically and mentally prepared through a supervised training programme can participate in long distance events, but may be at low risk of running-related injuryC
Age-Appropriate DistancesThere are no studies to support specific distances or training recommendations for youth runners to prevent injury or guide normal growth and developmentC
  • SORT, strength of recommendation taxonomy.