Training Tips for CHKD RunWalk For The Kids

By: Dana Strozier, DPT

Safe Progression of Training Using the “10% Rule”

  • Increase running work load gradually! This means initially limiting your distance, intensity, and frequency. Start with low mileage and low intensity a couple days a week, and work your way up slowly to avoid overuse injuries. The “10% Rule” is widely accepted in the running community as a guideline for safely increasing training loads. This means you should increase your weekly mileage by no more than 10% each week.

Finding the Best Pair of Running Shoes

  • Buying running shoes can be an overwhelming experience! It is important that you are running in the appropriate running shoe for your individual foot type and running mechanics. An easy option to begin this process is to visit a local specialty running store. The employees are trained in basic running biomechanics, so they can make a recommendation for what shoe type is best for you based on watching you run. A sports medicine physician or physical therapist can also make recommendations for proper footwear.
  • Make sure your shoes fit comfortably! You should have enough space for the width of a finger (or about ¼ inch) to fit between the end of your longest toe to the end of the shoe.
  • Running shoes should be replaced every 6 months or every 400-500 miles.
  • See the CHKD Sports Medicine “Selecting the Right Athletic Shoe” brochure here

Proper Hydration to Enhance Performance

  • Dehydration is the number one nutrition-related reason for poor performance and can lead to heat-related illness. Adequate fluid intake before, during, and after workouts is the best defense against dehydration.
    • Drink 16-20 ounces of fluid 1-2 hours prior to exercise, and drink every 20 minutes during your run or workout.
      • For workouts lasting longer than 1 hour, drink a sports drink to replace carbohydrates and electrolytes. Look for a drink with less than 19 grams of carbohydrates per 8 ounce serving.
    • Warning signs of dehydration:
      • Thirst, irritability, headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, decreased performance
    • See the CHKD Sports Medicine “Hydration” brochure here for more details

Running-Related Pain and Injuries

  • Pain with running is a warning sign from your body. Running through pain will likely only exacerbate the problem. Listen to your body! Most running-related injuries are easily treated if caught and addressed early. Do not take over-the-counter pain medications or anti-inflammatory medications before or during runs. In addition to causing problems to your kidneys or GI system, this could also mask pain and allow you to continue running and do further damage. Instead, modify your routine until pain subsides. This might mean temporarily slowing your pace, decreasing your mileage, or cross-training instead of running. If pain persists or worsens, schedule an appointment with your doctor. If possible, try to schedule an appointment with a physician who specializes in running injuries. If you are referred to physical therapy, try to find a sports medicine physical therapist that specializes in treating runners.

Race Day!

  • Race day is not the day to try anything new!! Anything you are planning on utilizing on race day (i.e. your new shoes, new running clothing, the sports drink provided on the course, or your pre-run breakfast) needs to be tested during training runs. This can help to prevent injuries, blisters, or an upset stomach during your race.

Special Considerations for Kids

  • Choose the appropriate distance for your child’s age and training level
    • Typically, children don’t achieve a mature, coordinated running gait pattern until they are at least 5 years old. Generally, children 5 years old and older are appropriate for dashes and for kids’ fun runs. Older children and adolescents with more training experience may be ready to progress to a 5K or 8K distance. For children interested in endurance running events (i.e. half marathons), it is important that they are evaluated by a doctor prior to initiation of training. They need to be followed closely by health professionals, coaches, and parents to watch for signs of injury or burnout.
    • Make sure your child knows it is okay to walk if he or she is tired!
  • Make running fun!
    • Running should be fun! Focus on participation, a healthy lifestyle, and self-improvement, not on winning. Participation in running should be child-driven, not parent or coach-driven.
  • Run with your child!
    • Don’t expect your child to train alone. Run with them, and let them set the pace! They will likely enjoy the run much more with you by their side!
  • Children need proper running shoes too!
    • Even young children who are doing any sort of regular running should be fitted for appropriate running shoes. Many running shoe companies that make adult shoes also make children’s shoes. Visit your local specialty running store to explore your child’s options!
Posted in General, Hydration, Injury Prevention, Nutrition, Running | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

I Tore My ACL…Now What?

By: Nicole Skipper, ATC

Partial ACL TearFor most athletes, one of the injuries they fear sustaining is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  Their season is likely over, and they worry their career could be too.  With a rehabilitation process of 6 months to a year, athletes must decide quickly how they want recover.  Listed below are options available to discuss with your physician for surgical and nonsurgical ACL tear repair.

Nonsurgical Treatment:

You do not have to have surgery.  Athletes and non-athletes can live an active lifestyle with a torn ACL.  The deciding factors to determine if it’s safe or to not fix the tear include the amount of instability and surrounding tissue damage.  Partial ACL tears, physical activity with low demand for cutting and twisting, low instability, and no tears or fractures of structures in the knee joint may be reasons to not have surgery.  You will still go through physical therapy with a goal of obtaining pre-injury strength and function.

Surgical Treatment:

Surgery is a common treatment for ACL tears.  “Active patients involved in sports or jobs that require pivoting, turning or hard-cutting as well as heavy manual work are encouraged to consider surgical treatment.”  Lifestyle and activities of daily living are important deciding factors to determine if you should have surgical intervention, not your age.

Once you have decided to have surgery, you need to discuss the best type of repair for your injury, lifestyle, and body.  The first decision is allograft verse autograft repair.  Allograft repair means tissue from another source, such as a cadaver.  ACL grafts from cadaver patellar, hamstring, and achilles tendons can be used in surgery in the same ways as autograft tissues. Autograft repair means using tissues from your own body to replace the torn ACL.  The four most common autograft tissues are the quadriceps, hamstring, patellar tendon, and combination of semitendinosous and gracilis tendons – a technique known as double bundle.

Athletes need to discuss the pros and cons to their surgical or nonsurgical repair of their torn ACL.  They should be prepared to ask questions and understand what their decision means for their recovery process.  An ACL tear isn’t the end of the world, just another challenge to overcome.


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Investing In Recovery

By: Jonathan Starcke, ATC, VATL

Yesterday, an athlete came into the training room while I sat at the desk finishing some paperwork. Not saying a word, he flopped down face-first onto the nearest treatment table and immediately closed his eyes. A few moments passed in silence. I waited. Finally, I asked him if he needed anything. He stirred and sat up. His shoulders slumped and his eyelids drooped. “I’m so tired,” he said, “I never used to feel this tired.” He proceeded to tell me about all of the activities (in addition to sports) that he participated in at school. By the end of his narrative, I was feeling tired too!

“I know you’ve probably heard this before,” I said, “But you need to start blocking off some time for recovery or you will get burned out.” We spent the next few minutes discussing simple strategies he could use to improve his performance without sacrificing his sanity.

1. Prioritize sleep. Morgenthaler et al. (2006) found that “Chronic insomnia is associated with a reduced quality of life, impaired daytime functioning, increased loss of time from work and higher health costs”. An athlete who cannot sleep cannot perform. The Mayo Clinic Staff (2014) recommends using a sleep schedule, limiting alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine consumption, and exercising regularly as methods to improve quality of sleep.

2. Stay hydrated. The International Olympic Committee (2010) recommended that “Athletes should be well hydrated before exercise and drink sufficient fluid during exercise to limit dehydration to less than about 2% of body mass.” This means that an athlete who weighs 150 lbs should consume enough fluids during exercise so that their post-exercise weight loss is less than 3 lbs. Dehydration can adversely affect performance.

3. Eat plenty of food. The IOC Consensus Statement on Sports Nutrition (2010) states that “Dieting in young athletes should be discouraged. Robust immunity and reduced risk of infection can be achieved by consuming a varied diet adequate in energy and micronutrients.” Young athletes have growing bodies that require a variety of nutrients to support not only their athletic performance but also their overall health. An athlete needs nutrients to perform.

Although the advice is simple, it is often neglected. School is a demanding environment. Coupled with athletic participation and other activities it can be difficult for athletes to meet the overwhelming demands on their time and energy. Prioritizing sleep, staying hydrated, and eating plenty of food can help busy athletes continue to perform at their best while maintaining some semblance of sanity.


International Olympic Committee. (2010). IOC consensus statement on sports nutrition 2010. Lausanne, CH: International Olympic Committee.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Sleep tips: 7 steps to better sleep.

Morgenthaler T; Kramer M; Alessi C et al. Practice parameters for the psychological and behavioral treatment of insomnia: an update. An American Academy of Sleep Medicine report. SLEEP 2006;29(11): 1415-1419.

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Sleep: An Essential Ingredient to Maximize Sports Performance

By: Sara Rau, DPT

Sleep1When athletes think about ways to improve their athletic performance, they usually think of training, diet and maybe even supplements.  But many don’t realize that sleep is just as important to their performance.  It is recommended that athletes get at least 1 hour of extra sleep than what is recommended of their non-athlete peers.  This can be achieved by going to bed earlier or even taking a nap.

Studies have shown that adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep/night to reach their peak performance.  However, more sleep is essential for cognitive and physical development of children.  School-aged children ages 6-13 years old require 9-11 hours and teens require 8-10 hours of sleep per night.  This is because the human growth hormone is only secreted during sleep.  This hormone repairs the body as well as is a key factor for growth and development both cognitively and physically.

Sleep2Some studies have looked specifically at the effect of sleep on athletic performance.  They found that an increase in sleep improved speed, reaction time, accuracy of skills, mood, vigor and decreased fatigue.  On the flip side, a lack of sleep can cause slower reaction time, mood disturbances and fatigue.

So in order to help maximize your athletic performance, try these tips:

  • Try to increase your sleep time either with going to bed earlier or taking a nap in the afternoon. Be careful not to take a nap that is too long or too close to bed time to affect your night-time sleep.
  • Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule during the week and keep as close to the same schedule as possible during the weekend.
  • Get yourself in the habit of doing the same routine before you go to bed. This will teach your body that it’s bedtime and get ready to sleep.
  • Avoid caffeine later in the day to avoid affecting your sleep at night.
  • Don’t eat, drink or exercise within a few hours of going to bed. Avoid procrastination and try to finish your homework early to give yourself time to rest your brain before going to sleep.  Try to do calm, quiet activities before bed.
  • Keep a sleep journal or to-do list near your bed. Write down things that are on your mind so that you will have a greater ability to stop worrying or stressing to enable sleep.


Blumert PA, Crum AJ, Ernsting M, Volek JS, Hollander DB, Haff EE, Haff GG.  The acute effects of twenty-four hours of sleep loss on the performance of national-caliber male collegiate weightlifters.  J Strength & Cond Res. 2007;21(4):1146-1154

Mah CD, Mah KE, Kezirian EJ, Dement WC.  The effects of sleep extension on the athletic performance of collegiate basketball players.  SLEEP.  2011;34(7):943-950.

Scott JPR, McNaughton LR, Polman RCJ.  Effects of sleep deprivation and exercise on cognitive, motor performance and mood.  Physiology & Behavior. 2006;87:396-408.

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Pilates Program: 6-Week Program for Athletes

Pilates ProgramFor young athletes, a well-rounded strength and conditioning program can improve sports performance and reduce the risk of injury.  The benefits of Pilates include: improved posture, relaxation and stress management, injury prevention, increased core strength, increased body awareness, and improved recovery after injury. At CHKD, we know that cross-training and exposing children to various types of training can lead to lifelong changes.

This class meets twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays for six weeks.

Register at

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