Camaraderie, friendship with teammates and working toward a common goal are among the benefits of running, according to Joel Brenner, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, who counsels beginning runners through marathoners.

As summer draws to a close, the running paths become crowded with high school and middle school cross country runners racking up the miles as they begin training for the fall season. Some adolescents chip away at distances of 30 to 50 miles a week; some double up on workouts to develop endurance. The pressure to build speed can be as heavy as the late August humidity.

When the going gets tough, overcoming mental hurdles can become as important as meeting physical needs. Pediatricians are in a position to assess young runners and recognize potential problems.

Whether pediatricians are counseling seasoned runners or helping beginners start off on the right foot, first and foremost in injury prevention is wearing the proper...

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