Run without injuries

Download the Tip Sheet (PDF)
Prepare a 10-minute AMA Youth Run Club School Health Advocacy Talk on “Run, Run For Fun ... Without Injuries” based on the suggested talking points, below:

1. Do you know the secrets to good running?

  • Pace yourself – run at your own speed; “start low and go slow” in training for any new activity.
  • Push yourself a little – when you feel like walking, try running slowly instead.
  • Don’t give up – AMA Youth Run Club is here to help you get really good at running. You can do it!

2. Avoid some common pitfalls of running. Ask the kids the following questions:

  • Should you eat before you run? (Avoid cramping by eating after you run.)
  • Do you need to warm up? (It’s helpful to engage in some dynamic stretching, pre-run. Demonstrate, e.g. arm-swinging, torso twists, leg swings. Dynamic stretching improves motion and loosens up the muscles you’re going to use while running. Walk, do a slow jog, play a running game.)
  • Is there a “right” (and a “wrong”) way to run? (Learn the right way to run; your coach will help you.)
  • Should you run in cowboy boots or sandals? (Wear running shoes that fit well and make sure laces or Velcro are done up properly.)
  • If you’re new to running, should you just go out and start with a 10K run or race? (Avoid the “Terrible Too’s” – doing TOO much, TOO soon, TOO fast. Little by little increase how far you run and how fast you run.)
  • “Heads up!” when you’re running, but also “Eyes down-to-the ground!” Why? (Of course, you need to avoid running into things, like poles! But you also need to be aware of the terrain you’re running on. If the ground is uneven, like old sidewalks or bumpy, grassy areas, pick your feet up, so you don’t trip.)
  • Why shouldn’t you run the same route, in the same direction, all the time? (It’s good to change your route from time-to-time, and to run it in different directions, so that down-hill and up-hill sections aren’t always the same and you aren’t always turning corners in the same direction, etc. This helps avoid repetitive motion injuries.)
  • Can I just flop on the couch after my run? (Do a cool-down routine after running, that includes static stretching, focusing on the muscle groups you used while running, such as your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps.)

3. What to do if you get a “stitch” in your side:

(Explain what a “stitch” is - reference - page 16, Ever Active School’s Runner’s Handbook)

  • Slow down – but keep running.
  • Breathe in through your nose and blow out hard through your mouth. (Demonstrate)
  • If the side-stitch goes away but comes back, slow down and do the breathing in/blowing out exercise again.
  • If the side-stitch doesn’t go away, stop running and walk doing mouth-nose breathing until it does go away; then start running again – but SLOWLY.
  • If side-stitches happen regularly, the problem is probably poor, or inadequate, hydration.

4. What to do for muscles or joints that hurt:

  • Some aches, pains or sore muscles are normal and should be expected. It’s your body getting used to the stress and exercise of running.
  • Tell your coach about pain that really hurts, doesn’t get better overnight or after resting, and doesn’t stop hurting even if you stop running.
  • Usually, pulled or sprained muscles or joints can be treated at home, with the help of an adult, using RICE – not the kind you eat! (explain what RICE is)
     R = Rest (a few days off from running)
     I = Ice (for 15-20 minutes 3-4 times a day for two days)
     C = Compression (an adult wraps the area so it’s snug but not too tight)
     E = Elevate (put the injured area on a pillow so it’s higher than your heart)
  • If RICE doesn’t help, it’s important for an adult to take you to see your doctor.

Talk Support Tips

  • Present yourself as an “injured runner” or as an injury waiting to happen. Dress up with bandages on your leg/foot, crutches, etc., so kids get a visual picture to associate with the inconvenience of injury.
  • Ask for a volunteer and show where most ankle sprains occur (around lateral malleolus) and the type of movement (landing position, etc.) that usually causes this type of injury. Use the volunteer to demonstrate RICE.
  • Consider an audience give-away/take-away, such as fun band-aids, sport stickers, transfer tattoos, miniature icepacks …
  • Contact Jodi-Ann Sadler, AMA Professional Affairs (780-482-0305 | 1.800.272.9680, ext. 5305) to obtain a small give-away item to distribute to the students, post-talk.


Source: Ever Active School’s Runner’s Handbook:

  • The secrets to being a better runner (page 18)
  • Getting rid of a side-stitch (page 16)
  • Injury prevention and treatment (pages 25-26)
  • What to wear when running - clothes and shoes (pages 12)
  • Head-to-Toe (to breathing) Running Form checklist (pages 14-16)
  • Stretching exercises (pages 22-24)

HELPFUL HINT: Talk to the run club coach before selecting your topic; for coach contact information, contact Hayley Degaust, Provincial Projects Coordinator, Ever Active Schools ( | 780.454.4745)

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