Posted by: smutchic | 2009-01-31

17 yr old female to run 21km marathon

My daughter has her heart set on running the 2 Oceans. The school she is at, will not let her train because they say she is damaging her bones at that age. She has trained regularly at the gym and I, as her mother, know she is prepared for it. Is there ANY truth in what they are saying? or is it just a way of keeping her under control? Please advise urgently. Thanks

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Our expert says:
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Hi there

Understandable concern, because a lot of people do get injured running. I don't think that running it is the problem per se, but rather the danger that she'll train too hard and then injure herself. The training and the race are only the "details", it's the execution that is the problem. It's dangerous, for example, for a 35 year old to try to train when they've never done anything before.

A 17-year old has to be a little careful about injury, because she'll be a little weaker and maybe more at risk of injury. But that's not the same as saying that training will be dangerous, because in fact, it will make her stronger and less likely to be injured IF she does it right.

So given that she's been training and is fit, my advice is that she should consult someone who can help her put together a training programme and then go for it. But rather err on the side of caution, in training and in racing. That's true for anyone, not just a 17-year old, so just take care to train below the limit, and she'll be fine.

Good luck

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