4 Ways to Prepare Your Kids for Track and Field
Check Out Support Insoles for Running Shoes
Track and field is the #1 participatory sport for high school and junior high school students, and for good reason. It’s a great way to keep kids active year-round with both outdoor and indoor track and field, giving them plenty of exercise and keeping them healthy. But without proper equipment and conditioning, kids can end up with stress fractures and other foot and leg injuries that will keep them off the track indefinitely.
So how can you make sure your kids have an incident-free track and field season? Here’s 4 ways to ensure they stay healthy and safe when running.
Wear Proper Footwear
When talking about any level of competitive running, it’s extremely important to not skimp out on the running shoes you purchase for your kids. You don’t want to buy a cheap pair of sneakers and expect your kids to not have sore or painful feet after practices or track meets. Instead, go to the closest running store and have the managers there do a full gait analysis on your kids’ feet. They’ll be able to tell you about the structure and shape of your kids’ feet, and point you to the shoes that will fit them best.
Stability Insoles for Running Shoes
Once you have proper footwear for your kids, consider purchasing a pair of stability insoles that complement the running shoes. Orthotic insoles not only add comfort, but also can help prevent foot injuries by providing greater support and motion control. The following insoles are a great addition to your kids’ running shoes and will help keep their feet in solid condition through the track and field season:
- Powerkids Pediatric 3/4 Length Insoles: Specifically made for kids, these insoles offer maximum cushioning and maximum support. They have a shock-absorbing top layer, with a firm and durable EVA base. They properly position and cradle the heel for rear-foot stability, and are ideal if your kids are more flat-footed.
- Pinnacle Maxx Full Length Orthotic Insoles: These insoles provide both maximum cushion and support, with a firmer shell and angled heel platform for increased arch support and motion control. If your kids need greater stability when they run, these are the insoles for them. They can fit in any athletic shoe, and help prevent and relieve pain associated with over-pronation, heel and arch pain, and other common foot ailments.
- Pinnacle Full Length Orthotic Insoles: Similar to the Pinnacle Maxx, the Pinnacle Full Length Insoles are ideal for those who need maximum cushioning but not as much support during the season. They offer a firm but flexible support shell, as well as a built-in foot support and heel cradle. With these arch support insoles, your kids will feel more comfortable in their running shoes and have increased stability.
Don’t Ignore the Warm Ups and Cool Downs
Stretching is the best way for your kids to get loose before they go sprinting around the track half a dozen times. Stretching protects against muscle and tendon overload, and can help prevent injuries throughout the season. The hardest part is just getting your kids into the habit of stretching before and after practice! Before driving them to practice, have them take 10 minutes to stretch out their legs and start their warmup early. You can even do it with them and get some stretching of your own in! It’s important to teach your kids early on the importance of stretching before and after practices and competitions, so they continue to do it as they grow up.
Be on the Alert for Foot Injuries
It’s not enough to get them to and from practice and attend their track meets. Ask them regularly how they are feeling after practices and competitions, and pay attention to how they’re running. You don’t have to be a running expert to notice a small limp in your kids’ stride or a pained expression on their face as they run. If you notice your kids are in pain or if they complain about foot or leg discomfort, make an appointment with a doctor to identify the problem as quickly as possible. Catching foot and leg problems early on will keep them from turning into long term issues and will help keep your kids stay competitive on the track.