Running advice for teenager

Hi all,

Looking for a little advice.

Some of you may remember my boy suffered from Severs disease, a situation not an illness, his tendons not growing as quickly as his bones apparently - I still have doubts about the diagnosis. Its supposed to go away after weeks or months, after two years the NHS has walked away from it and I dont think it has gone away.

Anyway, he got into lifting with me at home for a few months now which I think has done two things; restored some self confidence (the most important), and strengthened/stretched his legs with the weighted squats. Hes about 60-65kg and now squatting 57.5kg 5x5 which Im a bit proud of frankly.:slightly_smiling_face:

So he asked for a treadmill for his birthday (tomorrow), and all being well it will be installed and working - I just dont want him to injure himself. For anxiety reasons he wont run outside, so tomorrow will be a bit of a voyage of discovery.

The question is how much to run?

He will probably listen to me, but you know boys. He got into Strava 30-40min sessions for a couple of months, then one day without me knowing he went into the cave for two or three hours, put in a Hero Session and hasnt ridden since! :sweat_smile:

No expert but I’d really start short and steady and build from there.

Might be a bit boring but better than getting injured and binning it surely?

I’m talking even as short as 15 minutes.

Obviously hope it helps of course.


I’d second that.

Seeing as that diagnosis (thanks google) is related to adolescent growth, he really should be softly softly to avoid aggravating it.

Although the flip-side is that activity genuinely is bloody useful in curing all sorts of ailments previously considered firmly medically-treatable only.

Maybe something like the structured couch-to-5k podcasts would help curb his excessive enthusiasm. Scratch that, bet he’ll be listening to grindcore, or whatever it’s called these days.

So, as you’re on Zwift, get a running pod and stick him on one of their intro structure plans. They start easily and gradually progress over (I think) 6 sessions with lots of walking intermixed. At least it’ll stop him going max out and aggravating things.

not strictly running advice but I often find my injuries generally revolve around tendon issues and something I’ve built in to my routine to supplement with collagen. Whilst I highly doubt it could be a cure for severs disease, at least by ensuring optimum nutrition you are giving the tendon the best opportunity to repair and grow in a positive way. The details of the article can be found here:

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What @jeffb says, but I’d go shorter, 10minutes even. 1min jog, 1min walk and build up. Do a bit every day! Build up to 6x10min runs a week and then take out 1 or 2 to 15minutes. I know it might seem boring but it’s the only way to make sufe hes still uninjured and running come Xmas.


Sever’s disease isn’t really a tendon injury, it’s the enthesis. This is where the tendon joins/becomes bone. It can become inflamed during growth, like Osgood Schlatter but at the heel instead of below the knee.

As for the actual running I would go with what the others have suggested. I would be careful about stretching though as this could just irritate the enthesis. Also, I am not convinced stretching is much use.

Edit: there was an autocorrect due to posting from phone.


I’d agree with this too, not just from a physical perspective but psychologically too.
If you aim to run for 15mins and can’t, there’s a feeling of failure if you have to walk.
If you intend to do a run/walk strategy then it’s all part of plan. If that’s easy then start increasing the run element over time. I’ve done it when coming back from injury and find it much better that way.

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Learn to do specific running drills, then learn to do the drills into running up to 10 - 15 metres, then learn to do the drills into running over gradually increasing distances until he can sustain good form for a minute. Gradually increase from there but stop to walk whenever form is lost.


As a separate point, have a look at Zwift running (it’s free, obviously not including the foot pod / etc).

He’ll probably get a lot out of it and could open the path to cycling…

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15 minutes is sometimes far too long for me.

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Reminds me of the saying that there are 3 ways to get something done. Do it yourself, pay someone to do it, or tell a teenager not to do it.

Sorry not very helpful for the point in question


Ha ha. So true.

I started running when in my teens, after my 4th year exams when I felt very unfit. Been running ever since. Never been coached. I wish I could have told my teenage self to mix up the training, stay off road as much as possible (I remember hammering an 8 mile road run and literally rolling around the living room in agony, legs, bones, muscles were in agony), cross-train (swim and ski machine), work on doing body-weight exercises like squats, stretch, and do some sort of repeatable time trial or race (parkrun would have been perfect) once every couple of months to gauge progress. I’d also have told myself to rest more and that resting is important, that short slow runs are actually beneficial, that you don’t need to run hard all the time, and that improving is a marathon and not a sprint so to speak - commit to manageable consistency rather than hammering yourself. I wish I’d had like-minded teens to run with when I was younger, maybe go to a club once a week?


You can have the best engine in the world but if tge chassis can’t carry it!

Single leg squats are brilliant for stability and core strength.

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This chassis isn’t doing too well at running right now…! Single leg squats have been good for me over the last couple of years. Takes a while to build them up though.


So pretty much as expected he listened to me for a while, then did his own thing. :sweat_smile:🤦🏻

~25mins at lunch walking 4, running 1. :+1:

Then came back in the evening while I was doing TR and watching SuperLeague Tri and did another half hour sprinting as hard as he could, then staggering, sprinting/staggering…ah well. Its more than Ive seen him move in months so, just hoping he doesnt feel it too much tomorrow.


I was going to comment earlier, but didn’t want to appear flippant. With all the chat about drills and strength work. When I was a teenager, there’s not a hope in hell that I’d have listened to boring stuff like that. I’m bad enough now, and I fully understand the impact and benefit!