I've been encouraging my elder son (now 11) to run since he was about 7 or 8. His basic aerobic fitness was always q good (probably because Mrs S walked him the 3/4 mile to/from primary school), and 2 years ago was progressing really well.
Last year was a disaster however, as he had Achilles tendinitis (sorted with stretching exercises) & one or two health problems (also now cleared). Earlier this year we also found that he had a tendency to (vigorous) exercise-induced asthma - he now has an inhaler for this.
He's now started at secondary school, whose regime means it's much less convenient to take him to the nearest athletics club in the evenings. On the other hand, the school is v keen on its cross country & athletics, so that seems like the natural replacement.
Unfortunately it seems he's struggled at several of the school X-C sessions so far, apparently due to a regularly recurring stitch. Knowing how he eats, I doubt whether it's due to lunchtime overindulgence, and I wondered if there could be any age-related reason why he might be prone to this.
On the one hand, I'd like to get to the bottom of this and sort it out just to restore his confidence. I'm sure that, once he can run with his peers without worrying about what might next go wrong, the ability he showed in the past will show itself again.
On the negative side, I'm concerned that, with all the setbacks he's had over the last 18 months or so, more negative experiences will put him off running altogether. It's currently his only source of significant exercise (now he gets the bus to school), and he needs some sort of antidote to the PS2/Gameboy/PC games he now seems to play constantly.....