Unprepared marathon runners may injure themselves

Unprepared marathon runners may injure themselves

Marathons, obstacle courses and other races are becoming increasingly popular. It doesn't hurt that different race sponsors are making things interesting with the use of mud pools and stunt performers acting as hungry zombies. While some people appreciate an opportunity to raise money for a charitable cause, others are snapping up the chance to become more physically fit.

However, just because marathon running equals exercise doesn't automatically mean it's good for you. If you don't train properly, you may put your body and your heart at serious risk of injury – not quite what you signed up for.

Research shows 'proper preparation' is needed
A team of scientists from the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Quebec in Canada noted that a growing number of studies were linking extreme sports to heart problems. To find out whether this can be permanent, they conducted a study among 20 amateur marathon runners, in which they performed MRI tests of the heart and collected blood samples before and after a race. Results showed that, following a marathon, the hearts of half the runners had decreased function, and some even had reduced blood flow.

These negative changes were more likely to occur in runners who had lower levels of fitness and training.

"Although no permanent injury was observed in this group of runners, the findings suggest that there may be a minimum fitness level needed beyond which the heart can bounce back from the strain of training and running a long race," study author Eric Larose, D.V.M., M.D., FRCPC, FAHA, said in a statement. "Furthermore, these results emphasize the need for proper preparation before recreational distance runners engage in a marathon race."

So what's the best way to train? Anna Renderer, a columnist for FitSugar, suggested an 18-week plan that starts at 11 miles a week and ramps up to 40 miles a week by Week 14. Distance wise, long runs go from 4 miles to 20 miles at a time. In between running days, there has to be room for other activities to support a healthy body, such as foam roller massage, cross-training through activities like yoga, and rest. Additionally, there are stretching exercises to make help reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

During any sort of training, the omega-3 fatty acids in Omax3 can be very helpful. Not only is this nutrient good for cardiovascular health, but it can also maintain joint and muscle comfort by promoting proper inflammatory responses.