The Risks and Dangers of Running a Marathon

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

For decades, marathon running epitomized optimum health. After all, only the fittest bunch are able to run 27 miles, right? Not exactly. While long-distance running has its benefits, it does have a darker side. And sometimes, the darker side means dying for the love of the sport. Most athletes don’t discuss the risks and dangers of running. In today’s post, we are giving you some of the health risks and dangers of marathon running:

Enlargement of the Heart

Just like any cardio workout, long distance running affects the heart. The heart of an athlete is different than that of an average man. An athlete’s heart is larger because he is engaged in intense physical training. And there lies the danger.

When the heart becomes enlarged, the body compensates for the increased volume of blood. This leads to all sorts of heart problems including arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. In severe cases, arrhythmia will lead to heart failure. Unfortunately, it’s hard to detect this condition right away. Usually, it’s difficult to tell if the enlarged heart is hereditary or acquired through training. This has dire consequences. Many marathon runners died of heart failure because they were not able to get a proper diagnosis.


Hyponatremia is a rare and often fatal condition wherein the runner drink too much water while running. When we sweat, the body loses sodium. Too much water could deplete the body of sodium further. If there’s too much liquid in the body, the muscles aren’t able to work properly. That’s because the fluid is disrupting the electrical transmissions in the heart. This leads to sudden cardiac arrest or SCA. Again, it’s hard to gauge the amount of water a runner takes in when running and this makes marathon running even more dangerous.

Unhealthy Diet

Some marathon runners assume that they can get away with poor eating habits because they are physically fit. This is not the case at all. Being able to run two dozens of miles won’t absolve you from health problems from eating greasy, unhealthy foods.

Most heart problems related to marathon running are traced back to poor diet. A diet rich in saturated fat can lead to cardiovascular and arterial disease. And an active lifestyle will not save you from it. As such, an active lifestyle should always be paired with a healthy diet.

Severe Injuries

Some of the top marathon runners in the world consider suffering no injuries during their career as their greatest achievement. That’s because this sport is extremely hard on the body. A slight misstep is all it takes to suffer agonizing pain and months spent on recovery. Marathon running isn’t just about running long distances. You will literally push the mind and body to their limits. Keep in mind that the human body is not naturally built for long-distance running. This opens you up to a world of pain.

Muscles could be pulled, tendons are torn or inflamed. Overusing certain muscles, a small mistake, even obstructions in your path, all these things could lead to severe injuries. So if you are starting out, approach this sport with caution.

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