October 31, 2010

RUN FATBOY, RUN! ... and possibly die

In Recent Years, the popularity of marathons, specifically half marathons has taken the world by storm.  As more and more people are running and getting into the larger events like the city half marathons, the questions start to beg:  are marathons really good for you?  There are deaths at regular intervals each year at marathons.  It is the quintessential gauge to measure one's fitness, endurance and on many peoples' "bucket list".
In a recent article in my province's biggest paper, the article is pointing at the finds made by Laval University professor and cardiologist Dr. Eric Larose
"Those with less training experienced lower blood flow and the segments of the heart — there's 17 in the left ventricle — showed signs of greater irritation, he added.
"Without proper training, marathon running can damage your heart. Fortunately the exercise-induced injury is reversible over time," said Dr. Larose. "But it could take up to three months to completely recover."

So is marathons actually bad for your health?  Not if properly trained, with appropriate hydration, fueling and the discipline in rest and recovery.  
Run Fatboy, Run!
What have I gleaned from this information is that the marathon distance, even the half marathon distance, is not something to take lightly.  It tests your overall health in a way that most people will not and probably should not attempt.  That is, without proper preparation.  Making it a part of one's "do before I kick the bucket" list raises concern in that some individuals in their hopes to just "get it done" ( watch RUN, FAT BOY RUN) could be practicing the scenarios in which put people at risk of this heart damage, as well as injury.  This movie was an AWEFUL, but most entertaining example of what this research was pointing at.  The main character attempts to run a marathon in a few short weeks, trains inconsistently, intensely, and for questionable reasons, then... well, you should watch it to see how it ends.
So, would I discourage people from signing up?  Yes!  That is if I knew them to not properly prepare and possibly put themselves in a do-or-die setting with little realistic anticipation of what it will require.
If however, this person were already looking at a lifestyle change, was already making the necessary steps to ready themselves, and were able to look at the marathon as a long-term plan for their lives, then I say go for it!  With some places to research the right plan, they could move mountains fitness-wise!


Anonymous said...

Now I have another reason not to run.

Patrick said...

Great post. I agree that marathons and half-marathons are not to be taken lightly. Entering a half-marathon or marathon without the proper training is a recipe for disaster.

Chad said...

Thanks anonymous, although that was not my point in this post. Running is worthwhile if a person is to take the sport to a level in increments in which they are thinking long term, taking care to recuperate, enjoy themselves and rest when necessary. Food and hydration are major factors in keeping the ticker in tip top shape too, as dehydration and inefficiently fueling can also be harmful, as with any sport which requires prolonged aerobic activity.

Chad said...

Hey Patrick, thanks for that. I like to recipes for success....hmmm i smell another blog post....

Kenley said...

You were right on man. Though the movie was very entertaining, from a runner's view, was also false in terms of what really happens. I was waiting till after my first marathon to comment on this one. The guy running this, it was like an ultra for him going that late at night. lol. Congrats again on your Marathon. Stellar time.

Chad said...

Yes, hollywood at its best right? :P