Running the Marathon - Health Risks


Running a marathon is the ultimate goal for a hobby athlete. But there can be dangers involved in running a 26.2 mile or 41.2 km race. Most health problems that happen during a marathon race are not very severe – mainly strains and sprains.

In some cases, however, heart problems have led to deaths during or immediately after a marathon. In the United States researchers found out that of 11 million runners who have taken part in marathons or half marathons in the last decade 42 died. Most of them had heart problems or heart-related diseases.



Many health experts advise beginners to see doctors before they take up training for a race. People with heart problems or diabetes should also consult doctors before running long distances at all.

Many hobby athletes do not prepare themselves in the right way for a race. Getting yourself in good physical shape over a period of months is not always easy and requires a lot of self-discipline. Training must start slowly, with short distances, so that your body can get used to the physical stress. Runners often make the mistake of running too fast at the beginning. Rest periods should follow days of training. Running advisors say that about a month before a marathon you should be able to run 15 miles, or almost three quarters of the marathon distance, at a comfortable speed. Having enough reserves at the end is also a sign that you are in good shape.

Training too much, however, can lead to stiffness in your muscles or other injuries. In such a case you should lower your training rate and take a few days off.


Shortly before a marathon starts warming up and stretching can be important for your overall performance. One of the biggest problems that marathon runners face during a race is dehydration, not getting enough to drink. If it’s very hot your body can lose up to four liters of fluid through sweating and breathing out air. One of the most important tasks for a runner is to drink enough throughout a race.



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  • advise = suggest
  • advisor = here: trainer, coach
  • athlete = sportsman
  • comfortable = relaxed
  • consult = talk with
  • decade = ten years
  • dehydration = to lose too much water from your body
  • diabetes = serious disease in which there is too much sugar in your blood
  • disease = illness
  • distance = space between two places
  • fluid = something watery
  • follow = come after
  • get used to = to do something so often that it is no longer a problem
  • goal = aim, what you want to reach
  • heart-related = about the heart
  • however = but
  • immediately = at once
  • injury = situation of being hurt
  • involved = to be connected with in some way
  • lead – led = cause
  • lose = go away
  • performance = how well you do something
  • physical = body
  • physical shape = condition of the body
  • require = need
  • researcher = person who studies something to find out more about it
  • reserves = to have enough of something so that you can use it if needed
  • self-discipline = the ability to make yourself do what you know you should do, even if you don’t want to
  • severe = serious
  • sprain = to damage a movable part of your body by twisting it or turning it sharply
  • stiffness = if you are firm or straight or cannot bend anything
  • strain = injure a muscle by using it too much or working too hard
  • stretching = to make your arms or legs straight
  • sweat = when salty liquid comes out of your skin because it is hot or you have exercised a lot
  • take a few days off = here: stop exercising for a few days
  • take up = start
  • throughout = in the whole
  • ultimate = last, final, biggest
  • warm up = to do exercises to prepare your body for a race