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Article by Infofit

Warning To Would-be Marathon Runners

Heart damage can be done if runers push their body too hard.

Did you know that marathon runners can damage their heart?

Although the effect is reversible and temporary, the damage was more pronounced in people who were in a less fit condition, those who likely push harder. The research suggest that marathon runners needed a minimum fitness level so their heart can bounce back from the strain of training and running a long race.

Marathon runners needed a minimum fitness level

Presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, marathoner cardiologist Dr.Eric Larose designed this marathon runners study with his own health in mind. Recruiting 20 volunteer marathon runners, some were novice, in training for their 1st race and others had experienced 30 + races. The marathon runners were tested 6-8 weeks before the race, just after they passed the finish line and 3 months after.

VO2 Max

The study recorded the marathon runners fitness levels with their VO2 max . They measured their respiration rate/exchange of  carbon dioxide and oxygen and pre- marathon imaging tests on the heart to define strain with inflammation including blood flow. They learned that the temporary damage was to the myocardium. More than 50% of the heart was in distress, something which is comparable to changes that occur during a heart attack. In response to the heart strain, increased levels of troponin appeared, reducing blood flow. These changes began right after finishing the marathon. The imaging pointed out that the heart was not functioning efficiently and was struggling below normal capacity.

comparable to changes that occur during a heart attack

Learning of these complications, personal trainers are advised to condition marathon runners to be mindful of the risk of their improved pace on race day. Remind marathon runners that heart damage can be done if they push their body too hard. Further to warning them to use caution, ensure that they have followed an appropriate program to build them up to marathon readiness.