Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recent Marathon Deaths

Running and motivating people to run has been my passion for a while. Nothing beats the rush of excitement before a long run and the elation after completing it. I was naturally very saddened to read about the deaths of several runners (including runners in their 20s/30s!) during the recent Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon (see article) and the San Jose Rock n Roll marathon (see article).

I hope this motivates people to train properly rather than feel discouraged about running. An informative article in Runner's World helps put things in perspective.

The risk of dying from a heart attack goes up about 5 to 7 times during marathoning or other strenuous exercise. It's actually lowest among those who exercise the most and the most vigorously--it's maybe double for them, while it's 30 to 50 times more dangerous for weekend warrior types who exercise infrequently. At the same time that you see these during-exercise risks, we also know that regular exercisers have about a 30 to 50 percent lower overall risk for heart attacks.

The most important thing is to listen to your body. We often get warning signals, and we have to learn to pay attention to them. Regular moderate to vigorous exercise is good for you, but it's just one piece of the puzzle. It's also important to take care of all the other areas of your life--your blood pressure, your diet, your cholesterol. These are a big part of the preventive story. Finally, unless you're planning to aim for the Olympic team in London, you don't necessarily have to be highly competitive. You can run slower marathons, and run them more for fun.

So train well, eat healthy and just go out and run. For me the comment from a reader on the San Jose article resonates well: "I guess if it's your time to go, do it doing something you love...."

Thanks to folks on the delhi runners list for sharing these articles

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