Updated: June 12th, 2022
Myth or Truth? Dangers of running a marathon: part 2

You’ve read myths 1 to 5 and know we’re onto something here, and I guess the myth you’ve heard hasn’t been busted yet? Continue reading on, and if we miss it – get in touch!

Myth 6: Marathon running is bad for you

Whaaaaat? Most major marathons are televised now so tune in (or head over to an event yourself and volunteer) because I guarantee you will see so many smiling faces before, during and after the race – it’s such a vibe! You find lone runners end up in groups and the streets are packed! Lined with strangers offering sweets, banners of motivation and cheers for thousands of other strangers… it’s giving me goosebumps just thinking about it.

Yeah okay many people who train for a marathon are likely to pick up an injury of some kind, and the risk of friction injuries on the day is real (blisters, runner’s nipple black toe nails, chafing) along with dehydration if you’ve not prepared properly or the sun has come out, rather unexpectantly.

Dehydrated runner

I’m not going to pretend that fatalities haven’t occurred whilst running a marathon- and more often than not the runner had an underlying health issue that lead to death as opposed to it being from the exertion of running. Research from the British Journal of Medicine has declared that 28 people (22 men, 6 women) have died during the race or within 24 hours of finishing. The male death rate was 0.98/100 000 and the female death rate was 0.41/100 000. The overall death rate was 0.75/100 000 or 1 death for every 132 798 finishers. So it is rather unlikely. But when we do say ‘check with your healthcare professional’ we MEAN it.

However, taking on a marathon training programme, squeezing in regular exercise to your busy schedule can make such a difference for you mentally and physically, so as long as you are sensible with your training there’s no reason marathon running can’t contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Yes, marathon running comes with risks and discomfort along the way, but talk to any runner who has completed one and I bet they’ve signed up for a few more because that finishers medal was so worth IT. Running long distances isn’t bad for you, just like eating chocolate – unless it’s excessive… You see, the key is everything in moderation, chocolate and running included.

Kid eating chocolate ice cream all over his mouth

Myth 7: You need an expensive, data-driven kit to succeed

Surely you’ve heard of the term ‘all the gear and no idea’ right? Luckily for runners, we do not NEED data, tech or anything fancy to run. Yes, we need correctly fitting shoes, that offer the support, cushioning and protection we need. Who says that can’t come from budget shoes or brands?

Whilst data can be important to understand progress and training to optimum levels purely for fitness gains it doesn’t have to be a lot. Some people prefer to keep it super simple and use a normal sports watch for a timer. Know they have to run for 2 hours… and off they go – not concerned with the distance covered. But to be honest, most smartwatches now will have GPS built in to give you mile by mile splits or distance ran Apple, Samsung, etc. So you may already have all the tech you “need”.

Depending on the way you prefer to train, depends on which kit or data will get through the training plan. For example, my ultramarathon training sessions are solely based on the ‘time spent on my feet’ and heart rate zones – because that works for me. I know I need to run 3 hours at zone 2 and I rely on my Garmin 245 watch for that, completely. It tells me when to ease off, mile split timings and overall distance covered (I keep it pretty basic).

Too much information isn’t often a good thing and I feel being hyper-focused on the numbers can steal away why you got into running in the first place. To feel free? To escape stresses? Time for yourself? None of that is happening if you’re staring at your watch all the livelong day. Plus, Do you really need it?

Running does not need to be complicated or quantified.

Beaten up Garmin fitness tracking watch

Myth 8: Skipping training is always a bad thing

Absolutely not the case!
Overtraining and burnout are huge problems on the rise. We’re trying to do it all – be the boss, parent, have a social life, eat healthily, train for a marathon and get enough hours of sleep only to do it all again tomorrow.

Rest days are where the ‘magic’ happens. The adaptation of your training can start to take place. Skipping them or not having enough training days can hamper your body’s ability to adjust – and if you’re tired, irritable and lacking motivation, you’re probably burnt out. And it’s the prime time for niggle injuries to occur.

Having enough rest, that includes taking extra days off if you need it,can seriously help you.
You might have to juggle your training around your lifestyle or hormonal changes month to month but at the end of the day, it’s better to reach the start line of your race well-rested and ready to go than tired, lethargic, injured and dreading the 26.2-mile route. So skip whatever session you need to, to get to that start line!

Resting on the beach, a woman lay down on a bag

Myth 9: To run a marathon, you can only train by running

Another big no-no. Because pounding the pavement 3-4 days a week is going to take its toll on your body. Plus, you need muscular strength and endurance to run that far. You need to be complimenting your running with gym-style workouts. It can be bodyweight, gym weights or exercise bands at home.

Not only that, it can get quite dull. Perhaps you enjoy bike rides or swimming? They are incredible alternatives to running that also help to improve your body’s cardiovascular endurance fitness ready for marathon day. Cross-training options are so vast, so find something you enjoy and swap a run for it from time to time.

group training workout

Myth 10: it’s unsafe to train whilst pregnant

Well, it’s doctor recommended that pregnant women do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. And generally speaking, doctors permit you to continue regular running if you did so before getting pregnant – if you’re healthy and have a ‘normal’ pregnancy it’s safe to exercise (but check with your doctor first).

Pregnant runner on the coast

Have we missed anything? Are there any other myths out there you have heard? Let us know!
Happy running.

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