Training essential for safe marathon

Cynthia Black, second from left, practices with her team for provincials. Melesa Narain

Melesa Narain
Life Reporter

Marathon running can have many benefits for your body, but without proper preparation you could be putting yourself in worse shape.

Cynthia Black, 26, a final year kinesiology student at Guelph-Humber and varsity cross-country runner said people should keep hydrated when running a marathon in order for their blood to stay thin and to prevent any kind of heart damage.

“As you become more dehydrated, your blood becomes thicker and your heart has to work a lot harder to pump that blood through the blood vessels,” said Black.

She’s been running marathons since she was 16 and has competed in more than 20 races.

Dr. Marco DiBuono of the Heart and Stroke Foundation said in rare incidents, people have suffered from heart damage during a marathon, resulting in cardiac arrest.

“The heart is like any other muscle, but it’s a lot more sensitive to strains on the body,” he said.

Matt Koller, fitness and health promotion program co-ordinator and a certified personal trainer, said the worst mistake people make is jumping into running a marathon without any training. Instead, he said, marathon hopefuls should train gradually.

“You don’t go from not running at all to trying to jog 26 miles in one go – there’s a transition,” he said.

Black recommends people interested in marathon running first consult a qualified physician or personal trainer who will be able to figure out their body’s limits and start them off with something easy.

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