Marathons are the ultimate test of human endurance. Full-length races span 26.2 miles with average finishing times ranging between 4 to 5 hours.
These long-distance races can be incredibly taxing on both your physical and mental health, therefore it’s essential that you take the race seriously and start preparing for the big day months in advance.
Crossing the finish line on the day of your marathon should be one of the most rewarding moments of your life.
However, if you refuse to train for the event, it could also become one of your most unpleasant experiences.
Of course, most marathon runners complete their race free from harm, but this is still a possibility you must account for. Let’s take a closer look at the dangers of running a marathon without training.
Sustaining an injury
If you run long distances without the proper marathon training or sufficient rest days in between, your feet can experience immense pressure which in turn weakens the ligament’s ability to absorb shock.
If you do happen to develop plantar fasciitis or any other kind of common foot injury, such as a sprained ankle, remember to take it easy and give your body plenty of rest.
Investing in sports insoles will add an extra layer of support in protecting against these problems.
Exhausting your body
It’s important that you slowly build up your cardiovascular fitness to a level that will allow you to compete without exhaustion. Although this is primarily related to endurance training, it also has a lot to do with how you fuel your body.
Remember to eat plenty of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates in the weeks leading up to the race. On the morning of your marathon, stick to a light yet filling breakfast such as a bowl of oatmeal with a banana.
Dehydration or overhydration
Hydration is key when it comes to running long distances. You should aim to drink water every 20 minutes whilst you are running as you’ll be sweating more than usual.
Without enough water in your body, you could end up cramping your muscles - tired and aching legs being a particular issue - or suffering from dehydration.
However, you should also avoid drinking excess water before the race, as you could dilute your sodium levels and trigger a condition known as hyponatremia.
Having an uncomfortable race
If you want to have an enjoyable experience, you should also consider what you’ll be wearing on the day. You may want to sport a pair of brand-new trainers, however, it’s best to stick to shoes that you’re familiar with.
The last thing you want is blisters on your big day. Similarly, make sure you’re wearing well-fitted and comfortable clothing, so you don’t experience any discomfort or chafing.
The best thing about running a marathon is that it’s rarely dangerous if you dedicate yourself to a training plan and take all the necessary precautions.
Just remember, you shouldn’t sign up for a big race if you have plans to run a marathon without training. Although the actual race may only take a few hours to complete, the hard work that goes into these events starts months prior.
This blog is also part of a wider series about marathons, which you can check out below:
- Marathon Preparation: 4 Tips On What Not to Do
- Marathon Injury Prevention: Everything You Need To Know
- 6 Marathon Training Activities To Help With Your Preparation
- Pre and Post-marathon Recovery: How To Look After Your Body
- The Dangers of Not Taking Care of Minor Injuries Properly
- 6 Top Tips for Preparing a Walking Marathon