Wednesday, January 28, 2015

“DYING WHILE RUNNING” (And how to avoid it!)

We’ve all seen the alarmist headlines, “Runner dies crossing marathon finish line.”  Runners do die in marathons, …and in 5ks, and playing golf, and at home in their easy chairs, and in bed. Runners die, we all die. What gathers news attention is when a runner dies while exercising. I think much of the hype comes from people who don’t want to run, and don’t want YOU to run, either.

I remember in 1984, when Jim Fixx, author of The Complete Book of Running, (which sold over a million copies and helped start the running boom), died after his daily run. Along with a few million other new running converts, the news caused me to question the safety of my new exercise hobby.

However, 30 years later, such isolated cases remain the exception. Medical studies continue to uphold the strong link between exercise and longevity. And rather than putting you at greater risk, running certainly improves your quality of life! 

I’ve read articles by “Running Doc” Lewis G. Maharam discussing this issue.  He makes several good points I think worth passing along.

*Over the past three decades, the statistic of only 1 in 50,000 runner related deaths has not changed.

*Often problems occur when runners fail to schedule an annual check-up, or fail to inform their health care providers about what they are training for. 

Doctor Maharam offers these suggestions for racers on race day:

*Take that baby aspirin the morning of the race.
*Limit caffeine intake to less than 200 mg (2 dinner cups).
*Stay away from energy drinks and energy pills.
*Use well formulated re-hydration drinks, such as PowerAde and Gatorade.
*DON’T SPRINT TO THE FINISH. Keep the same pace at race end and finish calmly. 
*And, last but not least, don’t let scare messages or news reports frighten you into not exercising. 

Doctor Maharam concludes, “The health benefits of running far exceed the risks.” 

So, quit worrying, take the Running Doc’s advice, and hit the road running!!  Oh, and take charge of your own health....and start with a medical checkup!

Kenneth Williams, @MarathonKoach.

To find all my longer “Tips from @MarathonKoach,” click HERE.

And if you’re interested in stories about running the world’s greatest marathon, check out!

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