When Are Ultra Marathons Bad For You?

For ill-prepared runners, they can even be downright deadly.

Hot-weather ultras like Badwater can be especially bad for ill-prepared runners. Photo: Telegraph

Running any distance can be taxing on the body. With more and more people venturing out into the realm of the ultra marathon, or any distance greater than 26.2 miles, some people are wondering if these especially long races can be detrimental to the health of those ill-prepared for them.

The Mail and Guardian recently wrote a column titled “Going the Distance Can be Going Too Far” about this subject.

The column’s author warns of the dangers inherent to hot-weather running. “As the temperature rises, the body is unable to evaporate the sweat it produces efficiently and any of the three recognised heat illnesses caused by dehydration can either cause the race to end prematurely or have far more serious consequences.”

Heat exhaustion and deadly heat stroke can occur. These race-ending instances can be avoided by taking in the right mixture of liquids and electrolytes. However, more is not necessarily better. With more people turning to extreme running events, being told to hydrate as much as possible, doctors are seeing an increase in hyponatremia, a condition that arises when the body’s sodium level is diluted too much.

For More: Mail & Guardian

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