marathon running

Is running a marathon harmful to our bodies??

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Today I went to see a GP at a practice near my office to get the medical clearance for Paris Marathon signed.  I don’t have a regular GP so I didn’t mind who I got.  Turns out I got this:

Me: I need to get a medical clearance to run a marathon.
GP: Have you run one before?
Me: No, but I’ve run half marathons.
GP: How many miles or kilometres do you run every week?
Me: About 50km at the moment.
GP: Hmmm… You know that there is medical evidence that says that this level of exercise is actually harmful to our bodies?  It enlarges you heart… it’s especially good not good to run on pavement… and the worst is endurance running or cycling… very bad… heart rate is very high for a long time… very bad… The recommendation these days is 2-3 hours of exercise a week. And then there are calories!  With that amount of running you’re burning so many calories!  But they have to come back from somewhere, I mean they won’t come from thin air! I mean I’m just telling you so that you’re aware…
Me: Ummm… ok :| (thinking I’m very well aware about where calories come from!)
GP looks through my file: Are you not taking Citalopram any more?
Me: No, I’m not actually! (waiting to be asked how I’m doing……….)
GP: I need to take your blood pressure.

Takes my blood pressure. Mutters that it’s excellent. Signs my form. Says good-bye. I feel like shit.

Outside the practice I take out my phone and tweet. As you do :)  And thank g*d for Twitter! :


And from everything I’ve read online tonight I have learned that running a marathon a year really isn’t going to damage my health… and even enlarged heart doesn’t cause any problems unless there are genetic irregularities in the heart as well. Wikipedia’s entry on the enlarged heart:

Athlete’s heart is not dangerous for athletes (though if a non-athlete has symptoms of bradycardia, cardiomegaly, and cardiac hypertrophy, another illness may be present). Athlete’s heart is not the cause sudden cardiac death during or shortly after a workout, which mainly occurs due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic disorder.

Science based running on the amount of exercise one should do: 

30 minutes a day is better than 15, 60 is better than 30, and 90 is better than 60. The gains occur even faster with vigorous exercise (running and jogging count as vigorous; moderate exercise includes activities like gardening and walking).

Who do YOU go to when you need running / medical advice? Who do you trust? GP over Wikipedia or vice versa? :)

You Might Also Like

  • kathleen Saturday, 16 March 2013 at 16:21

    Sport is a science in itself. Nowadays people with little information and little experience are starting to give advice. It’s dangerous and misinformation. I would try and see a sports doc next time. You can see GP’s who have post grad interest in sport science.
    kathleen recently posted…Obsessed With AvocadosMy Profile

  • MuMuGB Friday, 15 March 2013 at 15:25

    So funny! Where do they find such doctors? Another point scorer. There are many of them. They like to lecture you rather than help you.
    MuMuGB recently posted…Spring CleanMy Profile

  • Siiri Wednesday, 13 March 2013 at 22:56

    Trust your own instincts. And keep away from negative people. That may include some GP-s :)
    Siiri recently posted…The connectionsMy Profile

  • Lisa Gusto Wednesday, 13 March 2013 at 13:07

    He couldn’t prescribe you any drugs, he must have been so confused and wondered what all those years at Med school really was for :)
    Lisa Gusto recently posted…Day 5 Juice and Broth FastMy Profile

  • Claire Wednesday, 13 March 2013 at 10:14

    This sounds crazy to me – surely he should be praising you for getting out there instead of sitting on the sofa guzzling fizzy drinks? Congrats on passing your medical ;)
    Claire recently posted…WIAW: Oh Snack!My Profile

  • Stephen Cousins Wednesday, 13 March 2013 at 07:28

    My dad has a serious heart condition and the surgeon thought it might be genetic. So he asked my brothers and me to attend see him to see if we had markers for the same condition.

    We attended the hospital in May last year, a month after I had run the Paris Marathon. I went through all sorts of tests.

    I don’t have a genetic heart condition. My blood pressure was the lowest in all my family and the size of my heart was perfectly normal.

  • Cat Tuesday, 12 March 2013 at 22:30

    I expect you had to pay for the privilege of him spouting these opinions too? I find the whole medical certificate for marathons ridiculous and such bureaucratic nonsense – the fact you need a GP like that to clear you to run a marathon is laughable.

  • Medal Slut Tuesday, 12 March 2013 at 21:49

    I started to read about this, but health related stuff, especially about the heart, causes me to freak. I mean, a muscle I have zero control over is keeping me alive. That’s weird.

    Also, I’d try and avoid that GP from now on.
    Medal Slut recently posted…Four weeks until Paris!My Profile