Records in athletics are meant to be broken, and when they are, they inspire conversations and ignite passions. Tigst Assefa of Ethiopia broke the women’s marathon world record in Berlin on Sunday, surpassing the previous best by over two minutes and clocking an official time of two hours, 11 minutes, and 53 seconds. Bringing women’s marathon running to the forefront of conversation.

Running a marathon is a remarkable achievement that demands dedication, endurance, and mental toughness. It’s a test of your physical capabilities and a journey that transforms you in many ways. But what does this challenging activity do to your body? Let’s find out.

Cardiovascular Benefits

Running a marathon provides your cardiovascular system with a rigorous workout. As you train and run, your heart rate increases, strengthening your heart muscle and improving its efficiency. Over time, this can lead to a lower resting heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and enhanced overall cardiovascular health. Regular endurance training, like marathon running, has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Muscular Adaptations

The muscles in your legs and core undergo significant changes when you prepare for and complete a marathon. Your leg muscles become more toned and conditioned, and they develop greater endurance. Marathon training promotes the growth of slow-twitch muscle fibres, which are crucial for long-distance running, giving your muscles the ability to sustain prolonged effort.

Bone Density

Long-distance running, like marathons, can put a lot of strain on your leg bones, leading to increased bone density. This, in turn, makes your bones stronger and less vulnerable to ailments like osteoporosis. Nevertheless, it’s important to ensure that you’re consuming enough calcium and vitamin D to facilitate this process.

Weight Management

Running a marathon burns a significant number of calories. As you train and participate in races, you’ll likely notice changes in your body composition. Many marathon runners experience weight loss or improved weight management, as the intense training helps to shed excess body fat.

Joint Health

While marathon running can improve bone density and muscle strength, it can also put stress on your joints. It’s essential to maintain proper running form and invest in good-quality running shoes to minimise the risk of joint injuries. Cross-training and strength training can also help support joint health.

Immune System Boost

Engaging in regular moderate-intensity exercise, like marathon training, can boost your immune system. It may help reduce the risk of illness and improve your body’s ability to fight off infections. However, be mindful of overtraining, which can weaken the immune system.

Mental Resilience

Running a marathon requires mental resilience, focus, and determination. It can boost confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment beyond physical benefits.

Running a marathon is a transformative experience that impacts your body in numerous ways. If you’re considering running a marathon, consult with a healthcare professional and a qualified running coach to ensure you have a safe and effective training plan. You can reap the physical and mental rewards of completing this incredible challenge.