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Marathon training could help the heart
Date:3/27/2014

WASHINGTON (March 27, 2014) Marathon training is associated with improved risk factors related to cardiovascular disease among middle-aged recreational male runners, suggesting that race preparation may be an effective strategy for reducing heart disease risk, according to research to be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 63rd Annual Scientific Session.

Over the last decade, marathon participation has risen steadily among middle-aged people seeking the reported health benefits of regular physical exercise. Some studies have shown that older men are significantly more at risk of cardiac arrest while running marathon races. However, little is known about the effects of the marathon training process on heart health, particularly in non-elite recreational runners.

Researchers studied 45 recreational male runners, age 35 to 65, who were planning to run the 2013 Boston Marathon. Participants were recruited from the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge fundraising team and were not time-qualified for the Boston Marathon. Approximately half of the participants had run three or more marathons in their lifetime, while the other half had run two or less. They were invited to participate in the 18-week training program, which included group runs, endurance training, a detailed training guide, access to cross-training facilities in the Boston area, nutrition tips, advice about pacing, preparation hints and regular coaching correspondence. Participants were instructed to run 12 to 36 miles each week, depending on the phase of training. Researchers tracked adherence to the training program using running logs provided by the participants.

"We chose charity runners because we wanted to focus on the non-elite type of runner, just the average Joe who decides to get out there and train for a marathon," said Jodi L. Zilinski, M.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital, and lead investigator of the study. "They turned out to be a healthier populat
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Contact: Beth Casteel
bcasteel@acc.org
202-375-6275
American College of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert

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