Weâve all read stories about the guy who dropped dead while running his first marathon, or the athlete who almost crossed the finish line of his triathlonâbut had a heart attack instead. Sounds alarming, but the number of fatalities in endurance sports is still relatively low, according to new research by the American Heart Association.
The Essential Marathon Training Plan for Men
Your 16-week plan, plus pro tips for making it through a 26.2-mile race.
âThe 50-year-old former college athlete with known or hidden heart disease whoâs been sedentary for years and decides to do a triathlon is at the greatest risk,â says lead study author Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D. Some more facts: Almost half the people who have a heart attack during a triathlon are first-timers. Men are four to six times more likely to have a heart attack (and die from it) during an endurance event than women, possibly because, on average, they may be older and running at a faster pace, stressing their hearts more, suggests Franklin. And half of all exercise-related cardiac events occur during the last mile of the marathon.
From Boston to Brooklyn, Is the Mile the New Marathon?
âThereâs a huge temptation to think, âIâm almost done, let me sprint as hard as I can and beat my best time,â â he notes. This major increase in heart rate and blood pressure increases the likelihood of a heart attack either because the heart isnât getting adequate blood flow, or plaque in the arteries can rupture.
Franklinâs advice: Train progressively and donât sprint to the finish.