Is Running a Marathon Good for You?

By Sadie Bass

Oct 13, 2009 2:24pm

ABC's Bradley Blackburn reports from New York:

Nearly 45,000 people laced up their running shoes and ran the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, completing a 26-mile race takes real dedication, particularly on windy Chicago day with sub-freezing temperatures.  A few of the marathoners were running to claim some of the $500,000 prize, but most had no intention of crossing the finish line first.  They were running to achieve their personal training goals and improve their health.  Which begs the question… Is running a marathon actually good for you?

The Wall Street Journal picked up that question recently reporting that "Fitness and dietary experts say marathons increasingly are the exercise equivalent of crash diets, with similarly disappointing results."  Once they've reached their goal, most marathon runners don't keep up the grueling training regimen.  And sometimes, they even pack on pounds, because runners keep eating high-calorie diets after they've switched back to couch-potato lifestyles.  "A good number of runners do a marathon and don't come back to it," Ryan Lamppa of Running USA told the Journal.

With more people running in marathons now than ever before, dieticians warn that the only roadmap to good health is through a lifetime of exercise and controlling diet.  It's a task that might take even more endurance than a marathon.

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