Pros and Cons of Running Ultramarathons
Running an ultramarathon will push your body to the limit. For this reason, it is important to inform yourself about the medical pros and cons before you apply for one. These races can sometimes be extremely long and exhausting, which is why not all medical experts agree on whether it is more beneficial or harmful for the body. We’ve done a bit of research to come up with the most important pros and cons you should consider before running an ultramarathon.
- You will reach levels of fitness you never dreamed of. You will need a good training plan to prepare your body for this challenge, and your body will become healthier and stronger in the process.
- Increased life expectancy: running long-distance runs has been linked to longer telomeres, which means that your cells will age more slowly if you run more! A number of studies have shown that ultra-runners are healthier than the general population.
- It feels great: running produces endorphin, which in turn triggers a positive, euphoric feeling known as “runner’s high”. You can actually get addicted to ultramarathons!
- Running in nature: this is one of the reasons why ultra-marathon is better than the regular marathon. Ultramarathons take place at some of the most stunning locations around the world.
- Socializing: Ultra running is not about competition, it’s about personal achievement. You will meet a lot of friendly and like-minded people willing to help you out.
- It’s less damaging than short-distance running: it is a common misconception that running ultras is damaging for your body. Ultras are actually easier on your joins, because you are running on soft terrain. Also, the increased volume of walking reduces your overall joint stress.
As for the cons, there are not many, and they can be prevented.
- Locations can be dangerous: running in nature has its bad sides too. Prepare for insect stings, cuts and bruises. Also, some races can be outright dangerous, even for experienced ultra-runners, due to unmarked paths and extreme climate conditions. You should attend only the verified events. Many runners are attracted to the element of danger, but remember: safety is paramount!
- It is mentally stressful: sleep deprivation and exhaustion can make you feel low and hallucinations are not uncommon among ultra-runners. However, taking a nap or eating something to replenish the energy should solve these problems.
- Hypothermia: your body temperature is more likely to drop to a dangerous level due to the more intense effort you are going through. Always carry an extra jacket and bring extra calories.
All in all, after comparing the good and bad sides of ultramarathons, the verdict is a decisive YES!