Unfortunately, the most common cause of death of for runners in races is cardiac disease. Even though it is rare, people do not realize that this can happen to runners in any age range. Runners in Raleigh for example were fairly young in their mid 30′s with no prior extensive cardiac history. This always begs the question why does this happen to fairly healthy athletes. There are many reasons but I will comment on some of the most common reasons that I have witnessed when I supervise these competitive events.
First, like most competitive athletes they will do anything to get that competitive edge and do so in form of supplements. I am not talking about steroids but energy drinks before competitive events– such as red bull, rocket, amp, and etc. These drinks make you feel like they are giving you an edge by activating your sympathetic nervous system with epinephrine. However, that will not give you that boost your looking for physically. It might serve as a placebo or telling your mind that I can do this but really no competitive edge especially in a long competitive event such as a marathon. People who drink these energy drinks are at high risk for fatal cardiac arrhythmia’s that could lead to sudden cardiac death. Carb load the day prior if needed but please stay away from energy drinks.
Second, keep yourself hydrated. This is one most common reasons why people pass out or have syncope during a race. Furthermore, this can lead to cramps which either take you out of the competition or have a dramatic impact on your performance. With all the training you have done, you don’t want to be held back by something simple as keeping yourself hydrated with water. This does not mean sodas or energy drinks. Pure water is the best and Gatorade or Powerade will help replenish electrolytes.
Third and last point I would like to share with you is that before you start training or are planning to participate in a competitive event, make sure you get a physical check up by your physician. Just a simple history and physical by your physician can prevent catastrophic event such as death. Please give us a call or email us if you have any questions or concerns. We would be more than happy to see you in our clinic to make sure you have a fun and healthy active experience at any competition.