Training for anything can be tough both mentally and physically. It won’t happen overnight. When you train for a marathon (or even a half-marathon), the idea is to gradually build strength and endurance in order to reduce the strain and impact that long-distance running has on your various metabolisms. Without the proper training these activities can be dangerous! This is what happens to your body when running a marathon without the proper training.
- Injury. It’s almost unavoidable under these conditions. The sudden increase in physical activity will result in colossal strain on your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. Repetitive activity done without providing your body the time it needs to build itself up can result in the degradation of any of these important mechanical body parts.
You will feel the pain in your muscles first. They will ache. Many people mistakenly believe lactic acid builds up to cause this pain, but the truth is that damage is done to muscle tissue when they are forced to work harder. The same is true for bones, tendons, and ligaments. They can wear down if you don’t build them up slowly over weeks and months. Bone density can be severely impacted.
- Blisters. Technically an injury, but part of the reason you’ll get blisters is because you aren’t accustomed to using your footwear to run or walk long distances. You’ll want to break them in over time. Another reason blisters form is because your feet aren’t dry. The friction between your footwear and wet feet creates heat, which in turn damages multiple skin layers and causes serum to collect beneath the now dead outer layer.
- Hallucinations. You might not expect such a high level of mental decline, but it happens to those who aren’t properly prepared for the rigors of a marathon. Most unfit human specimens can handle about thirteen miles before they experience true mental fatigue, but 26 miles? That’s something else entirely. You might start to see bright colors, objects that aren’t really there, or experience forgetfulness. This is because the data-processing that occurs between the eyes and the brain is severely broken down in these circumstances.
- Reduced Immune System. When your body is struggling to keep up with the strain, you might experience heart scarring, a weakened thyroid gland, weakened adrenal glands, and more. After the race is over, you might experience infection more easily (especially infections of the respiratory system) and osteoarthritis at a younger age. Even running one marathon without proper training can change your life for the worse.
- Temperature Regulation. Your body may also have a difficult time regulating temperature. This can be especially dangerous if running in even mild weather when there is a slight wind chill, because hypothermia can set in quickly. Those who aren’t accustomed to strenuous physical activity may not sweat as easily. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, athletes produce sweat more quickly than the rest of us. Their bodies adapt and learn to recognize when it might be necessary to start cooling the body.