CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - We're just days away from the Cleveland Marathon and we wanted to find out what happens to runners as they put their bodies through such a grueling experience.
Heather Kuch is a marathon runner but she wasn't always used to running such long distances.
"I used to not be able to run a mile we used to have to do them for college in volleyball and I was like 'Oh God, I'm going to get cut from the team. There's no way I can do this,'" Kuch said.
Heather already has six marathons under her belt, and she's training for the elite Boston Marathon while running the Cleveland Marathon.
"I've lost 65 to 60 pounds since I started I'm a lot stronger," Kuch said.
Kuch said she also says the physical changes are most noticeable.
"I can tell clothes are fitting looser but also in some spots its tighter because muscles are starting to grow," she said.
She's running on average of 7 miles for an easy run, 12 miles at her fast marathon pace, and a 22 mile long run every week.
Cleveland Clinic's Sports Therapy Expert Scott Euype is a marathon runner himself and says long distances runners have to be careful to avoid over-training. Scott says the body really needs recovery, and good nutrition to perform.
Heather's already gotten sick a few times and says she's been working to boost her immunity.
"I need to up my vitamins. I started drinking bone broth. It's a good way to get a lot of nutrients and boost the immunity," Kuch said.
There's also a lot of impact on the feet as runners log the miles.
Here are some common injuries marathon runners face while training and even during the marathon.
- Runners toe-- basically when your toe nails turn black and then fall off.
- Stomach Issues-- cramps, diarrhea, and sometimes vomiting.
- Chafing-- when your skin is rubbing together, or clothes are rubbing against your skin that can cause bleeding.
Most of those issues are easy to manage, and like Kuch says she's trained her body to adapt and perform.
The biggest reason runners like Kuch lace up? The runners high.
"It helps me deal with stress in my life," she said.
Long distance running is kind of like mediation for a lot of people.
"I always come back with the runners high, I feel great, it just kind of puts me in a great mood for the entire day even when I'm tired and sore, it always boosts my mood instantly," Kuch said.
- Heart of a Champion
- Anything by Imagine Dragons
- ½ cup instant oats
- ½ banana, sliced
- ¼ cup almond milk
- Walnuts or almond butter, to taste
- Raisins or fresh berries, to taste
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Honey, to taste
- Combine oats, banana and ¾ cup water in a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high power for 1–2 minutes, or until thickened. Mash banana slightly and stir in milk, walnuts or almond butter, and raisins or berries. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.