Can You Get Rhabdo From Running

As a runner, I’ve always been concerned about the possibility of developing rhabdomyolysis, commonly known as rhabdo, from my running routine. Rhabdomyolysis is a serious condition that results from the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue, leading to the release of muscle fiber contents into the bloodstream. This can cause kidney damage and other complications if not addressed promptly.

Understanding Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis can be triggered by various factors, including extreme physical exertion, trauma, and certain medications or drugs. The condition is often associated with intense and unaccustomed exercise, particularly in activities that involve eccentric muscle contractions, such as downhill running or plyometric exercises.

Risk Factors in Running

While rhabdo is rare among runners, there are certain circumstances that can increase the risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Participating in an extremely strenuous or prolonged running event without adequate training or preparation
  • Engaging in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or hill sprints without proper conditioning
  • Running in extreme heat without proper hydration and acclimatization

Symptoms and Warning Signs

It’s crucial for runners to be aware of the potential symptoms of rhabdomyolysis, which may include severe muscle pain, weakness, and swelling, as well as dark or cola-colored urine – a key indicator of muscle breakdown. If any of these symptoms occur, it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately.

Prevention and Precautions

To minimize the risk of rhabdomyolysis while running, it’s important to gradually build up training intensity and duration, allowing the muscles to adapt to increased demands. Staying well-hydrated and maintaining electrolyte balance is also paramount, especially during long-distance runs or in hot weather.

My Personal Approach

Reflecting on my own running journey, I’ve learned to prioritize proper warm-ups and cool-downs, ensuring that my body is adequately prepared for the demands of each run. I also pay close attention to any unusual muscle pain or discomfort, never hesitating to take a break or seek medical advice when needed.


While the risk of developing rhabdomyolysis from running is relatively low, it’s crucial for runners to be mindful of their training intensity, environmental conditions, and overall physical well-being. By listening to our bodies and taking necessary precautions, we can continue to enjoy the countless benefits of running while minimizing the potential risks.