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An interesting, but preliminary study in the a journal called Science Translational Medicine, identified changes in 20 different metabolities associated with exercise--that means that body chemistry by which exercise turns stored fuel (those pre-race carbs) into energy.
The researchers assessed individuals after a 10-minute stress test and after running the Boston Marathon, and they found, not surprisingly, that the fitter the individuals, the lower their oxidative stress and the higher their fat-burning metabolism.
Which of these metabolites are really related to health? More research is needed. But the study supports what we runners know every time we put on our shoes--running is good for you!