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Published February 15, 2011, 09:23 PM

365 Marathons in 365 Days: Is it Even Healthy?

A man from Belgium just completed the ultimate workout: a year of running marathons. But what effects does running 26.2 miles everyday for a full year have on the body?

A man from Belgium just completed the ultimate workout: a year of running marathons. But what effects does running 26.2 miles everyday for a full year have on the body?

Area runners say Stefaan Engels' feat was pretty amazing, but perhaps a little dangerous.

"I like to try to set goals and push my As boundaries. A marathon is a good way to do that," runner Nicholas Berrns said.

A lot of preparation and training goes into running 26.2 miles. Berrns is on a strict diet and runs five miles four to five times a week.

"I usually get in trouble at three miles and that's when I start feeling it in the legs," Berrns said.

Berrns has a few more miles to go before catching up to Engels. The Belgian man has made international headlines for running 365 marathons, one a day, everyday for a full year. Sure, it's impressive at first.

"I think it's incredible, super unbelievable. The body can do amazing things," UND freshman Taylor Palmer said.

Engels' year of running totals 9,569 miles, a world record. But how healthy is that?

"Running is great for fitness, but you need to let your body recover," personal trainer Stephanie Sellers said.

The recovery time should be around three to four months just after one marathon. Running over 26 miles everyday is going to wear out more than just your running shoes.

"It's definitely a lot of pounding on those joints, stress fractures, hyponytremia. The fluids in your body aren't balanced. Even malnutrition," Sellers said.

Sellers says there could also be long-term effects if you don't let your body fix itself before lacing up again.

"The heart can start to enlarge because it needs to pump more blood into the body," Sellers said.

It can lead to arrhythmia and heart failure down the line.

"You have to make sure you're listening to your body. Don't push yourself too hard," Berrns said.

Engels is now in the Guinness Book of World Records. He broke another man's record of running 52 marathons in 2009.

As for the proper way to train for a marathon, Sellers says you should run during the week and gradually increase your mileage. When you get closer to the race, taper off and go for shorter runs so your body is able to handle that much exertion.

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