Are you an avid runner? Running has many benefits and is a fantastic calorie-burner that will keep you lean. But how much running is too much and how does it affect your body? When it comes to intense workouts, more is not always better.

According to Active.com, the European Heart Journal conducted a study comparing the hearts of 108 persistent marathon runners to more inactive people. Shockingly, the marathoners had more coronary plaque buildup than the non-runners.

Overly working yourself basically burns through the antioxidants in your body, which is a recipe for health issues. Now, this is not to discourage you from throwing on your running shoes and relieving a little stress. It’s to encourage you to be kind to your body and consider these tips for a healthier, more productive run!

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    Workout your entire body; don’t just rely on running.

    You may think that running only requires leg strength, but that’s not the case. Your arms and core are active while you run. Core strength is vital for just about any exercise you do as it improves balance and stability. According to Dr. Brenda Higgins, D.C, strengthening your core keeps your body aligned, eliminates back pain, and increases your exercise output. Developing arm and core strength will allow for a more steady and flexible run.  

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    Don’t just run on flat land.

    Runners should not just focus on speed or distance. It is important to switch up your running route especially if you want to build muscle and not just burn calories. Running uphill is a great way to get faster while also developing some hip strength.

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    Stop running with the mindset that you have to set your PR.

    Getting in shape and adopting an exercise regime is all about process. It is important to allow yourself to grow and condition. So, on your next run, let your body do the talking and do what feels right. No one ever goes from the couch to running marathons overnight. Be persistent and you will see results!

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    Stretching is SO important. Before AND After.

    When you stretch your body after a run, you are doing what is called an active recovery. While you may be fall-on-the-ground exhausted after a run, it is important to stretch your hard-working muscles. In fact, one of the best ways to stretch is to do moving stretches. This way, you’re getting your blood flowing. Here’s a video on some of the best ways to prepare and recover from your activity.

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    Consistency is everything!

    Everyone is different and therefore, so is everyone’s workout routine. Some activities that feel good for some people may not for you, and that’s okay. Find a routine that works well for you and your body and then stick with it! Once it becomes a habit, you’ll never look back.

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    Use good running shoes and replace them as soon as they start to get worn-out.

    Running in old, overused sneakers can lead to a lot of discomfort when you run or even lead to injury. Having cushioned and supportive shoes when you run decreases the stress on your joints. You should replace your running shoes every 300-400 miles. Of course, there is some gray area as that number can change depending on the terrain you typically run on. If you are a gym rat who likes to lift weights and someone who is enthusiastic about running, then it is important that you use different shoes for both activities. Training shoes typically have a flatter sole and they are made for a range of different movements. Running shoes are built for heel-to-toe movements. Having different exercise shoes will increase comfort and your body will thank you for it.