Chest Pain While Running

by Eddie Mills
(New Zealand )

Hi I’m 72 and have run at least every second or third day for the last 30 years, during the week for about an hour and on Sundays 1.5 to 2.0 hrs over flat river side trails.

Home up quite steep but well formed bush tracks.
I have run 4 marathons and numerous 1/2s over the years.

Up until 12 months ago I could happily run for two hours with out stopping except to pat dogs, BUT I’m now finding I run for about 500 meters (5min/K pace) and get pain in my chest and completely run out of energy and some muscle burn in my legs, walk for 10-20 metres straight back to my 5min K pace, no pain for the next 500-750 metres.

Impossible to run with any one as I have to stop and start all the time. Running has become a PAIN.

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Eddie,
Thanks for your question about chest pain while running.
I'll be straight with you. I am just a guy who likes running and who was crazy enough to put a website up and devote every spare minute of his life to it for the past five years. I am not a doctor.

With some issues I feel comfortable giving advice about some running injuries, like clear cases of shin splints, ITB, etc. Some things I do not want to deal with. Running advice for kids is one, more complicated medical issues is another.

This is really best sorted out by a doctor. Chest pain while running can have different causes. Anemia, an iron deficiency in your blood, can be one reason, and it is a reason that most often can be treated quite effectively.

But there are other reasons why you could be experiencing chest pain while running as well, e.g. lung diseases, aortic dissection and angina.

For more information about these conditions, please see my Running Chest Pain-page.

Most often you see these chest pain issues with unfit people, people with unhealthy lifestyles. But your issues can be caused by your higher age.

Despite of you being as fit as you are, your body
starts a steady, slow decline in your twenties, and that is a while back for you.

In short, the chest pain you experience while running could be caused by a variety of factors from more innocent to more severe. This is best sorted out by your doctor.

Wishing you well.
Kind regards,

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