Chest Pains While Running

by Danielle
(Leeds, UK)

chest pains while running

I am 22 generally fit and healthy (5'6 9 1/3 stone), I go to the gym 2-3 times a week and found it pointless not being able to 'Do anything' with it so to speak.

That is when I thought
1) I hate being stuck in a gym.
2) You feel like you get somewhere when you run.
3) You can build up and in time run races/marathons.

The only problem is when I run I tend to get a tight chest, and my throat gets a little clogged. Is there anything that I can do to overcome this? This is the ONLY reason that has stopped me starting to run earlier.

I would be grateful for your feedback.

Kind Regards


Answer by Dominique:

Hi Danielle,

I'm happy to hear from you about your interest in running. Great to know that you're making solid health choices and looking to level up from gym workouts.

I don't mind the gym, I definitely value how it helps make me stronger and more injury resilient. But you're absolutely right; the beauty of running lies in its rewarding journey and the sense of accomplishment it brings, not to mention the achievement you get by completing races. Now, let's get to your question about why you experience chest pains while running and a clogged throat, and how to find a solution.

Let's break it down as follows:

1. Running at conversational pace
2. Building up your running slowly
3. Take the long-term perspective

Running at Conversational Pace

chest pains while running

First off, it might be that you're running at a faster speed than what you can comfortably handle at this stage. This can definitely lead to feelings like a tight chest and a clogged throat. My first suggestion would be to slow well down. Get used to running much slower.

A very important speed in running is called 'conversational pace'. What does this mean? Well, it's exactly what it sounds like. You should be running at a speed where you can hold a conversation comfortably without panting or gasping for breath. This is also called easy running, and this kind of exercise forms the backbone of any well-rounded running regimen.

Running at this pace is effective for a number of reasons. The slower, steady speed helps your body become accustomed to the physical activity, makes it easier for your lungs to supply your muscles with the necessary oxygen, and minimizes the chances of injuries. Plus, it's a great way to enjoy your run! Imagine casually chatting with your jogging partner - or if you're running by yourself, getting lost in your favorite podcast or audiobook without chest pains. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Building Up Your Running Slowly

chest pains while running

This brings us to the next crucial point – the importance of building up your running slowly. If you're just setting out on your running journey, it's a great idea to start off slow and then gradually increase the distance.

Now, you've mentioned that you're relatively fit due to your regular gym regimen, and this is an excellent start! But running brings different demands to your body, and hence, it's essential that you allow your body to adjust to this new form of exercise. Also check my page on Increasing Mileage Safely.

Additionally, it is not a bad idea to do a combination of slow-paced running and walking at the beginning, and progressively cut down on the walking periods. I have some excellent Beginner Running Programs on this website that can get you started.

Take the Long-Term Perspective

chest pains while running

Considering your current level of fitness, you might find beginner running programs a bit too easy. That's not a problem at all! Not everybody likes to run with walking breaks. However, have a look at them and appreciate how they are constructed.

Slowly building up the running, bit by bit. Slowly reducing the walking, bit by bit. Slowly getting you fitter, bit by bit.

We can often get too enthusiastic at the start of something new. But just take the long-term perspective. The perspective of months, years, decades of running ahead of you. You have plenty of time. So take it easy. Take it slowly. And just build up your running gradually.

Your journey into running is meant to be enjoyable, and I hope these tips encourage you to progress with more ease and confidence. Running is a bit hard at times, but should not bring you chest pains; on the contrary - it's a lifestyle that brings health, happiness, and satisfaction. Best of luck with your running journey, Danielle. You're embarking on an exciting adventure.

Kind regards,

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