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Running Difficulties and Pain

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 in Fitness, Q&As

I can’t run. My chest and feet hurt and I get bored. What should I do?

Do more cardio, though not necessarily running.

Let’s first get something out of the way: you should be doing cardio, regardless of your fitness goals. Cardio is essential for heart health and overall stamina. Even if you are gains-focused, the VO2 gains from regular cardio are too good to pass up. Moreover, from a simple lifestyle perspective, having a decent amount of stamina is incredibly valuable.

Your issues would likely be remedied by more cardio, albeit maybe not running. Running is hard on the joints and fairly intense. In contrast, use of a bike (which is fairly low intensity) or elliptical (generally moderate intensity) place less strain on the joints and help develop a cardiovascular foundation that can eventually be carried over to running. It’s not dissimilar to lifting: you shouldn’t start bench pressing heavy until you can proficiently bench press lighter weights.

As a side note, shoes matter, especially for cardio. Running shoes can make or break your workout – too much or too little can easily cause the kind of pain you describe. I’d strongly recommend going to a specialty running shoe store and having them evaluate your feet – they should be able to recommend shoes that will minimize impact to your feet and make cardio more comfortable.

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