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Old 27-Feb-06, 07:49 PM   #1
Ebon
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Running: Tight chest and shoulder pain?


Recently enlisted in the Navy and am having trouble with the running part of my Boot preparations. Before leaving I have to successfully run a 12min 1.5mile. Now for my problem.

The flat around my house stretches about 3/4 of a mile, and I've been using it for my running. Since starting, and now over a month later of three times a week running, I get an increasingly tight chest followed by a stabbing pain in my right shoulder that eventually forces me to quit. I thought these were just signs I was out of shape, but they don't appear to be progressing or fading, they always happen at roughly the same distance every week. Sitting for a bit makes them go away, but if I start to run again they immediately start up.

Quickly running out of time to prepare and am starting to worry about not passing my PT for boot, what can I do to help get rid of these pains? I've done what stretches I've been told and replaced all sweet drinks with plain water to help stay hydrated, anything else? Sorry for the winded description.
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Old 27-Feb-06, 08:45 PM   #2
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It sounds like either a breathing problem or tightening of your shoulders.

Do you breath in with your nose and out your mouth? This helps control not getting too much air and it pre-warms the air before entering the lungs.
Are you running with your arms up - like in a boxer position? If so drop them some and try to relax your shoulders.
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Old 27-Feb-06, 08:50 PM   #3
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Thank you for the timely response. I will try doing both of these. I have been told to try breathing through my nose, but feel like I'm not getting enough air and usually slack on doing it, I will try to buckle down.

I'll let you know how my next run goes, for better or for worse.
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Old 27-Feb-06, 08:52 PM   #4
.V.
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How old are you? Family cardiac risk factors? Your own cardiac risk factors - smoking, diet, overweight...?

Sharp pain generally sounds like simple lack of conditioning and breathing incorrectly like Lady C said. But consider the other things first. Check the other things she described too.

People who actually do a lot of running might have even more ideas (I don't, I just try) but I think she's covered all the bases except for the cardiac risk factors.
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Old 27-Feb-06, 08:59 PM   #5
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I am 20 and am in fairly good shape aside from endurance. I don't smoke, eat healthy, am 5'5" 116lbs.

I'm fairly convinced its simply something I'm doing wrong, and am open to any suggestions you all may have. Thank you!
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Old 27-Feb-06, 10:25 PM   #6
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Then I believe Lady C has it covered.

Good luck with getting conditioned and ready for your PT.
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Old 28-Feb-06, 11:27 AM   #7
Ebon
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I just got back from todays run using the two methods provided by Lady C. Breathing through my nose seemed to help with the tight chest, though I got winded a lot faster than normal. I probably just need time to adjust and will stick to it.

I ran with my shoulders relaxed as best I could but still had to quit due to the sharp right shoulder pain. I've tried running through it before, but the pain just spread up into the right side of my neck. I'll try finding better shoulder stretches, but if anyone has more suggestions I'm all ears.

Thank you both, Lady C and a_welch, for your help in this. I really appreciate it.
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Old 28-Feb-06, 01:40 PM   #8
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Does your shoulder hurt any other time besides running?

For breathing always keep your head up. (just like in CPR) It keeps your airways clear and your able to get more air. It takes practice to breath through your nose and out your mouth. So try and practice and monitor it on a regular basis. When you notice your not doing it switch to it and pretty soon it will be natural.
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Old 28-Feb-06, 03:11 PM   #9
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Hey Ebon,

I'm 45 years old and just started running last summer to measure my fitness using the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test http://usmilitary.about.com/od/marines/l/blfitmale.htm (pull-ups, 2-minute sit-ups, 3-mile run). I am not built for running (big hips, short legs, hyper-extended knees), but I can now run 3 miles in 23:35. Here is what I learned that may help you:

1) Warm Up
You're a young guy, so you may feel you can just hit the ground running. But pains in your body could be the result of not warming up. The best warm up for any exercise is to do that exercise at a lower resistance. For running, I warm up by walking fast and swinging my arms. After walking fast for 5 minutes, I stop and stretch my hamstrings by sticking my butt out, locking my knees, and bending forward with a straight back. Also, I stretch my quads with lunges. After running, I stretch again so my muscles don't tighten and shorten.

2) Head Up
Keep your posture aligned so that you aren't wasting energy holding yourself up. The pain in your shoulder could be from running with a forward lean, which puts tension in your shoulders. Also, as Lady C recommended, keep your shoulders down and relaxed. You may want to ask someone to watch you run and give you feedback on your form.

3) Land Soft
Your shoulder pain could also be from jogging (hitting the pavement as opposed to gliding over it). If you can hear your feet flopping on the pavement when you run, then you are landing too hard. When you run, pretend you are sneaking up on someone and need to run quietly by landing mid-foot as opposed to heel. I run using shoes without cushioning (Nike Free), which forces me to land softly.

4) Stomach Breathe
I get a tight chest when I run sprints due to breathing into my chest (because my stomach is clenched). When you run for distance, you want to pull your breath all the way into your stomach. To do that, exhale forcefully, which creates a vacuum and makes inhaling easier. Most runners breathe with a cadence of 2-2 (two breaths in and two breaths out), 3-3, 2-1, or some similar combination depending on their speed and exhaustion. As far as the previous advice you received to inhale through your nose and out your mouth, I would say that technique is for very conditioned runners (I can't even do it). For now, inhale through both your mouth and nose to reduce inhalation effort and keep your wind.

5) Stride Quick
To move fast, you can either have a long stride or a quick stride. A quick stride is a shorter stride which takes less energy and leaves less room for bad form. Aim for 180 steps a minute.

6) Run Intervals
To help with both form and endurance, try running intervals (short-distances at faster speeds). I do intervals with a stopwatch, running intervals of 4, 2, 1, and half minute. After running an interval, walk for a minute or two to catch your breath, then run the next interval.

7) Consecutive Days
Rather than running every other day, try running three days on followed by one or two days off. To make progress, you need to overload your body's running systems (both muscular and cardio-vascular). Running every other day may not be enough to overload your systems, especially since you are losing your wind. After warming up, you should be putting in at least 20 minutes of running: either consecutively or broken up through intervals.

Hope this advice helps. You may also try contacting your recruiter for advice since I'm sure he or she has had to prepare others for boot camp. Finally, let me say I am grateful to you for committing your life to protect ours by enlisting in the Navy.

God Speed and God Bless.

Dave
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Old 28-Feb-06, 09:36 PM   #10
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Jeez Weston! You've been around since 2003 and only now getting around to posting a response? Thanks! and by all means welcome! That was a great first post!
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Last edited by LINDA; 28-Feb-06 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 28-Feb-06, 10:42 PM   #11
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I used to have the exact same problem with my right shoulder. A sharp pain in it that felt like someone was shoving a knife through it. It was very easy to fix. What I was doing was I was slouching over ever so slightly that it was giving my shoulder a tight and sharp pain. All I did was made sure I was running with my back straight and my head looking straight ahead instead of down. Try this and it should fix your problem.
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Old 28-Feb-06, 11:03 PM   #12
.V.
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Agree with Brat. That was some very useful information. I'll be using some of that myself.
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Old 01-Mar-06, 11:34 AM   #13
Ebon
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Your_Crazy, my shoulder only hurts about 10 minutes into running, and fades after, no other time. I have been trying to breath more with my nose the last couple days, but quickly feel winded and have to stop to catch my breath.

Weston, Thank you for the response and kind words. The routine you use is very similar to the one I was told to follow so hopefully your suggestions will work as well for me. The forceful exhale thing, for one, seems to be getting my stomach included just sitting here.

Ozzy, I do tend to keep my eyes toward the road, so I'll make sure not to and see how that helps. Thank you all for your responses.
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Old 01-Mar-06, 02:19 PM   #14
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I want to go back to Navy bootcamp!!!! Eight hours of sleep a night. Three meals a day. A fitness program. Gee and you get paid. I would perfer the Army or the Marines for the fitness program but I have problem with being shot at and being stuck in the dessert. It's so much nicer to sit in a air conditioned ship and launchung missles to blow things up.
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Old 01-Mar-06, 04:37 PM   #15
Ebon
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I ran today and tried most of the suggestions offered with no real progress. I'm going to try getting better running shoes this weekend in hopes of that having some impact. I probably won't run again until Friday or Saturday, but will try the suggestions again in hopes of improving.

I don't leave for Boot until May, so there is still time, but I can barely run 10 minutes without this pain and am eager to get it out of the way so I can do more. I'm trying a 2minute run/2minute walk rotation to try and keep from over working myself, to see if that's the problem.

I really appreciate everyone's attempts at helping me, really means a lot.
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boot camp, fitness program, fitness test, physical fitness, plain water, running intervals, running shoes, sharp pain, shoulder pain, three meals




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