Should it feel like I'm dying?

How to put this... I got a stitch after the first running section of W1R1 and spent the second half of the session wondering if I was going to puke or keel over and die.

I was veering left and right on the path and fighting not to fall off the kerb when I was running next to the road with stars in my eyes in the last couple of running sections. My chest was hurting, my heart pounding like I have never experienced before.

Now, I am a 31 year old man, 6ft 3 and 11st with no history of heart problems, even had an ECG last year which said my heart was fine, but do I need to worry about this or am I just a classic example of an unfit office-worker who needs to get into shape?

6 Replies

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  • To clarify, it came with the stereotypical 'tight chest' feeling that they say means a heart attack. It was actually a little far left of centre, so the left side of my heart if it even was my heart.

    Should I visit my GP?

  • Yes, I would.

    But did you have a drink before the run and do you have blood sugar issues? Did you have something to eat before hand?

    This is meant to be fun and not horrible.

  • Good suggestions already. It sounds to me as though the most likely explanation is that you went much too fast - and also perhaps felt you had to keep *running* rather than keep walking. I've just completed the full Week 1 session for the first time having worked at it since the beginning of the month. Don't forget that if you just keep up a decent walking pace you will have done yourself good too, so if slowing your run to the suggested light jog doesn't make a huge difference in itself, you could perhaps try walking right through the next run... and the next... and the next.

    Is there anywhere you can run that is a bit nicer than a roadside pavement - I do the programme in lots of different rural spots, along with my dog and it goes much better when I am on paths and not hard tracks and when there is no-one else around so I can do my 'you could walk faster than this' run (which made a big difference to me being able to increase the number of runs) and not feel I have to 'look the part'. Obviously I am not wanting you to be isolated from assistance if you are going to have a heart attack, but I am also wondering if you are somewhere very public, that might be driving you to go faster than is appropriate for you.

  • Yeah, I was having trouble pacing myself. I thought I was doing okay, but my wife kept saying I should jog rather than running. I thought I was jogging already, so it shows what I know.

    I think I could have done with drinking more during the day, having set out just before dinner. I came back and just wanted drinks and sugar, so maybe I need to have more to drink next time and maybe take something small with me to eat.

  • I think you should see a doctor. Phone them if nothing else. Phone NHS direct get some professional advice. We are a bunch of former couch potatoes that learnt to run. We know what we experienced but this isn't really a place to get medical advice. Give the experts a call.

    Assuming you will do that...

    Its hard, probably impossible even, to answer a question like that from an internet query. You really should see a doctor before starting on a new exercise program.

    Some observations using your generic info:

    There are a number of reasons for chest pain on exercise - some are nothing to worry about but as you know at least one is heart attack/angina or other serious issue. However chest pain does not 100% guarantee a heart issue, there are several other issues that can cause the pain. GIve NHS Direct a call and see what they say. Their checklists will help advise you if a doctor or even hospital visit is advisable.

    I think I am now of average to above average fitness. I have occasionally had chest pains which I think are stitch when I run. They are irregular and do not occur at other times and are not brought on by very strenuous exercise - they come on when I exercise for a long time and only occasionally. Frankly, I think it is stitch and I blame hydration as the cause. It is not so painful that I cannot run through it and it does not make me any more breathless. I tend to slow down and let it ease off. I will be bringing this up with my doctor.

    I think you should see a doctor and get your specifics checked.

    11st and 6'3" makes you unusually low weight for someone that does not exercise. It puts you at the bottom end of normal weight. That might suggest other issues that a Doctor might help with. On the other hand you might just be one of those people that does not store fat easily or consumes a very low amount of food (which can cause other issues). Also being

    I wondered why you had the ECG before - do you have other symptoms or other reasons not to feel well? Could they have an impact on your running?

    1 minute of running is really not a lot of running - it is supposed to be achievable by even the most unfit - a level to build from. It will be unpleasant because you are not used to it and the unpleasantness will go away if you carry on with the program but some symptoms should not be ignored. Does this occur in any other part of life? Stairs? Walking fast? Cycling?

    If you are so unfit that the 1st day of the 1st week is too much then do half the first day and build from there.

    If it is stitch then try to make sure you are properly hydrated. Run very slowly (you can even run slower than you walk and it will still help you get fitter) and see how you go.

  • I'm a skinny runt, so my weight is not too much of an issue. I lost a little over Christmas because I got ill, but no more than a stone and I did wait until February to do C25K, so it shouldn't be that. I eat well and have a fairly sedentary lifestyle, but I just don't put on weight (unlike my siblings, I take after my dad) in spite of that.

    The ECG was to do with some odd chest pains, but the battery of tests came back clean. My family have no heart issues, so they decided to ignore it. I've always been generally fit, able to run up and down stairs okay, so there's never been any signs other than the odd pain.

    In all honesty, I suppose I'll give it another try tomorrow without pushing quite so hard and get an appointment with the doctor if it is as bad next time.

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