This Is Why Running Hurts Your Body So Much

Photographed by Molly Cranna.
Becoming person who likes running is, dare we say, a marathon not a sprint. While some people seem to be born to run, others don't have the same natural affinity for the sport. You might find that no matter what you do, your body feels like a bag of bones being slammed against the pavement, and you're in pain for days afterwards. Trust us when we say it doesn't have to be like this.
If your workout causes any kind of physical (or mental, TBH) pain, it's typically a sign that you need to do something differently. Here we've troubleshooted some common running-related pains. Obviously, if you are in pain from a muscular injury, or if you have a medical condition that affects your workouts, you should probably see a doctor who can diagnose you appropriately. It's important to remember that there are many other workouts out there that provide the same cardiovascular and muscle-building benefits as running. But if you're determined to get into running, here are five factors that might be holding you back:

You're wearing the wrong sports bra.

Running is a high-impact activity, meaning your boobs will need a highly supportive sports bra to stay in place. If your sports bra isn't tight or strong enough to hold your breasts in place as your run, the excessive movement can irritate your breast tissue, which leads to pain, Donnica Moore, MD, host of the podcast In The Ladies Room, and women's health expert in Chester, NJ, tells Refinery29.

You're running outdoors.

The running trail and fresh air might be calling your name, but in general, running on a treadmill tends to be easier on your joints and body because it's softer, Zika Rea, lead female coach and co-founder of ZAP Fitness, a Reebok-sponsored training center for runners in Blowing Rock, NC, tells Refinery29. On top of that, treadmills literally propel your steps forward, allowing you to go faster and maintain a steadier pace. Not sure how to start using a treadmill? Here's a 30-day challenge that will help you get there.

Your gait requires different shoes.

If you're running in the workout sneakers you wear to your HIIT class, or whatever was on sale for Prime Day, you might want to reconsider. Running requires shoes that are supportive, can absorb shock, and provide cushioning. Having the right shoes will not only make your workout more comfortable in the moment, but also prevent injuries long term. Running specific stores typically let you try running on a treadmill in shoes before you buy them. A professional fitter can explain your gait and arch, and find the most appropriate shoe for your feet.

You're going too fast.

Cardio can suck the wind out of you, especially if your pace is too fast. Many beginner runners have a tendency to go out at a pace that's not manageable, which leads to that side-stitch, gasping-for-air feeling. Ideally, you'll want to run at a pace at which you can comfortably talk for up to 20 seconds. If you feel like you can't go any longer, it's always okay to walk, and speed up once you catch your breath.

You've been running too often.

Caught the running bug? That's great, but don't forget about rest days. Running more than three days a week might not give your muscles time to recover appropriately, David Siik, creator of Precision Running, a treadmill running program at Equinox, tells Refinery29. And, from a mental perspective, running every day could make you feel burned out or at least plateaued.

More from Fitness

R29 Original Series