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Because I get shin splints easily, I do cardio workouts by walking up steep inclines. My routine is this: I raise my heart rate to 180 for 30 minutes straight with only a water break in the middle. Without stopping at the end, I start jogging until I hit my VO2max (around 195 to 200 bpm, it takes about 3 minutes). Then I cool down. I do this 3 times a week and I am 21 years old and in good health. My question is: Am I risking damage to my cardiovascular system due to the intensity of the workout?

Thanks.

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Can you clarify a bit? How do you know you hit VO2 max at 195-200 bpm? What do you consider a "jog", as 195-200bpm is a very high heart rate, and usually requires quite intense exercise to reach? How do you measure your HR? Your question raises a lot of flags in my mind, so I want to make sure before I answer. –  JohnP Sep 20 '12 at 2:32
    
During the 30 minutes, I walk at 3.7-3.8 mph at 15% incline. At the VO2max part, I jog at 5 mph (sometimes 5.5) at 15% incline. The 195-200 bpm figure is an estimate, since the heart rate sensors have trouble reading past 190 bpm. Recently, I counted 49 beats in 15 seconds as accurately as I could in that situation, just before exhaustion. –  Mike 105 Sep 20 '12 at 3:07
    
I should probably go ahead and invest in a good chest-strap heart rate monitor, though. –  Mike 105 Sep 20 '12 at 3:10
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1 Answer

The shin splints likely have to do with your shoes, not your routine. The best shoes just keep your feet warm (if it's cold) and protect them from scratches. They shouldn't be tight on your feet, they shouldn't slide around too much, and they shouldn't constrain how your feet can move. Nike Frees, Vibram FiveFingers, Vivo Barefoots, Innov8 BareX, Feiyues and a number of other similar shoes would fit the bill.

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