Preventing Side Stitches While Running

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There’s nothing worse than getting 8 kilometers into a 10K run only to be hit by a stitch. It slows you down, stops you completely sometimes, and certainly makes for an uncomfortable few minutes or more.

Luckily, if you’re a keen runner, there are several things you can do to keep stitches at bay. Here are some of the best:

Eat Meals 2-3 Hours Before Running

Ideally, you should eat 2-3 hours before you run, and the meal should be light, low in fat and ideally also low in fiber. That being said, it is a good idea to have a small snack, such as a banana, to power you up just before yo9u head out – that won’t increase your chances of getting a stitch.

Always Warm Up

You never skip your pre-run warmups if you want to avoid a stitch. Warming up gets your muscles ready for the task ahead and ensures that your breathing is working in your favor too.

Start Slow

It’s best to start your runs slowly, building up speed as you move along if you want to avoid that familiar pain in your side. After all, a stitch is a signal that your body is overwhelmed by your efforts.

Train Your Core

If you train your core so that your upper body doesn’t move quite so much when you run, you’re way less likely to get a side stitch because your organs will have more support around them, thus decreasing the odds of cramps significantly. You can do this by purchasing a yoga mat and a subscription to Gaia, where you can learn the basics, or even better by attending a yoga or Pilates class. Lifting is also a good way to strengthen the core and build up the abs, which will also help to keep stitches at bay.

Breathe Deep and Rhythmically

If your breathing is deep and regular, matching your stride perfectly, then you probably won’t be bothered by a stitch.

Slow Things Down

A good way to prevent stitches if you’re prone to them is by varying your speed throughout your run. You can use music to do this, Just invest in a good pair of headphones from Headphones Addict and create a playlist that mixes fast, high-octane songs with slower, rhythmic ones, to create a pattern that allows you to pause for breath. It really works

Stop and Stretch

If you feel that a stitch might be imminent, stop for a few seconds and stretch it out. This could be enough to prevent cramps by releasing any pent-up tension in your body.


Again, if you feel like a stitch could be coming, or you actually do end up with one, bending the upper part of your body forward, relaxing your diaphragm will nip things in the bud.

Now that you have a few extra tricks up your sleeve, you can go out running more often with more confidence that you won’t be struck down by a stitch. Who knows, you might even beat your own personal best.


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