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3 ways to avoid side stitches

  • 2 min read

You can battle through many an obstacle in pursuit of a PB: torrential rain, freezing temperatures, gale force winds... But there’s one obstacle with the ability to stop you dead in your tracks: the side stitch.

If you find yourself frequently succumbing to stitches when running, experiment with the below tips.


Change what and when you are eating pre-run

One theory why stitches occur is due to eating foods high in fibre, which take longer to digest. Eating such foods up to two hours before you run can result in getting a stitch.

Experiment with what you eat pre-run, eat light and give yourself ample of time to digest it.

It’s a good idea to keep a food log to track what you eat and when you eat before running. Also take note of how your body performs when running. Trends will soon appear, revealing your optimal time for eating and what to eat pre-run.


Complete a substantial warmup

You’re probably chomping at the bit to tear into your workout but launching straight into a run from a previously sedentary state creates irregular breathing patterns. This can deprive your muscles of oxygen and can result in a stitch. Begin with 2-3 minutes of fast-paced walking, ease into light jog and then into your desired running pace.


Find a regular breathing pattern

Inhale for 2-4 strides and exhale for the same amount. The faster your pace the shorter your breathing sequence. If running at a fast pace take 1-2 strides per breath or at a slower place take 3-4 strides per breath. Alternatively breathe in for a count of two and out for a count of two; as you increase your pace breathe in for two and out for one. A regular breathing pattern is important as irregular and shallow breathing can deprive your muscles of oxygen.


If you do get a stitch

Stop running and take long, slow, deep breaths. Extend both arms to the sky and bend sideways at the waist holding on each side for 10-15 seconds. Now you’re ready to go again!  

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