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My first Park Run-with aches on sides. Please help!!

Well, after a lot of thinking, I signed up for our Park Run yesterday and did it today and just returned home!

I was not feeling the best today in the morning. I went to sleep late after a Big plate of Noodles, and then had to wake up early to have breakfast as the Park Run was at 9am. My idea was to walk to the Park which is about 5-10 from home so that I would have warmed up. Hubby said it would be better to go by car as he had to go to the allotment afterwards (which is next to the park) and have to carry some plants, we went by car!

When the Run started, I was not warmed up enough and was already nervous after seeing all the ‘professional looking’ runners!

My ear-phones were not on in time so I was meddling with that for few seconds while running and Garmin did not start for a while as it was gloomy and satellite took a while.

With all that, I ran and ran and ran, then half way I started to get the horrible aches that you get on sides of your tummy, I could not run anymore so I started to walk, and ran again, walk and ran and completed the run. I am still not sure how long I took to run the 5K, I was not the last but very close!

It was hot, so I did not take my jacket there and now I am coughing because after a hot run I was cold at once, it was windy too. I was very tired after the run, unlike other days. I have run 5K since my 9th run and always ran 5K after graduating and not too tired, but today was a different scenario altogether. My PB had been 31 minutes 24 seconds, but today my run was bad!

Saying that, I am happy I did it as I have never run with people before, always ran on my own. Now I know how it is to run with people, what to do before the run (walk at least 5 minutes to warm up!), have a good night sleep on the previous day, take the jacket even if it is hot as it is better to wear it just after the run to keep your body warm BUT I am not sure what to do when I get the aches on sides. Can anyone help me please? This is the 2nd or 3rd time I got this problem while running and I had to stop running each time. My Race for Life is on the 14th July and I will do one more Park Run (next Saturday) before that but I really do not want to have aches on sides when I run on RfL.

Please help!!!

8 Replies

Well done for getting through it! Sounds pretty tough to me.

When you say aches in your sides, do you mean stitch? Or is it different? If it's stitch, have a glass of water before you run- obviously not a huge one or you'll need the loo. I've done this every time before I've run and I've yet to get stitch. The other thing you can do is a different type of exercise on your rest days. I tend to get a stomach ache after I run- this is my stomach muscles aching, it's a bit of a work out for them! You might be experiencing something similar while you've run and I've found swimming really good for stretching and gentling exercising the same muscles on your rest days. Something like cycling would do the same.

I'm sure you'll have a fantastic run for RFL- the atmosphere will be amazing and I'm sure you'll get completely caught up in it. Good luck!


Thank you very much for your message Jany. YES, that is the word-stitch, I was not sure of the word!!

I do not drink a lot before my run but few sips for the obvious reason. I would try a glass of water and then use the loo before going out and see whether it would help me too. Thank you. I don't do any exercise as such on my rest day (and sadly I can't swim and do not cycle!!) but I do walk almost 3-4K to work. I might as well try to do few stretching exercises as well I suppose. I never used to get this problem at the beginning but suffered in both my last two runs.

Thank you again for your good wishes for RfL.


Hi! Well done on finishing your parkrun, they are a great idea! I run alone too except for Parkrun and it is easy to get carried away and go too fast at first. I run my Parkrun using the Stamina podcast still to pace myself, and today was the first time I finished before the warm down walk begins, so hopefully a PB. ;-)

I'm sure Laura gives advice about stitch during one of the podcasts and there have been posts about breathing methods to get through/stop them; maybe have a look for stitch in the tag list to find the posts (I haven't suffered with them so the remedy hasn't stuck in my mind, sorry!) :-)


Thank you poppy2010, I remember Laura saying something about stitch, but do not remember which podcast that was. I wish I did Park Runs much earlier, it is the thought of doing the first one I suppose but who cares whether you come last or not as you only run against yourself and time. Even though I did not do a good run today, I am sure I would go for many more Park Runs to come in future. I can do one more before my RfL on 14th July so I will try my best to do my best then.

I am proud of myself in doing this as in February I could not run at all, and here I run now. Sad I could not run the whole distance though today as I have run 5K so many times in the past. Never mind, I can do it again. It was very cute that my 6 year old ran with me when I was finishing, to encourage me!


Well done on your first parkrun - you'll almost certainly enjoy it more next time as you'll be familiar with the route and that will help you pace yourself better. Also, as you say, running with lots of people feels very different.

As for the stitch, I find that the method Laura describes works well. Breathing deeply and pushing your belly out as you breath in seems to help and I can usually run through it by slowing down a bit and concentrating on the breathing.


Thank you sfb350, I think my warming up was not good today and also my start and the pacing was not good. Having so many people running with me makes a BIG difference. I think I did not even enjoy the music as I usually do when I was running on my own, I think I was a bit nervous that there were so many people running! It was good to do it though and first time is always hard. I only wish I started doing this some time ago, but I did not have enough courage to do it, sadly.

I did remember Laura saying something about stitch, but I did not remember what she said or in which podcast she said that. I will try a glass of water before I start the run, maybe an hour before, and then also do what you say if I get a stitch while I run. Next Park Run will be better!


Many congrats on your first park run. It's a good feeling isn't it. Did my second one today and I had a tough time too! Still we both did it :)


Thank you Dellacat, I think I will keep doing park runs as much as I can, no matter how good or bad I do, it is a great feeling that you do RUN after all!! Since I have run 5K before I wish I could run the 5K today too without walking, it was quite a disappointment for me personally. The runners there were very fast.


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