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Couch to 5K
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Week 8 Brick Wall

Hi all,

Hoping for some advice.

First off, I only run twice a week, as that's all I can schedule in. I usually do each week's programme over four runs (two weeks) before moving on.

I started in February, and it's been stop/start, but I'm now at week 8. Trouble is, I am really not 'feeling it' at the moment.

After 3 attempts at week 8 (2 times I got through it, then a 10 day break for holiday, and recommencing yesterday) I have had a stitch at about 8 minutes in every time, that comes and goes throughout, and I really can't 'jog' any slower. Last night I had to walk for 2 minutes and just gave up after 24 minutes because I wasn't enjoying it, and couldn't be bothered.

I really want to graduate, but I'm thinking maybe I should do something different for a couple of weeks, because I seriously feel like giving up and using the swimming pool instead.

I am also finding the treadmill sooooooooooo boring. It's stuffy in the gym, and I always end up on the treadmill next to the world's best endurance runner, doing about 7mph over 30 minutes, not even looking out of breath! LOL.

Help me get re-inspired, please!

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My experience is that side stitches are caused by poor breathing when running. Have you tried to do rhythmic breathing - that is breathing in and out in time to the beat of your feet on the pavement ( bit like dancing!! ) :) In the same way that you hear the beat of dance music and your feet ( should) take the weight of your body on each beat - a similar thing happens when you breath rhythmically as you run. Try breathing in during 3 beats of your feet (L-R-L) and out for the next 3 beats (R-L-R) or even in/out for 4/4 or 2/2 beats . You have to concentrate a little on it first but it becomes quite automatic after a short while.

There are a lot of Youtube videos that show this clearly eg


Thanks Bazza. I am currently breathing in through my nose for 4 steps and out through my mouth for 4 steps. I try to expand my stomach as I breathe in, too, as Laura says that can help with stitches. Still getting them, though. Perhaps it's my running posture?

I get through 75cl of water during the run, and try to drink a tall glass of water before I hit the gym, too.

I will try 3 and 3 and see if that helps, but I'm beginning to think that I am not fit enough to do this... :-(


The dreadmill!

Go outside and just run. Take Laura with you and you'll be fine


On long runs I tend to blow air out for 3 then breath in for 2, so I alternate feet too. I didn't design it that way but that's what works naturally. Try breathing in through your mouth too, you get more air that way.

The treadmill is great for run walk and hills and intervals, but continuous running isn't great. As others are saying try to get outside and run. It'll be difficult the first couple of times, but it gets better and it's a whole different ballgame to running in the gym.

I used to love good runners at the side of me at the gym. I could synchronise cadence and run in time to them. On one of my final runs the chap alongside me stopped with just 5 minutes to go and I almost asked him to carry on just a bit longer to help me finish.


You are drinking three quarters of a litre of water during a C25K run??????

NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!!!!!

If you are adequately hydrated before you run,. you should not need to drink ANY water at all during a C25K run ( especially in your climate - even Summer) .

I know everybody is different - but personally I will drink only around 300 M l of water during a non-stop 10K run.

I am now thinking that this is what is causing your stitches.

I also agree with MissWobble -- if you are doing C25K in the gym on the treadmill, I believe that this would be MUCH harder/uninspiring to do than going out on the road. Part of the enjoyment of running is being outside -- Gyms are just WORK!!! You may as well get a job in a boiler room shoveling coal!! :)


That's interesting, Bazza. I hadn't thought of that.

When I ran outside, I didn't used to drink anything (although I still had the odd stitch every now and then - perhaps when I glugged a glass of water before my run, or perhaps because of my breathing pattern?)

On the treadmill, it's so muggy in the gym, I just felt like I needed the water for my dry mouth and it's become a habit - sort of a 'go-to' when I am struggling. Also, my saliva gets - sorry for this - a bit

thick during my run , and usually I would spit it out on the road, but you can't exactly flob on the person on the treadmill next to you!

I am running at the gym again tonight, so I will try to hydrate very well this morning, then taper off this afternoon, have a banana at about 4pm and hit the gym at 6pm. I will report back.


Know it all! 😀

Thanks, Bazza you were right!


Gym for me is the wrong place for running if only because it very intimidating when folk either side are running 13kph to my 9kph when fresh and nearer 7kph at the end of a run! Have you tried running outside which is much, much more interesting? It helped me with the runs towards the end of c25K to have a few different routes of 5K planned out and to run these. Some days are just bad'uns for a run. If you are really feeling you aren't enjoying it it might help to go back a week. I also re- do my play lists to trick my brain into keeping my legs going. Good luck.


Hello! Sounds like you need to go outside!

Nothing like a bit of weather, uneven surfaces and route planning to keep a runner interested and not over-thinking on the dreadmill.

You've come so far, don't roll over just yet!

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I particularly liked..

Tips to avoid a stitch

There's most evidence for these three:

Make sure you're well hydrated by drinking lots of water in the 12 hours before you exercise. In the two hours immediately before, drink only small amounts so you stay hydrated, but your stomach's not bloated (and therefore less likely to press on the lining of your abdominal cavity).

Don't eat large volumes of food for at least two hours before exercise (perhaps even three to four hours before if you're especially prone to stitches).

Avoid very sugary drinks, such as fruit juice or soft drinks, before or during your exercise. Sugary foods like lollies may also be a problem.

There's less evidence for these, but they're still worth a try:

Get fitter: Some evidence suggests the fitter you are, the less frequently you get stitches. Exactly why isn't understood. But plenty of very fit athletes are still plagued by them.

Strengthen your core: Strong trunk muscles, especially the deeper abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominus, may help ward stitches off, probably by offering more support to abdominal organs. Pilates and exercises using a stability ball may help.

Improve your posture: "We haven't yet done intervention studies to see if changing people's posture makes a difference but we have anecdotal reports of people who've done that and it's been helpful." A physiotherapist may be able to help.

If you do get a stitch, you might find the following techniques can bring relief:

deep breathing

pushing or stretching the affected area

bending over forward.

In lab experiments, stitches generally disappeared 45 seconds to two minutes after stopping activity. Some people can still feel sore a couple of days later though.

Hope this helps a little? I guess you have to find what works for you! But you are so close.. be a great shame to give up so near the finishing line?


Thanks everyone.

Some excellent advice, tips and encouragement here. I must admit my core strength could be improved, although I think I am well enough hydrated beforehand.

I will try:

1) changing my breathing pattern

2) strengthening my core

3) returning to road running to shake things up a bit

4) not giving up.



Very good! Keep us posted please :-)


You sound so much more optimistic in this post than in the first one. And a lot of it is in the mindset. So well done already! Your 4 steps will definitely help you.

Let us know how you're getting on. So close to graduation now. You can do it!!


I don't eat or drink anything within one and a half hours of running, or I'll get a stitch. I worked out my own breathing pattern, and I try to keep a stable pace by running to music that fits my pace (Rock My Run provides free playlists sorted into different beats per minute that go from reassuringly slow to manic roadrunner).

As for the running on a treadmill.... I wouldn't have made it past week one running inside. Get out of your front door and run outside - sights, sounds, and smells other than the lean, mean running machine's armpits.



Plan of action:

1) keep well hydrated, but no water after 4pm

2) Banana at 4pm, no food after this.

3) Change breathing to 3:2 rather than 4:4

4) Kick Week Eight's arse!

Result after 6:30pm run: nailed it, no stitch!

You guys are the best, and I am ready for Week Nine!



Wow - look at all you guys with your graduate badges- fantastic! I know all your names but guess I have been slower at getting to the end than you. Just completed W8r2 - I loved last night's run and getting out of my usual park. I ran around our local heath as the sun was going down and it was beautiful, it was also relatively easy. I guess the first run of the week you are not sure how you are going to last, so you hold back a little. This time with more confidence I just enjoyed it and made it to the end with a sprint (well almost...) finish. w8R3 on Sunday and then finally to graduation week. Wish me luck :)


Hi R2_d2,

Well done getting to week 8. Don't worry, it took me 22 weeks from start to finish. We all have our own pace. Keep up the good work!

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