Couch to 5K

Stitch - my nemesis

For the last two or three weeks I’ve been seriously trying to ‘get back in the saddle’ running-wise, and am determined to stick to three runs per week as I was doing when I first graduated a few months ago.

I had a couple of tricky runs (see previous posts), then something ‘clicked’ and all has been going well since – I even nailed my longest ever run last weekend (6.6km, amazing fun – hoorah!) and have signed up for the Macmillan Cancer Relief Outrun Challenge in September.

The only fly in my ointment at the moment is the pesky stitch that has plagued me on and off since I first started the c25k programme back in January.

I used to avoid carbs like the plague. I thought recently that I’d found a pattern that I (obviously!) run more successfully and largely without stitch when I’ve eaten sufficient carbs either the night before, or during that day, and have started to accept that I need to re-introduce them into my diet. I also always drink plenty of water, regardless of whether I’m running so I’m fairly sure this isn’t a hydration issue.

However I went for an early run before work this morning (round the centre of Oxford – absolutely stunning, amazing, beautiful on a sunny morning like this by the way!), and got the dreaded pain after only about ten minutes (in fact it had started to niggle beforehand on my 1 mile walk to work!). I ate a fair-sized sweet potato for my dinner last night and thought that would see me through.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it strikes, and sometimes it’s so painful that it literally scuppers my entire run (although I did manage to control it today by stretching, deep breathing and running with my right arm in the air to carry on to a total of 15 minute – my intended length).

Any advice please people?


2 Replies

I get this on and off, usually when I've got hills to negotiate and my middle is being challenged, or when I'm pushing harder. I stop completely. Feet together, bend down and touch my toes, slowly raise back up, arms up to the sky and stretch yourself up as if you're reaching for the sky. Hold it for a count of 10-20 ish. Still with your arms in the air lean slowly over into the side of your stitch, come back up and then lean over to the other side. Run on. If you think you have been going too fast then pull it back


I find that I can get a stitch if I have eaten/drank too close to going out for my run. One tip I was given to get rid of the stitch pain is to do something like an opposite of breathing normally for a few breaths........breathing deeply into the diaphragm but pushing your belly out on the OUT breath and pulling it in on the IN breath sounds strange but worked for me after just 3 or 4 repeats.....good luck


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