Stitch. Again :-(: Am I just going to have to... - Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K

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Stitch. Again :-(


Am I just going to have to put up with this every time I go out for a run? I went out this morning and after 25 minutes had to walk the pain was unbearable. Always lower right side. It is really getting me down. I am started to dread going out now :-( today's stats 3.1 miles 34.34 (including the walking for about 3 minutes).

10 Replies

Great stats! Had my first stitch yesterday😁So sympathise. Have read some tips on here like breathing in real deep but it didn't work for me. Had to walk five mins which did work, but not ideal. I had eaten two hours before and normally wait longer but not convinced it was definitely that.

No, you should not have to put up with this every time you go for a run.

Running should not be painful, our body is built to do it. The problem is that we have lost the basic knowledge (we don't run much and when we start again we might do some mistakes...)

The pain can be caused by a problem with your running technique (well, you do not need to be a master, just make sure you are running in the right posture, using both legs in the same way and the correct muscles in the correct way... for example it happened to me when I started running again I have pain in my right calf and Achilles' tender, I paid more attention to my running and realized that I was pushing much more with my right leg than my left, due to a very old injury, my brain was probably afraid to push my left leg.)

Another topic are the shoes: are they the right pair for you? have you got your gait analysis done and everything sorted? some time shoes can cause problems...

Finally make sure you warm up properly before increasing pace and if you feel stiff try to use some of your time to stretch all the muscles well (10 sec or so in each position as a rule of thumb...

There might be many other possibilities and one is that when you start a new exercise (running, or interval, or different types of running and surfaces) you will always discover muscles you did not know existed before, they will want to be noticed and so they will be painful for a while, once you grown into the exercise they will make peace with you and stop bothering (for example I am a fairly experienced runner and I was putting in miles in the last months - July I put in more than 200 miles - and in the last couple of days I changed to shorter run but with intervals and it is painful! my legs are in pain every day!!! I know it will pass so more stretching and I take it slowly).

Hope you will find what works for you, solve the problem and enjoy your running much more soon :)


Thanks for the replies. I have had my gait done at Lincolnshire Runner - my shoes feel good. And there have been times when I don't get stitch. But a bit more recently I have done. I got to about week 7 or 8 in the plan and it started. I have done a park run (didn't get it) and two runs since - had it both times. I try working on my breathing but never really thought about technique. I think I may need to run me upright if that makes sense? Particularly when it is wet I am looking downwards snail dodging. It may be that I need to run more upright with head forward. I never eat before a run, I go out first thing in the morning before breakfast. I also stretch and warm up.


I always drink as much water as possible. I start the day with the biggest glass of water and leave half an hour before breakfast as my body seems to really absorb it then. I have never had a stitch whilst running. I remember in the podcasts that Laura talked about dehydration as a cause of stitches so maybe that might be the cause.😊

Funny I had a stitch yesterday and haven't had one for ages. The only thing that works for me is to breathe in and out very deeply, actually pushing your tummy out and in, with short quick breaths like you're blowing up a balloon. My stitch always goes doing this.


I could never run when I was younger - and I remember the stitches well !!!!!

When I first started C25K 3 years ago, I remembered this very much - and, although it hadn't happened to me, I was very wary of it and did some research. I discovered "rhythmic breathing" while running. Nothing complicated about this- just breathing in and out to the beat of my feet on the pavement - like we dance to the beat of music. I breathe 4 beats in and 4 beats out -- In-In-In-In and out-out-out-out when I am running very slowly , 3 beats in and 3 beats out for a hardish run and 2 in with 2 out for the sprint to the finish line at parkrun.

Rhythmic breathing has stopped me from getting stitches for the last 3 years !!!! - and it is also the perfect way to pace yourself.


Rsq, sorry to hear about the stich. I got a few when doing c25k, and would go away in a few minutes,so mild really,but nothing now, didn't do anything special to avoid them, of course I give plenty of time between eating & running. You may or may not have seen this link, hope something helps you, let us know how it goes, as if something specific helps you, then that info may help others..😊


I can only remember getting a stitch once since I took up running and that was on my first parkrun and it cleared by using Saint Laura's advice to slow down and take deep breaths.

There is plenty of advice on running sites such as this. Rhythmic breathing and careful intake of foods and fluids seems to be the means of avoiding them.

Thanks everyone and I will take a look at these links you kindly provided.

Since the stitch occurs after 25 minutes of running, it could be due to the fact that you're breathing too hard, as you attempt to force oxygen to towards working/fatigued muscles.

If the working muscles are turning themselves over faster than the body is able to deliver oxygen to them, it'll begin to rely upon glycogen and fat to fuel your endeavour, as you push your body towards closer towards its aerobic threshold.

If the body isn't accustomed to working in the absence of a steady supply of oxygen, you will struggle. However, by working upon developing anaerobic capacity (think HIIT), aerobic endurance will be improved.

As such, don't attempt to start your runs too quickly, aiming to complete the first half a little slower than the second (negative split), thus, ensuring that you have enough left in the tank to finish strongly.

The shoulders should also remain low and relaxed, too. If you feel as though they're lifting upwards towards the ears, you're running faster than the body is able to cope, preventing the lungs and diaphragm from fully expanding.

Don't worry if you do feel that the shoulders raise themselves upwards as you tire, since its simply a measure of your current level of cardiovascular fitness; something that'll improve with increased miles and experience.

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