Stitched up : Although I've just completed W3 I... - Couch to 5K

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Stitched up


Although I've just completed W3 I'm struggling in every run (goes without saying as I am so unfit) but to make things worse I always get a stitch. I've tried running at different times, drinking, not drinking etc but if I don't get one in the first half of the run I end up with one in the second half. It's now playing on my mind and I'd welcome any tips to prevent this happening. Seriously not looking forward to 5 mins running with a stitch in W4.

19 Replies

Slow down would be my first thought.

Running does tend to jiggle your middle, and this can be exaggerated if you are running hills, ups or downs, as you tend to move sideways more. try and keep your shape as we do tend to slump at the waist as we get tired, and the lot caves in from the shoulders downwards,if we're not careful🙂 Every so often during a session be sure to straighten up, look ahead, make yourself tall. Just that bit of upward stretching might be enough to get rid of the stitch

I often get stitch on long runs I think maybe due to lots of hills or undulations and an empty stomach. if it's really annoying me I stop completely, bend down and touch my toes, then come back up,slowly, and reach for the sky with both hands/arms. Have a good stretch upwards, then lean over into the side of the stitch, slowly does it and then back and repeat on the other side.

I wouldn't worry 🙂

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to misswobble

Thanks for the advice. I must admit I am a bit of a sloucher so will think more about straightening my posture if I can multi-task that with concentrating on my breathing.

Jancanrun in reply to misswobble

I'd never realised that, but you are spot on, when I am tired I run like Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques and that's the slump and stitch combination right there...


Your post reminded me I haven't had stitch for ages but I did in the middle weeks of the programme. I found that if, as soon as I felt it start I really tried to relax my stomach muscles by taking deep breaths with my diaphragm it usually went away. This was based on Laura saying stitch is muscle tightness. But it's a few weeks now since I needed that.

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to Hidden

Thanks. I look forward to be stitch free🤞

RunningraspberrydivaGraduate in reply to Hidden

I'm the same, not had stitch since the middle weeks, I do as Jo suggested, big breath in & relax my stomach muscles as much as I can. I also tend to run on an empty stomach, don't know if that helps or not!

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to Runningraspberrydiva

I do run on an empty stomach but I think my breathing and posture need some work. Thanks for taking the time to reply.


When it starts slow your pace right down and take very deep breaths and hopefully this wii after a minute or two take it away

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to rolysmate

Yes I do need to get improve my breathing. Thanks


Slooooowww! Lots of posts in the past about stitch and lots of different suggestions for stopping it!

I, a bit like misswobble I bend over and then reach up and stretch and I do pause in my run!

Ideas here too..:)

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to Oldfloss

Thanks though and if I go any slower I'd be walking 😜 Think I need to work on my breathing. Lots to think about.

OldflossAdministrator in reply to Lottie_C

Believe me.. there is always, slower!! :)

Polly2810Graduate in reply to Oldfloss

Indeed and I have found every slow speed!! 😂


I had a few early in c25k, then I kept food down to a minimum and made sure hadn't eaten for a few hours before running, my mate who I was training with then told me to get shoulders back and pump arms, and never had one since, over 2 years ago, think it may have helped that my breathing also became steadier...

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to davelinks

Thanks for the advice. I'll definitely work on my posture.


If you go slow enough your breathing won't be an issue 🙂


The only time I ever had a stitch was when I ran after eating. I usually run in the morning before breakfast but that time I had eaten - 2 hours before and not much, but it still made a difference. I saw you already said you are running on an empty stomach but if that means only a couple of hours after food maybe even that is too soon for you?

Lottie_CGraduate in reply to shsoga

Thanks for your reply. Most of my runs have been first thing before breakfast. I think hydration, breathing and posture are the areas I need to work on. Hopefully as I get fitter and more relaxed into a better running style the stitch will be a thing of past.

shsogaGraduate in reply to Lottie_C

I hope so too, good luck! And yes, I find hydration is really important for me too, a full glass of water before I head out works wonders and gives me no stomach issues

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