Cannot complete W9R3 due to stitch...Help! - Couch to 5K

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Cannot complete W9R3 due to stitch...Help!


I'm so close to finishing.... the weather last week stopped me in my tracks, I had one run left to complete, I tried going out one day but the ground was too frozen and it was too cold for me. I did some fairly hard fitness videos at home so I wasn't sitting around doing nothing, and I've tried the run again THREE TIMES since and cannot do it! I got stitch twice halfway through and had to stop. The third time I thought I'd try a morning run before eating but just didn't have enough energy to even make it half way.

Any advice? The only thing I can eat before a run is porridge, and I usually eat a good three hours before running. Still the stitch!

15 Replies

More fluids will often help with a stitch, so maybe worth upping those the day before your next run. Slowing down will often help. Are you heading out to fast in your eagerness to finish the programme. Hope it goes well next time.

Good to know about upping fluids the day before, that hadn't occurred to me. Yes it's possible I'm starting too fast, I try to keep a good steady slowish pace but I'll definitely keep this in mind, thank you!


I've always associated stitches with breathing. If I feel a stitch coming I can usually stop it in its tracks with regular breathing, as deep as poss. Same if I'm cycling.

Are you trying to go too fast, which might be making you breathe more shallow?

paravani in reply to GoGo_JoJo

That's really interesting as I thought deeper breathing made it worse! I'll try it next time it happens. Yes it's definitely possible I'm starting too fast, although I feel like I get into a good breathing rhythm but slowing down can't hurt! Thank you

Hydration can be a thing too, remember the saying drink today for running tomorrow... I never knew that but hydration helps a lot

MummycavModerator in reply to Jancanrun

I haven’t heard that one...good one 😉

Jancanrun in reply to Mummycav

It was new to me too and then I got a right roasting from my GP for dehydration which she reckoned could be causing my migraines.. Funnily enough since she mentioned it I’ve only had one. Never ever too old to learn a lesson!

MummycavModerator in reply to Jancanrun

Oh that’s good! Nope, never too old x


As everyone has already suggested: drink more the day before and a glass before you head out and start very slowly. You are probably going too fast: remember you should be able to hold a conversation while running. Also, because it's your graduation run, you might be more tense, which would cause your whole body to gasp for more air and cause the stitch. So try to relax and don't think ahead: enjoy the moment, the second you run. If you feel the stitch coming, slow down and breathe slowly (belly breathing if you can) but deeply. See if it helps... You'll make it!! You've done it twice already, so absolutely no reason why you wouldn't finish this run and graduate ;-)

UPDATE: I did it! Went out on my lunch break and kept in mind the advice to breathe deeply. I did this when I felt the odd twinge in my side and it worked. My fastest time too, even though I was trying to stay steady and not rush. Now looking forward to building on what I've achieved so far. Thanks so much for your input, it really helped!

AnthieGraduate in reply to paravani

Super!! Now another journey is starting ;-) Enjoy some more running!


Hi paravani ...if I feel a stitch coming on I push my stomach out when I’m breathing, dig my fingers under my ribs & slow down...that seems to work for’s only happened a couple of times though...good luck


Congratulations on graduating and thanks for posting about your stitch situation.

I had read before going the advise from Jo and Jan re breathing and hydration.

Mj cut in on my last wk 7 run ,in the final minute, and possibly switched a light on.Good onya Michael.

He said remember your muscles need more oxygen when you are running.Wish I could have a conversation, but he is busy with other stuff ?

I thought of Jo& jan and you paravani, surely Michael would have said if it put you at higher risk of a stitch.

So all the advise should be practised if it eliminates the problem for runners until a more definitive position can be concluded. My opinion more oxygen cannot logically do this long term. Maybe it is only confusing until we develop further.

Run slow, it is a training run after all, all tension should be avoided,hydrate generously,I do not know anything about this belly breathing technique?, but certainly however and whatever you find comfortable with taking on as much oxygen as you can and remeber to exhale comfortably frequently your CO2 also, as highlighted yesterday by Jan and Mentor IT.

Interesting and I am not pushing MJ, but his gems compliment all the previous ones, his body set up is all to achieve, no tension , max oxygen to the muscles, good blood flow through your neck area, it all hangs together.If I experienced a stitch I would not stop folowing his advise to date, I would look some where else for the solution.

Thank you for bringing this to the forum and contributing to our quest for solutions to problems.


Sorry paravani, this techie dinasur replied to himself. What a wallie.Hope this helps.It is under your post on stitch thoughts and remedies.

I’ve not read all you replies so sorry if Im repeating but balloon breathing makes a real difference to me when I’ve got stitch in the past. When you breath in push your stomach out so you are breathing into the bottom of your stomach, it a yoga breath really but it has helped me . Good luck x

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