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Stitches - why does it hurt when I breathe ... and run?

2 watchers
Jun 2012
10:42am, 20 Jun 2012
2299 posts
  • 0
Dear internet advisers,
7 miles or so into last three races of 11-13 miles distance I've developed a painful stitch both sides bottom of ribs which lasts about a mile. I've run through them, swearing blindly, lifting arms up over head and/or pressing on ribs, and they always disappear after 6-12 minutes of hell. But they don't half hurt and are costing me valuable valuable seconds! I'm also scared of racing that distance again now.

Food /drink - I don't take on any drink in the 40-50 mins prior to a race, no food in the 4 hours before, and nothing has changed here.
Training: I'm training about the same amount as previous years, possibly more, and have added in a lot more core work than in previous years. I'm going a little bit faster at this distance than in previous years, but only a matter of seconds per mile. It's probably true that I'm breathing harder than I used to to go that bit faster.
I've never ever had stitches before while racing, in 8 years, and no problems this year in 5k or 10k - admittedly no hills in these.
Downhills: all three races had minor or major sections of downhill, which I've heard are specially to blame? So do I just need to do more downhill work?
Warm up: I didn't warm up for these longer races - so that may be an issue?

Anyone got any thoughts / solutions? Noakes suggests practising belly breathing. Others suggest powerbreathe?

Share your minds!
Jun 2012
3:30pm, 20 Jun 2012
121 posts
  • 0
Ninky Nonk
A good fart normally does the trick for me. One good ripper and stich disappears.
Jun 2012
3:36pm, 20 Jun 2012
9345 posts
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Nick Cook
Jun 2012
3:47pm, 20 Jun 2012
2752 posts
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LM - I have been regularly getting stitches recently in races - I have put it down to a couple of things - 1. Doing short races means running faster than I have been used to (my spring target was a marathon and a long fell race) and 2. Pushing hard on said races at the start (i.e. starting a bit fast) and "redlining" - particularly when the starts are uphill (as is usual on fell races!!).

To combat this, I'm doing more speed sessions and hill reps in my training. I'm also trying to stay better hydrated than I have been doing.

Could your problem be similar?
Jun 2012
3:55pm, 20 Jun 2012
1810 posts
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So to get this right and avoid stitches, hydration, speed work and a good fart will do the trick?
Jun 2012
4:19pm, 20 Jun 2012
122 posts
  • 0
Ninky Nonk
Or a burp. Sometimes burping helps.

But usually farting.
Jun 2012
5:10pm, 20 Jun 2012
2302 posts
  • 0
Thanks for the thoughts.
rf - yes, definitely started fast all times this year, downhill last Sunday as well, and in past years I've started further back the field and had a slow first mile - food for thought. I had been doing more speedwork than normal, but not hills it's true.
Interesting idea NN, but without going into too much detail I'm a bit nervous of farting on a run these days :-)
Jun 2012
5:33pm, 20 Jun 2012
128 posts
  • 0
If you normally exhale when your right foot hits the ground try swapping so you exhale when the left foot hits the ground. The diaphragm and the liver are connected by lligaments and the two collide as on exhaling it moves the diapragm up and the foot landing forces the liver (and other organs) down. Worth a try as its free!
Jun 2012
6:18pm, 20 Jun 2012
2304 posts
  • 0
Thanks d87, I'd read that tip, but haven't tried it. Stitch seems to hit both sides at the same time, but it's still worth a shot.

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Maintained by fetcheveryone
Dear internet advisers,
7 miles or so into last three races of 11-13 miles distance I've developed...

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