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3622 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Apr 24, 2012 1:12 PM by Ellsbird1
REBECCARUNGO Rookie 2 posts since
Apr 11, 2012
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 17, 2012 7:32 AM

Anyone have issues w/side stitch while running?? What helps??

Hi all:


I am new to running, going on 3 months now, have done four 5K's in the past 2 months and always seem to get a stitch in my right side on mile 2. Anyone have any advice on how to make it stop? Has anyone tried the kt tape to tape up the side, if so, does this help?




  • merylp Pro 116 posts since
    May 18, 2009


    I'm no expert but I can tell you what works for me.  I was plagued with side stiches for at least a year when I started running.  Tried lots of things, but nothing worked until I read this somewhere:


    When you feel the first twinge of it coming (before it's even really there), take a deeeeeeep breath, and then blow it out in forcefully in pants (like a woman in labor).  Make sure to get all of the air out of your lungs, and then repeat (when you think you're done, force out one more pant).  I do this 5-6 times in a row and the feeling of that stitch coming subsides every time.


    May look kinda crazy, but whatever works, right?!?

    Good luck!

    Meryl I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday. ~Author Unknown

    C25K Graduate 7/18/2009

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    A couple things may work. First you have to understand that you're probably getting them because you are out-running your body's fitness level. So slowing down a little from the beginning may keep them from starting.

    Tricks that people use:

    - Switch the foot you inhale on. Take a stutter-step or draw an extra long breath to switch feet.

    - Reach your right hand over your head to stretch that side.

    - "Belly breathe". Make sure you're breathing with your diaphragm. This is similar in concept to what Meryl is suggesting, And it's what worked for me, many years ago.


    Hopefully these ideas will help.




  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011

    I would say experiment some with your pre-run diet Rebecca.  Different things work for different people, but I noticed eating or drinking too much prior to a race seemed to cause side stitches.  It is tricky to find the right combination, but limiting overall intake might help. 

  • Maggie500 Rookie 7 posts since
    May 14, 2008

    Hi Rebecca.


    I had this problem for YEARS.  tried all kinds of diet changes and all of the suggestions made by others here - still got stitches that stopped me in my tracks. 


    I finally figured out that I cannot run for a full 3 hours after eating even a light meal or after drinking more than a couple sips of water.   The advice of drinking a glass of water before you run in heat?  Not for me.  Can't do it.


    I recommend experimenting with how long you wait to run - and don't ingest anything during the period when you stop eating and when you run, so that you can get an accurate picture.  There are lots of times where I'll eat, then be thirsty or tired and drink what I drink is an insignifcant amount - then I'll get out and not be able to run.  It's very frustrating.


    If this is the cause of your problem, once you figure out your time frame, then you can experiment with what you can and can't eat/drink while you are running.  If you plan to move to any duration longer than about a half hour and are in the heat, you will need to figure out how to hydrate w/o getting a cramp.


    It took me a really long time to figure out what I could take in and not get side-lined with a cramp, but it was worth the patience in figuring it all out.  I've finally figured out how to stay hydrated and fueled in all but the most extreme circumstances (ironman in the heat) without getting a cramp.


    IF you work out first thing in the am, make sure stay hydrated overnight.  If I am running first thing in the am, I still follow my 3-hr rule.  Last glass of water is at least 3 hr before I run.  Then I'll have a GU or other gel before I head out the door to get my blood sugar up.


    Good luck.



  • Ellsbird1 Pro 67 posts since
    Jun 23, 2009

    I'll tell you what works for me every time:  When I feel the stitch, I kind of dig my 4 fingers into my abdomen where the stitch ocurrs and just under the rib cage, and my thumb is pushing in from the back.  In other words, grab your side just under the ribs, really digging your fingers in the front.  When I hit just the right spot - you can keep running, you'll just look weird - the pain subsides immediately and if I hold it a little longer, it goes away altogether. 


    As for what causes it, I find if I have any contents weighing my stomach down, causing a bounce and pulling on the viscera, that's when I get a stitch - too much water, food, etc.

    "I'd rather wear out than rust out."

    - Harlan Sanders (Col. Sanders)

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